Vivint, which made $653 million in revenue last year and counts more than 1 million people as customers, raised $100 million in its first round of funding this past April. Contributing to the round were Solamere Capital, the firm co-founded by former presidential candidate Mitt Romney, as well as Facebook board member, PayPal co-founder and Hulk Hogan-lawsuit backer Peter Thiel.
"Utah has a long history of tech innovation across software, networking and internet infrastructure, but it's probably in the last decade when all this started to take shape," said Nick Efstratis, managing director of Epic Ventures, a Salt Lake City-based venture capital firm that has been doing deals in state for 16 years. Among its investments: Ancestry.com, InsideSales and AllianceHealth Networks. "Now Silicon Valley VCs look at this as a market where people know how to build big outcomes," said Efstratis.
California is still king, however, with Silicon Valley and the San Francisco and Los Angeles metropolitan areas alone pulling in some $30 billion across more than 1,000 funding deals in 2015, according to data from the National Venture Capital Association. The venture capital markets in Boston and New York City also eclipse the size of the funding market in Utah.
"Obviously, it's smaller than some of those really big markets," said Sam Stoddard, co-founder of Provo-based SimpleCitizen. "But there's just this entrepreneurial spirit in Utah. It was really, really easy setting up a company, because there was already this network of successful entrepreneurs who had been through this before."