26 BIG Ideas
The city's leaders in health, science, politics, food, and culture share their game-changing ideas for San Diego in 2016.
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Let’s make San Diego a breeding ground for billion-dollar companies.
Greg McKee, CEO, Connect
McKee says San Diego’s vertical industries like agricultural tech, microbiome, genomics, and digital health are popping up quickly, and we should capitalize. “We need to get real and step up our game around how we innovate. We need to be faster and a lot more global,” urges McKee, whose company connects entrepreneurs and CEOs with great talent, capital, and technology. His startup accelerator, Connect, is developing a platform that will track emerging technologies and match teams with capital providers. This past summer the company opened its new Innovation Clubhouse, in University City, where people can meet about ideas as well as sit and work for free. “We don’t ask people to pay. We ask them to pay it forward if they’re successful.” San Diego’s billion-dollar success stories already include Illumina, Ballast Point, and Qualcomm. McKee would like to see the city build ten more billion-dollar companies in the next decade. “Enterprises of this magnitude bring economic vitality, jobs, tax revenues, international recognition and sophistication, and—perhaps most importantly—critical mass. Naturally, highly successful entrepreneurs want to be around other successful entrepreneurs, so the more successful companies we can create, the stronger the gravitational pull to San Diego becomes.”