Silicon Slopes refers to the area that stretches along the I-15 corridor from Provo to Ogden and includes Salt Lake City, Park City and the surrounding areas. Served by the Salt Lake City International Airport, Silicon Slopes has garnered national media attention as a hotbed of startup businesses and economic activity.
There is also a non-profit organization called “Silicon Slopes”, which organizes and hosts more than 200 events annually, including the Silicon Slopes Tech Summit, which boasted 25,000 attendees this past January, 2019. There are 13 regional chapters of Silicon Slopes, including one in Park City with 420 members and one in Heber Valley with 29 members.
Some of the sponsors of Silicon Slopes include Domo, Qualtrics, Adobe (founded by a Universtiy of Utah Alumni), Vivint Smart Home, Instructure, Traeger Grills, Ebay, and Goldman Sachs, all whom have a presence in Utah’s Silicon Slopes.
What does this have to do with real estate? The answer is jobs and money.
There are 4 “unicorn” companies (valuation over $1 billion) founded in Utah’s Silicon Slopes. Domo was founded by Josh James, who sold his first company, Omniture, to Adobe in 2009 for $1.9 billion.
InsideSales.com, Pluralsight and Qualtrics are the other three unicorns. Qualtrics was founded by Ryan Smith, who developed the platform with his dad and brother in their family basement in 2002. Their company was recently acquired by enterprise software company SAP for $8 billion. Smith, his dad and brother own close to 50% of the company. I heard that more than 100 employee/stock owners became multi-millionaires following the purchase.
Skullcandy, founded and based in Park City, was acquired by Mill Road Capital for $196.9 million in 2016.
These numbers may seem small compared to California’s Silicon Valley, but they are significant and real. The infusion of capital into our region is creating multi-millionaires who will take their earnings and reinvest them in the area, creating additional startup companies and jobs. Forbes ranks Utah as the second best place to do business in the US and taxfoundation.org ranks us 8th.
The executives and newly minted multi-millionaires of the Silicon Slopes all need places to live and raise their families. The Salt Lake area is already Park City’s biggest feeder market. I expect we will see more full time and second home purchases in Park City fueled by Utah’s Silicon Slopes. The Silicon Slopes add an exciting dimension to the Park City real estate market and a diversification from our ski resort market.