Connect Inducts Software Pioneer Peter Preuss to Entrepreneurial Hall of Fame

Connect, San Diego’s non-profit group for technology innovation, officially inducted software industry pioneer Peter Preuss into its Entrepreneurial Hall of Fame during a luncheon yesterday that recounted his life story—from a nerd growing up in postwar Berlin to a successful technology entrepreneur and prominent patron of both education and cancer research.

Preuss is the eighth inductee in a pantheon that includes some of San Diego’s biggest names in entrepreneurship and technology innovation, including Qualcomm founder Irwin Jacobs, cancer researcher and venture capitalist Ivor Royston, Idec Pharmaceuticals founder William Rastetter, and SAIC founder J. Robert Beyster.

“The criteria is that they built great companies, but they also gave back to the community,” said Connect CEO (and Xconomist) Duane Roth.

Peter Preuss

Peter Preuss

Preuss was close to completing his doctoral thesis in mathematics at UC San Diego in 1970, when he started a software company that enabled programmers to create pie charts and other graphics on the 10-megahertz “supercomputers” of that era. The company, known as ISSCO (Integrated Software Systems Corp.) grew to be the nation’s leading independent software company then specializing in data representation graphics and graphical information systems, with 32 offices worldwide and two public stock offerings. ISSCO was acquired by Computer Associates in 1986.

Preuss told the luncheon audience that he focused his energy on cancer research after a family member was diagnosed with a brain tumor. With what he described as “entrepreneurial hubris,” he said, “I was absolutely convinced that if I put all my energy into it, that we will find a solution” to cancer. In the process, he founded the … Next Page »

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Bruce V. Bigelow was the editor of Xconomy San Diego from 2008 to 2018. Read more about his life and work here. Follow @bvbigelow

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