Central Coast companies earn big wins in the capital market.
Sonos, Jamba Juice and Deckers Brands (UGG, Teva, Sanuk and Hoka) are among the name brands born and bred on the Central Coast. Others have been snatched up by leading companies like Amazon, Northrup Grumman and LinkedIn that then establish operations here.
Spurring this growth is an active environment of angel investors and venture funds supporting startups at every stage — seed to Series A (B, C, D) to successful exits.
- Open-source password manager Bitwarden raised $100 million last year, which also saw the minting of Invoca as the region’s latest unicorn after an $83 million raise
- Central Coast Ventures became the lastest addition to a growing nucleus of at least 20 VC firms in the region
- A first for the California State University System, Cal Poly Ventures in 2021 launched a donor-supported fund that invests in university-affiliated startups
- One Central Coast company, Wyatt Technologies, was acquired for $1.3 billion in early 2023 while another, QAD, made its own $1 billion acquisition.
- The Pacific Coast Business Times predicts continued strong investment in Central Coast companies even as VC funding slows
fastest-growing startup city in 2022 (Santa Barbara)
Wyatt Tech acquisition
raised by Bitwarden
“Our share of home-grown ‘unicorns’ exceeds nearly all regions of the country on a per-capita basis.”
“A renaissance of new money continues flowing into the region’s companies.”
Looking to start or scale?
The Central Coast has a ripe entrepreneurial ecosystem with incubators, small business resources, innovative training programs, and university research and partnerships.