June 26, 2022

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Salt Lake City ranked 2nd best startup city in US by real estate data company

3 min read

Salt Lake City is pictured at sunset. Real estate data company Clever this week published new data that found that Salt Lake City ranks as the second-best startup city in the U.S., trailing only Las Vegas. (Spenser Heaps, Deseret News)

Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — It’s no secret that Salt Lake City boasts a bustling tech haven as the Silicon Slopes moniker continues to justify itself with a growing tech industry. Now, real estate data company Clever this week published new data that found that Salt Lake City ranks as the second-best startup city in the U.S., trailing only Las Vegas.

Clever’s weighted rankings evaluated various criteria when determining the best startup cities, including:

  • 3x: Business applications per 100,000 people in the last five years
  • 3x: Employment growth in the last 12 months
  • 2x: Average annual income
  • 2x: LLC filing fees
  • 2x: Incorporation filing fees
  • 2x: Corporate tax rate
  • 2x: Chief executives per 1,000 people
  • 1x: Google Trends data
  • 1x: Patents filed per 1,000 people in the last five years

After the dust of that criteria and ranking all the cities settled, Salt Lake City emerged as the second most attractive place for a startup company.

Jaime Seale, the author of the report, said that Salt Lake City has “quietly” attracted entrepreneurs and startups for years. Over the last five years, Salt Lake City residents have filed 8,198 business applications per 100,000 residents — the fourth most of any city on the list.

“Part of the reason that it is in our top 15 is because it has a lot of CEOs,” Seale said.

Salt Lake City has 4.1 CEOs per 1,000 residents, a number that is nearly three times the national average of 1.42 CEOs per 1,000 residents, according to the report.

Having a high concentration of CEOs is important to startups, Seale said.

“If you are a startup founder and you want to launch a business, with so many CEOs in the region, you can network and ask questions and collaborate with all these other people who have already proven themselves and been successful in the business community,” she said.

And while the cost of living is rising in the Beehive State, it’s still more affordable than other tech hubs such as Los Angeles or Silicon Valley. It costs only $72 to incorporate or start an LLC, which is more than 50% cheaper than the average cost across all cities studied, according to the report.

Additionally, Salt Lake City has a highly educated workforce, with more than half of residents 25 years and older holding a bachelor’s degree or higher.

At the state’s flagship institution, the University of Utah, a precedent-setting $884 million in investments was raised by U. startups in 2021 and technologies developed by University of Utah faculty and students contributed to the launch of 14 startup companies last year.

Further south, Brigham Young University has produced 300 businesses and raised $6.25 billion in venture capital funding, earning the distinction as one of the best universities for startup founders, according to Business Insider.

Being nestled along the Wasatch Front doesn’t hurt Salt Lake City’s allure for startup companies either, Seale said.

“Besides the fact that it’s affordable, it’s got a great networking culture, it’s also just a fun place to live. It’s got all of this natural beauty … so that’s just kind of another draw for folks wanting to start a business,” Seale said.

“You want to live in a great place too, not just work in a great place.”

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