“The world is before you and you need not take it or leave it as it was when you came in.”
– James Baldwin
When Bill Rastetter and H. Puentes met in 2020, they immediately recognized their similar backgrounds and shared belief that incredible talent can be found anywhere. A San Diego scientist, entrepreneur and venture capitalist, Rastetter has been instrumental in building some of San Diego’s most influential companies. However, he noticed many of these companies are not reflective of the communities they serve. The child of Colombian immigrants, H. Puentes is no stranger to the challenges that underrepresented students face. Puentes has raised over $5M to increase diversity in tech, helping entrepreneurs and students access the resources they need to succeed. Out of Rastetter and Puentes’ shared vision, San Diego Squared (SD2) was born to increase diversity in STEM careers for underrepresented students.
10 Things About Bill Rastetter and San Diego Squared
#1 I grew up in Panama, Brazil and Costa Rica with shorter stops in the U.S.
#2 My favorite travel destination is coming home! It is a bit overused, but home feels like “another day in paradise.”
#3 I most cherish time with Marisa Rastetter, my wife.
#4 My life has been largely impacted by a group of entrepreneurs who have lived by the mantra, “yes we can,” or “si se puede”.
#5 Early on, my background was in chemistry. This grew into a broader experience and learning in science applied to therapeutic and diagnostic products.
#6 The mission of SD2 is to empower tomorrow’s STEM leaders today.
#7 I started SD2 because we still do not have the diversity, equity, inclusion and sense of belonging from Latinx and Black STEM professionals in our companies that we should have – to reflect the communities in which we work. Strength comes from diversity.
#8 I would like to be remembered as an entrepreneur who cared about the societal impact and diversity footprint of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) companies.
#9 SD2 connects underrepresented students to the power of STEM by providing access to education, mentorship and the resources they need to lead the talent workforce.
#10 We are proud to share success stories from students like Diego. After graduating from SDSU with a degree in Kinesiology, Diego was not sure about his career pursuits. While working at his father’s landscaping business, one of his father’s clients connected Diego to SD2, and we were able to help guide his career interests and facilitate a meeting with JLL West Coast Life Sciences. Because JLL saw such incredible potential in Diego, they offered to pay for his real estate license and provide him with special training to prepare him for his new role.
San Diego Squared
Creating a Diverse STEM Pipeline Together