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Utah Becomes Haven for Tech Startups

The Beehive State has been attracting tech startups like bees to honey. Known as Silicon Slopes, the state of Utah is growing in popularity with tech startups.

From Qualtrics to Inside Sales, tech companies are moving to the state of Utah, begging the question as to why companies are picking Utah over other tech-heavy states such as California or Virginia.

Since the economic recession the state has demonstrated strong economic growth–which may be reassuring to companies looking to relocate. In 2015, Utah achieved a 3.33 percent GDP growth rate, which was almost a full percentage point higher than the national growth rate in the same year.

“The economic climate and booming IT infrastructure of Silicon Slopes has been integral to the growth and development of our company since day one,” said Dave Bateman, CEO of Entrata, a property management software producer, to Desert News. “We’re proud to call Utah home and appreciate the support of our community as we continue to innovate and advance our technology in this great state.”

As opposed to the Silicon Valley in California, Utah has a relatively low cost of living, with affordable housing plentiful and easy to find. Companies may find it easier to attract talent to a state where the median rent is under Silicon Valley’s $2,000 a month for a one-bedroom.

In addition to cheaper housing, commercial property prices also benefit companies. As startups grow, corporate headquarters can be expensive, especially in the tech industry where perks such as on-site cafeterias, gyms, and even dry cleaners are becoming standard. In Utah companies can afford larger, more custom working spaces–keeping overhead lower and employees happier.

Additionally, companies moving to Utah can capitalize on the talent pipeline from Brigham Young University in Provo and University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Since many in the state have local family ties, companies don’t have to worry as much about employees moving away and taking valuable and expensive company training with them.

“After extensive research and market diligence, it became incredibly clear that Utah provided the perfect mix of employee talent, technology DNA, and a hard-working culture to make this new operation a home run for our rapidly growing company,” said Ruzwana Bashir, co-founder and CEO of Peek, an outdoor activities booking company with a regional office in Utah.

Startups are also embraced by the Utah community. From organizations such as Silicon Slopes, an organization conceived for the purpose of promoting Utah’s growing technology community, and Beehive Startups, an independent organization devoted to covering and building Utah’s startup and tech community, there is community support for business trying to get off the ground.

Investors are also flocking to Utah, so for startups in need of funding, Utah can be an attractive place to operate. Park City Angels, Signal Peak Ventures, Utah Angels 2, and Peak Ventures–among others–are also investors focused on growing Utah startups and small businesses.

Kate DeNardi
About Kate DeNardi
Kate DeNardi is 21st Century State & Local's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs
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