5 Questions with Ryan Kuder, Managing Director of Techstars San Diego powered by San Diego State University

Oct 27, 2022

Ryan Kuder is the Managing Director of Techstars San Diego powered by San Diego State University and Techstars Anywhere. He has also managed previous Techstars accelerators in San Diego and London. Ryan launched his first tech startup in 1998 and it was a spectacular failure. Since then he’s been a product and marketing executive at Yahoo! and eBay, a four time founder, and a senior startup executive with two exits. He was born and raised right here in San Diego, CA. He graduated from Georgetown University and now lives with his family in Encinitas, CA where he’s a fan of craft beer, fish tacos, and the San Diego Padres.

01. What are you looking for in startups for Techstars San Diego powered by SDSU? 

We’re looking to invest in great founders building world changing companies that the San Diego startup community can really lean into and help. We love both B2B and B2C software companies, and we’re also excited to see your sports and active lifestyle startups, hardware startups, space tech startups, e-commerce companies and really any company that’s doing something that makes people say, “Wow.” We’re looking for ambitious, talented builders who want to take advantage of all San Diego has to offer.

02. What are some of the biggest learnings from your career and entrepreneurial journey that you bring to being a Techstars MD? 

It’s hard. No matter how good you are, it’s going to be hard. And to be successful requires a team and a network who are there to help. One of the things that I value most about Techstars San Diego Powered By San Diego State University is that our network of San Diego based mentors has been there and done that and they have empathy for the founders that are building new companies from scratch. Our mentors are founders, investors, connectors, and startup supporters from across Southern California who are all here to help.

03. What is your favorite thing about the San Diego, California startup scene? 

In San Diego, community rules. San Diego is big enough to have access to world class resources like talent from our universities, capital from local investors as well as investors north of us, and mentorship from great founders and people who have been there and done that. But it’s still small enough that everyone in the community really gets to know each other. You’re always just one connection away from meeting the people you need to meet here. And everyone is willing to help.

04. What does San Diego State University bring to the accelerator? 

San Diego State University is a key part of the San Diego ecosystem. Aztec alumni have built or run companies like Costco, Rubios, Trust & Will, Blenders Eyewear, and Qualcomm. San Diego State has a great entrepreneurship program and the Zip Launchpad has been the start of a lot of great early stage tech companies in San Diego. Access to San Diego State alumni, faculty, and students will be a huge advantage for founders building at Techstars San Diego. It really is “powered by” San Diego State.

05. If you could have coffee with any entrepreneur who would it be and why? 

I wish I could have coffee with every founder who reached out. I love meeting new founders I haven’t met yet. I’m constantly amazed at the talent and creativity the founders I meet have. I learn something new from every conversation and that’s what makes being a part of Techstars so great. Every single day is something new and founders are at the heart of that.