November 5, 2013

Cover Story

Sustainable Business Awards

From constructing buildings that are as energy efficient as they are beaut...Read More

Featured Articles

Vapor Trails

Up to Speed

Sections

Features
Best of Business 2013

Spotlight
Sheridan Mordue: An Eye for the Art of Business

Spotlight
Lee Perry: Motivated by a Sense of Mission

Around Utah
Around Utah

Business Trends
Survival of the Biggest?

EntrepreneurEdge
Tit for Tat

Executive Living
Sleep: It’s Not Optional

Industry Outlook
Industry Outlook: Technology Entrepreneurs

Lessons Learned
California Dreaming

TechKnowledge
Smart Start

Money Talk
Interesting Developments

Legal Briefs
Hands Off

Economic Insight
The Productive Middle

Letter
Let’s Clean Up Utah’s Air

Reader's Choice
The Park Café

Special Advertisement
How to Determine if You Have an Invention, and What to Do With It

Special Advertisement
Want to Be an Entrepreneur?

Article

Industry Outlook: Technology Entrepreneurs

November 5, 2013

Life sciences, for example, and in some cases advanced materials, tend to be more capital intensive, tend to have to be a bigger deal. So how do we get big deals financed?

BHASKAR: A good thing that happened was BioFire Idaho Technologies had a huge exit. Once we have more of those kind of exits, we’ll have more attention to Utah—very much similar to what we have in IT, the big exits are the ones that brought VCs to start looking more at Utah.

GREEN: The training at the university level here is more slanted toward devices, and device deals are just not popular today. There’s very few LPs that are investing in funds. There’s very little device money available today. The exits are smaller, the multiples are lower.

But everything goes in cycles, so perhaps the device space will have more activity as we go forward. But right now, there’s only a handful of funds that have capital available for devices. And it’s a barbell: The device funds are like $200 million funds, while the life science funds, like diagnostics and biotech and pharmaceuticals, they’re multi-billion-dollar funds looking to deploy $50 or $70 million. Where the device guys want to put in $5 million or $10 at the most.

What do you think our image as a state is to your competitors, to your customers? What do you perceive as being your barriers?

JOHNSON: We’ve recruited several high-tech executives from the Bay Area and other places around the country. There is this stigma that Utah’s a backwater. We’re overcoming that.

The bigger deal is the critical mass of the tech community and business here. If somebody comes into Utah to work at a company, if that doesn’t work out, do they have a legitimate tech career in Utah? Until maybe the last few years, the answer to that has been no. But now it’s turning towards yes.

BHASKAR: Silicon Slopes is a good thing that comes to mind, where they made an effort to publicize the Utah companies on the map—so that if you lose your job in one company, there’s another company that you could step into.

But then look at it this way: If you’re in Silicon Valley, there are a large number of huge companies, so if you lose a job, you can go to the next one. If you were given a choice of Silicon Valley versus Utah, what would you do? The number of companies, the number of startups is just 10 times Utah. So statistically, you’re going to go to Silicon Valley.

RICHARDS: I think that this issue’s bifurcated, too. If investors and people want to come to Utah, if there’s money to be made, they’re going to come here and make money. But the issue of somebody taking a job in Ogden and sticking it out, that’s a separate issue.

The investors coming here and the cache that we carry in the national press is great, and it attracts a lot of people. We’re hot right now. But there are still issues of attracting somebody to live in Ogden or Provo if they’re coming from Silicon Valley. And there probably will be for a while.

SLOVIK: I moved here four and a half years ago. I moved here from San Francisco, and when I’d say, “I’m moving to Utah,” they’d look at me like, why? But I was just there last week. And now when I’d meet people at VCs or whatever, they’d say, “Oh, I hear there’s a budding technology center growing in Utah.”

They still think of us as the 9-year-old brother kind of tagging along. But it’s better than it was before, where it was, “Why on earth would you even think of that?”  

JOHNSON: Do we do anything to get that message out, as opposed to just let it happen?

SKONNARD: We do deals.

LEHMAN: There was an article in The Economist about Utah and its economic development and the profits we’ve made—it’s stellar.

Internationally, there’s no cultural stigmatism attached to Utah. I mean, Utah is just a state that most people don’t know where it is on a map. Domestically, it’s a little bit different. We still get those silly jokes. But what I have found is any time I bring someone here, I have no issue getting them over any sort of preconception they might have about Utah. Your point of whether or not they would have other job opportunities is a bigger issue now than getting people over the cultural issues.

SLOVIK: My kids are four. And my wife was on Greatschools.org. She looked at the schools in the Bay Area, and they’re all getting nines and tens. And she looked at the schools here, and they’re getting threes and fours. And she said, “There’s no way I’m going to let my kids go to school here. So what is our plan to leave?”

Page 123456789
Utah Business Social
UB Events View All
30 Women to Watch 2014!Utah Business Event
May 22, 2014
Thirty of Utah’s most dynamic women will be recognized at the 15th Annual 30 Women to Watch Awar...
Community Events View All
Branding Utah
Apr 18, 2014
Vicki Varela, managing director for the Utah Office of Tourism, Film and Global Branding, will sh...
Excel Level 1
Apr 22, 2014
A hands-on, interactive class covering Microsoft Excel fundamentals. Explore the new user interfa...

info@utahbusiness.com  |  90 South 400 West, Ste 650 Salt Lake City, Utah 84101   |  (801) 568-0114

Advertise with Utah Business

Submit an Event

* indicates required information
* Event Name:
Price (general):
Website (if applicable):
Coordinator's Name:
Coordinator's Email:
Coordinator's Phone:
Venue Name:
Venue Address:
Venue City:
Venue Zip:
Event Capacity:
Date(s):
to
* Event Description:
  Cancel