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The Allure of the Silicon Slopes

salt-lake-city-485867_1920According to Fortune, there are currently four $1-billion-plus startups located in our hometown, known to many as the “Silicon Slopes,” a stretch of cities along the Rocky Mountains, from Ogden in the north to Provo in the south and Salt Lake City in between. But what is attracting these early-stage companies to the state?

Firstly, there is strong local talent coming from both Brigham Young University located in Provo and the University of Utah located in Salt Lake City. Both Universities graduate plenty of candidates who prefer to work in Utah, due to family ties.

Secondly, real estate is much more affordable compared to other startup hubs such as Silicon Valley and New York. Fortune lists that Median home prices in the area are about $300,000, compared with Silicon Valley’s $1.25 million. The affordability and the access to skiing, hiking and biking in Utah’s mountains are a draw for both founders and out of state candidates.

Finally, while venture capital wasn’t easily accessed in the past, it has since skyrocketed from $299 million across 34 deals in 2013 to $732 million across 55 deals in 2015, according to the National Venture Capital Association.

The future is looking bright for the startup breeding ground. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce recently ranked Utah No.1 in innovation and entrepreneurship, No. 2 in high-tech performance and No. 3 in economic performance in a study of all 50 states.