It's hard to imagine that up until a few years ago the term Silicon Slopes was met with awkward silences and a confused look from people who heard it. Now, its mentioned in the same vein as Silicon Valley and is easily one of the best tech hubs in the world.
The Silicon Slopes refer to the region in the state of Utah that encompasses Salt Lake City. It also includes Provo, Park City, Cache Valley, Midvale and its surrounding areas.
A recent study by Seek Capital conducted of all 50 U.S. states found Utah as the best state for startups.
So what makes Salt Lake City, Utah aka Silicon Slopes irresistible for the new age of entrepreneurs and startups?
Let's find out.
A Tech Boom Years in the Making
At first glance, the growth of Silicon Slopes as a major player in the tech industry might seem sudden. But if we take a closer look, we'll find that it was years in the making.
Utah's tech industry has a rich history which dates back to 70s with the rise of tech giants like Evans & Sutherland, Novell and WordPerfect. But after that, it slowed down for years and picked up pace in the late 90s and early 00s thanks to companies like Vivint, Ancestry.com and Omniture. The latter whose acquisition by Adobe in 2009 paved the way for Adobe to establish their permanent base in Utah.
Lower Cost of Living and Cheap Real Estate
When compared to Silicon Valley, the real estate prices in Utah make up only a fraction of the cost. Which means startups can easily afford to build large offices to accommodate the growing workforce. They can even perk up the place with funky interiors, cafeterias, gyms, etc. without worrying too much about the monetary impact. This helps startups attract the best talents to come work for them.
Utah also has an abundance of affordable housing which makes it easier to attract talent. According to research, this impacts the average salaries as well, which is 5% lower than the national average. A report IT trade association CompTIA puts Utah at the top with the highest percentage of increase in tech job from 2016 to 2017.
Another remarkable aspect of Utah is its talent pool. Their residents have one of the highest tech degrees per capita ratios in the country. The major contributors to this tech talent pool are the Brigham Young, University of Utah and Utah State. They give the startups in Utah a real advantage when it comes to scouting for talent.
Supportive State Government
Every year you will see Utah's name ranked among the top 5 states for businesses in the United States. It's not that surprising since Utah's government has for decades focused on creating a healthy partnership between businesses, education, government and communities. It helped in building a strong foundation for the Silicon Slopes to thrive.
A very early proof of that is in the 90s when Governor Michael Leavitt made regular trips to the Silicon Valley to entice tech companies to bring their offices to the Silicon Slopes. As a direct result, eBay opened its main customer service centre and Intel its research operations.
A few years back, the Utah government provided a massive $150 million tax incentive for Facebook to start its data centre in Utah.
Utah's state government provides lots of resources and benefits for startups and small businesses to flourish. It directly contributes to more jobs and investment thereby creating a positive impact on Utah's economy.
The name Silicon Slopes was, in fact, the name of the non-profit founded by Domo founder and CEO James in 2008. Its goal is to help promote Utah's growing tech ecosystem.
The Silicon Slopes community is home to more than 6000 of the most innovative startups and tech companies. Some of which are valued at well over a billion dollars and run by some of the greatest minds in the tech industry. Some of which are valued at well over a billion dollars and run by some of the greatest minds in the tech industry.
They believe in building companies that revolutionize industries while giving back to the community. They believe in providing equal opportunities for entrepreneurs of all backgrounds who want to make an impact and succeed in their ambitions.
The Utah tech scene is still growing fast. It's attracting both investors and entrepreneurs to take advantage of the Silicon Slopes tech boom and be part of this innovation drive.
We recently opened the latest branch of our mobile app development company in Salt Lake City, Utah. We want to help the next generation of entrepreneurs and startups build lightning-fast apps. We have worked closely with some amazing entrepreneurs and startups in their journey from ideation to multi-million valuation.
Come, talk to us today and find out how we can help you with your startup's journey to success.