Innovation in Unknown Places


Strategically located 30 minutes north of Dallas, McKinney is one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States you haven't heard about yet. Certainly, McKinney is not the first city that comes to mind when thinking about investing in Texas. However, the city's exponentially growing population with a 327% increase over the last twenty years (1999 - 2019), business-friendly environment laws, the low poverty rate (5.9%), and impressive business development growth (23 major project completions amounting to more than $382M in two years) have placed McKinney as the 5th fastest growing city in the United States.

There's more good news for investors: Global connectivity is a huge selling point for the DallasFort Worth (DFW) region. In that case, the city has got you covered and is home to McKinney National Airport, a first-class corporate aviation airport with on-site US customs. It is also within minutes of DF W International and Love Field Airports, connecting you to every major city in the global market.

During COVID-19, the city has experienced steady growth for the last four consecutive months in sales tax revenue of at least 11% each month; 16% in August alone compared to last year, surpassing cities like Plano, who only experienced a 1% increase in August, while Frisco and Allen were up by about 10% and 9%, respectively, and it doesn't look like this trend will slow down any time soon.

McKinney is not your average cowboy town. It has a unique, rich, and diverse spirit in part because of the history that shaped it. Over the years, the city leadership's vision in preserving its history has intentionally crafted a city that offers the best of the old west combined with a vibrant present and a promising development future.

The McKinney Economic Development Corporation's (MEDC) mission is to attract capital investment, creating jobs, and continuously improving the quality of life in the city. Currently led by Peter Tokar III, a well-seasoned economic development executive with over two decades of experience, has given the organization a new mission; to position McKinney as the new hub for technology in the DFW region. The city has matured and developed enough to bring a new era to this hidden gem in North Texas by creating an innovation ecosystem.

"We have worked hard to polish McKinney to this stage, and it is now ready to take the next step in its development strategy. By providing competitive incentives, smart business consulting and designing specialized programs that respond to today's company needs. We have been able to create a ripe ecosystem for business development and position ourselves as the new hub for technology," - said Peter Tokar III, President, and CEO of the MEDC

On Januar y 15th, 2020, the MEDC launched the Innovation Fund, with this exact purpose in mind. A first-of-a-kind resource designed to spur and accelerate innovation-focused startup companies' growth at various levels of revenue and funding stages during the startup life cycle. Different from other types of incentives, this fund is designed to grow with the company as it scales, supplementing growth during the startup lifecycle's timeliest need, seed or few customers through their Series A and or to a more extensive customer base.

Since its release and despite the global economic recession, the Innovation Fund has been quickly getting noticed by investors and companies. After only nine months since its release, the fund has averaged nearly five organic, qualified leads per month from different parts of the United States; many of the leads have also come from Texas through its first-of-a-kind online platform and application. The number of applicants from out of State has also been steadily increasing, most of them coming from New York and California.

The Innovation Fund has attracted rapidly growing startups such as BlockIt, a health tech SaaS Company, and CourMed, a healthcare technology company with innovative enterprise software for on-demand doorstep delivery service of prescriptions and other wellness items.

To date, with organic marketing, the fund has had 28 qualified applicants' that would relocate or expand their headquarters to McKinney. These companies would create 638 new, highly-specialized technology jobs that do not exist today, over the next three years, with an average salary of $88,000.

One of the most valuable and distinctive components of the Innovation Fund is that the web-based app aggregates real estate demand in real-time and provides data to inform investment decisions and recruiting speculative office demand. To date, the application has generated 121,500 square feet of aggregate office demand, 72,500 square feet of which has come from startup companies. Helping the MEDC close and fill 22,80 0 square feet of absorption.

This strategy aligns perfectly with the city's ability to provide companies with a highly educated available workforce since 45% of its population have a Bachelor's degree or higher, and 92% have graduated high school (National Average being 88% and 33.3% for Colleges and Universities). "I believe DFW is becoming the next tech hub in Texas. With that in mind, we've focused our efforts on developing a capability to help spur innovation in economic development and working with startups. Through this fund, we're able to predict and analyze our effect on attracting and creating the next generation of jobs. We're also able to aggregate real-time data for real estate demand and characterize the fund's performance on meeting targeted measures." stated Danny Chavez - Senior Vice President at MEDC and leader of the Innovation Fund.

"When you see the jobs figures and average salaries we're working with, considering the short amount of time the fund has been in existence, we see enormous potential in bolstering our tech ecosystem." - said Chavez.

Aside from having the workforce in which tech companies require, one of the other reasons McKinney can attract startups and investors is its architecture and available undeveloped land. Having one of the State's largest historic districts, the city can offer a unique office space style ready to be occupied. The raw land can be acquired at a lower cost with the potential of colossal expansion along with the creative freedom to build unique, modern infrastructure.

The city's 67.7 mi² of land has allowed modern developers like Kaizen Development Partners to begin constructing architecture that integrates modern-day technology, like incorporating clean office technologies and independent work stations and automated building amenities that cater to the COVID-19 safety requirements.

The MEDC's target sector industries are technology companies, startups, corporate headquarters, financial ser vices, advanced manufac turing , and mixed-use developments. It is succeeding at transforming the region into an innovation eutopia with a wealth of resources that have made McKinney an ideal business location.

There is no doubt that companies who invest in McKinney now will proliferate and expand rapidly in a pro-business environment reaping a businessfriendly city and State's benefits, securing the future of their business.

Danny Chavez
Senior Vice President
McKinney Economic Development Corporation

5900 S Lake Forest Dr, McKinney, TX 75070

(972) 547-7651

972-542-0926 | Fax