Ryan Van Wagenen Opines on Growth in Utah’s Silicon Slopes

Ryan Van Wagenen a private equity financier from Salt Lake City is a huge fan of the recent economic growth seen throughout the state over the past decade.  When asked to explain why the state has seen so much growth, he praised the talent from our universities.

Utah’s Silicon Slopes Bringing New Talent Each Year:

Van Wagenen further explained “Utah State, the University of Utah, BYU, UVU, and Westminster provide tens of thousands of new responsible cost competitive talent each year within 45 miles of Salt Lake.  It just makes sense that these firms would want to be here and hire these recent grads.  The firms can pay very competitive salaries and the employees are happy because the cost of living is less and the location is viewed as a great place for a family.  Having these companies here locally has been great for our business and we’ve seen a dramatic increase in activity.”  Van Wagenen himself is quite familiar with the situation given he is an alumnus of Westminster.

The state has seen dramatic changes over the past 8 years and the economy is stunning. Much of the exodus has been from Silicon Valley firms based in Northern California.  These Bay area firms head East to the lower cost and upcoming trendy area at the foot of the Wasatch Mountains.  Even new hip firms like Snapchat are getting in on the action and presence in the state.  Just this week, Adobe broke ground on a $90 million second building that will double their work force in the coming years.  Executives of Adobe agreed with Van Wagenen and cited the reason for growth in the state tied to Utah being a great place to find a highly educated and talented workforce.

Employee Lifestyle & Cost of Living is better in Silicon Slopes

As young urban professionals pass up high paying jobs in Northern California and New York to make the move to the Silicon Slopes, one can’t help but think the cost of living has something to do with that.Employees are able to live a very comfortable and really lavish lifestyle in the beehive state.  Even mammoth corporate businesses such as Goldman Sachs and Intel are opening and further expanding what initially was planned to be satellite offices in Salt Lake City.

Opportunity of Investment in Utah’s Silicon Slopes According to Ryan Van Wagenen:

There is a great opportunity for investments in private equity and real estate.  As this stunning growth continues, the technology firms and employees moving in will increase the deal flow throughout the state.  It has already started to occur as the Utah Business Journal suggests a sharp increase in deals and that there are now overtwenty-five private equity firms within the State.  The sizes of the deals have also increased to $5-20 million on average and many of these firms indicate ability to write larger equity checks through joint ventures according to Ryan Van Wagenen.

What Stats says about Utah’s Local Business Activities?

The Zions Consumer Attitude Index is also at all time highs and shows a significant uptick in confidence and tourism and interest in outdoor sports.  There has been nearly an 80% increase in activity in winter mountain sports compared to prior years. Park City has seen one of the largest increases in population and tourism this year as well.Local businesses such as restaurants haveseen the largest change as they are constantly overflowing with tourists and newly relocated locals.

The real estate activity is an area that should continue to see growth.  Salt Lake and adjacent communities have noticeddrastic increases in real estate and prices are moving upward in both residential and commercial property.  Salt Lake is forecasted as a top 10 housing market for 2018 after a nearly 6% increase in 2017. Some Utahans fear a bubble in the horizon, but many experts point to merely a lag in the state from recent growth and point to long-term trends in the housing market as a further catalyst for increased growth.  No one can doubt that something is going seriously well throughout the state and it’s great to see that we are continuing to lure even the most influential technology firms eastward to the newly anointed Silicon Slopes. May we have continued dynamic growth and success for the years to come.

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