San Diego

San Diego has long been an attractive space for startups. The city, famed for its beauty and weather, is a magnet for talent, luring thousands of entrepreneurs and innovators to its shores each year. Those forward-thinkers have put their skills to work, particularly in the tech and life sciences areas.

As early as 2006, Gunderson Dettmer sensed “America’s Finest City” would have a profound impact on technology and we opened our San Diego office that year with three lawyers. In the more than 15 years since, our team has grown to nearly two dozen attorneys representing over 300 companies and venture capital funds — including dozens of public companies – focused on a wide range of industries including life sciences, media, technology, and software.

Our clients trust us to advance their visions and help make them a reality. That’s where our years of experience come into play: we’ve seen the business lifecycle play out time and again. We’re excellent advisors because we can anticipate the next shift and guide our clients in the right direction.

That ability to steer the ship of innovation is reflected in the successes of our clients. The San Diego team doesn’t just take on companies; we also represent over 65 funds in their portfolio investments and operational needs. Since 2020 we closed over 300 financings with an aggregate value of $11 billion. In the last three years, our local team also steered the initial public offerings and subsequent public company representation for over a dozen clients in the tech and life sciences industries.

San Diego has served as a hub for biotech, pharmaceutical research, and innovation. Our life sciences portfolio is particularly deep; we represent more than 100 of these companies, which raised over $2 billion in capital since 2020. Our deep industry knowledge offers our life sciences clients world-class guidance to negotiate and implement win-win strategic transactions, collaborations and licensing arrangements with other companies, frequently the largest pharma, biotech and medical device companies in the world.


Our San Diego-based team focuses on the following practice areas:

Company Representation: Forming, Scaling & Maturing

  • Entrepreneurs and emerging company representation
  • Pre-venture, venture and growth equity financings for private companies
  • Corporate governance and strategy for private and public companies
  • Licensing, strategic partnering and commercial transactions
  • Life sciences licensing and strategic partnering transactions
  • Executive compensation needs for private and public companies
  • Data privacy and compliance issues

Company Representation: Accessing & Deploying Capital

  • Venture capital fund portfolio investments
  • Growth equity fund investments, both early-stage and late-stage

Exits & Public Markets

  • Mergers and acquisitions, both sell-side and buy-side
  • IPOs and Public offerings
  • Capital markets and ongoing public company representation

The team also works seamlessly with practitioners in other offices to provide clients with world-class support for:

  • Venture capital and growth equity fund formation, operations and compliance
  • Debt financing and secured transactions
  • Labor and employment issues for companies and funds
  • Antitrust and CFIUS issues
  • Tax issues


To help advance the industry, the firm has a long history of working with numerous leading accelerators, regional organizations, universities and nonprofits. In San Diego, we are proud to be involved with Connect, the premier local organization for emerging companies and investors, and Biocom California, the leader in accelerating life science innovation in the state.