How Salt Lake City & Utah Became The New Gold Standard
“In terms of job growth and economic performance, Utah ranked as the overall best performing state for the second year in a row, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s annual Enterprising States study. This is just one of the high ratings that’s proving that the state’s centrist government and wise investments are working.
Utah also landed atop Forbes’s list of best states for business in 2014, and the state consistently ranks high in quality-of-life measures. And while the Enterprising States survey ranked Utah No. 3 for economic performance, behind North Dakota and Texas, it was the only state to land in the top 10 in all six major categories of the study. There’s that balance. And the centrism: Gov. Gary Herbert attributed the state’s high scores to government policies that “empower the private sector” and advocate job growth in both high-tech and middle-skill industries.”
Move Over, Silicon Valley: Utah Has Arrived
“One entrepreneur in an ideal position to assess how Utah has (and hasn’t) changed in recent years is Todd Pedersen, founder and CEO of Vivint, a provider of smart home-security technologies based in Provo. Pedersen, 45, started his first company when he was 22. After dropping out of Brigham Young University, he sold pest-control products out of a trailer. Within a year he had 80 employees.
Seven years later, Pedersen–armed with firsthand wisdom about running a company and selling technology into homes–founded APX Alarm. APX eventually became Vivint, a $527 million business with more than 7,000 employees. In 2012, the Blackstone Group acquired Vivint for more than $2 billion, an acquisition Pedersen’s bio calls “the largest tech buyout in Utah history.” Moreover, the Vivint Solar division went public a few weeks ago.
I asked Pedersen for his take on why Utah’s 2014 VC deals were so ginormous.”
The New Yorker
How Utah Became the Next Silicon Valley
“Utah turns out to also have features in common with other places involved in the super-sector: local universities that graduate a lot of S.T.E.M. students (most notably, Brigham Young University); policies and infrastructure that attract businesses (for instance, tax breaks and a light-rail system that connects the state’s biggest cities); and strong relationships among local companies (Utah’s state and local governments, along with an economic-development organization, facilitate partnerships, and, because many of Utah’s businesses are home-grown, and the state’s population is small, densely located, and tightly knit, its businesspeople tend to get to know each other well).”