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Forbes dubs Utah 'cloud computing’s new capital'

Forbes dubs Utah 'cloud computing’s new capital'



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SALT LAKE CITY — Forbes dubbed Utah the “cloud computing's new capital” Tuesday after six Utah tech companies were named to the Forbes’ annual 2017 Cloud 100 list and three were ranked in the top 20.

Qualtrics (No. 6), Domo (15), and Pluralsight (20) all made the top of the coveted list while Workfront (58), Health Catalyst (64) and InsideSales (92) filled out the rest of what Forbes calls a list of “the world’s best cloud companies.”

“The cloud” is a trendy term that’s bandied about quite a bit in the tech world but is less easily defined. “The cloud” is not a physical thing but a network of servers with different functions, whether that be to store data, run applications or deliver a service.

Each Utah company on the list bases their software in the cloud while providing unique services including:

  • Experience management (Qualtrics)
  • Business management (Domo)
  • Tech learning (Pluralsight)
  • Work management (Workfront)
  • Healthcare analytics (Health Catalyst)
  • Sales acceleration (InsideSales)

    Thanks to such a strong and diverse showing on the list, Forbes featured Silicon Slopes in an article released Tuesday, hailing the budding tech scene as “cloud computing’s new capital.”
    “(The) sales prowess, mixed with business-friendly policies, an educated workforce, low energy prices and a culture of deliberate growth, dovetails with a new tech era that requires huge server capacity and even larger contracts,” Forbes reported.

“The Beehive State hosts six companies — led by Qualtrics, Domo and Pluralsight — on the Forbes Cloud 100, a list of the leading private tech companies in cloud computing, which today spans everything from infrastructure to business software to cybersecurity.”

Dozens of cloud-focused startups in Utah are “incubating” behind the leaders in the field, Forbes said, and while Silicon Valley is known for its cutthroat culture, Utah has taken a more traditional approach to slow and steady growth by focusing on profits over nascent market share.

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“With flameouts proliferating in Silicon Valley, the Utah bootstrapping culture has been attracting investments from the likes of Benchmark, Insight Venture Partners and Sequoia Capital — albeit usually after the companies are profitable and thus can negotiate with the VCs from strength,” Forbes reported.

Many of Utah’s startups, including Qualtrics and Pluralsight, bootstrapped their way to the top before taking funding, crediting Utah’s exceptional sales talent as an important part of that success. Utah’s culture has tended to produce remarkable salesman and is now beginning to see that same kind of tech talent, though perhaps not enough.

“Utah’s cloud-based surge remains contingent on one thing: more outside talent,” Forbes reported.

While local universities like the University of Utah and Brigham Young University produce growing pools of talent, tech leaders have also been looking for out-of-staters to fill a gap. Qualtrics alone has relocated 160 people to Utah so far this year, according to Forbes.

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And though they’re competing for talent, revenue and to become Utah’s next public company, Utah’s cloud companies have seen a lot of progress via collaboration with each other as well. Ryan Smith (Qualtrics), Josh James (Domo) and Aaron Skonnard (Pluralsight) often meet as CEOs to discuss everything from the gender disparity in tech to the future of Silicon Slopes.

"We all have a chance to do something great," Smith said. "We know the enormity of what we are doing."

And while Utah is still growing, even those outside the state have started to take notice of “Silicon Slopes.”

"Utah's culture generates extremely ambitious entrepreneurs who tend to be quite frugal," Bryan Schreier, a partner at Sequoia Capital who led its investment in Qualtrics, told Forbes. "I think there are more great companies per capita in Utah than anywhere else."

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