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Utah seeks business unicorns, and how banking can help with financial choices

There’s a big buzzword among those in the financial world that has a fanciful name but is serious business: unicorn. A “unicorn” in the business world is a startup that reaches $1 billion in profits, and it’s something that any city or region would love to have as part of their economy — even if it’s just one.

Utah is in the chase for an elusive unicorn that can become an industry powerhouse. There is a lot of talk about emerging startups being a part of what’s called Silicon Slopes, which includes the larger Salt Lake City area and also cities like Provo in Utah County and Park City. There are several startups that are also choosing to relocate from that former hotspot of tech innovation — California, both north and south — to the Beehive State’s bustle of startup culture.

It’s possible that startups, or any business that’s in its early stages, may need some help with assets or other specific financing needs. That’s where First Utah Bank can help with its variety of term loan options that can be tailored to the needs you may have, and put together by our loan officers who know the region so well.

Making the move to Utah’s booming business climate

As KSL recently reported on its website, one such business that made the move from California to Utah is Fulcrum Labs. In January, CEO Patrick Weir announced the move for his business, which uses artificial intelligence solutions for adaptive learning and training. He said he chose downtown Salt Lake City for a variety of reasons.

“It’s nice to have a little urban element, walkability, lots of different restaurants and bars and so forth,” Weir told KSL. “Coming from L.A., we didn’t want to put ourselves in another traffic jam going back and forth.”

Although Fulcrum is from the southern part of the state, northern California companies also are finding Utah attractive, according to Blake McClary, chair of Silicon Slope’s SLC Chapter. 

“One of the trends we’re seeing is that Bay Area startups who are looking to dip their toe in the water in Utah oftentimes start downtown,” McClary said. “Now, they may not always end up downtown if they’re going to grow really rapidly or have a lot of people, but oftentimes they’ll start downtown just because that’s going to be easier to recruit from.”

The potential unicorns of Utah might be better suited to the more open suburban areas around Salt Lake City, since there’s more space for companies that have 1,000 or more employees, but the urban area may be great for smaller businesses wanting to give Utah a try.

“It’s not hard to find space,” McClary said. “And oftentimes, it’s going to be the same amount of money or cheaper than what you’ll find in Utah County. So in order to be successful, I would say we need to continue to exploit that advantage of startups.”

Reasons to be a part of Salt Lake City’s business environment

For Fulcrum Labs, the move was about more than just a great place to locate. CEO Weir cited the entire state’s business-friendly climate and growing tech industry. “We felt it would be a good place to settle our roots and move to the next phase,” he said. “And take advantage of the great talent that’s being produced, both in the education systems and by people flocking from New York and California.”

He’s also happy with the way that Salt Lake City has welcomed his business to the downtown, saying that there are some businesses who might get an opposite reception when they try to move into a new area.

“But even as it’s getting more and more crowded in Salt Lake, I’ve just found the warm welcoming by strangers and others, and the willingness to help and get us settled and situated has just been tremendous,” Weir said.

That welcoming vibe is partly from the new Mayor of SLC, Erin Mendenhall, who cited the idea of building a strong “tech ecosystem in the city” as part of her platform. McClary from Silicon Slopes notes the spread of tech in California’s Bay area.

“Most of the larger companies were located in Silicon Valley down south,” McClary explained. “And you have all these cool startups located in the city, and it was kind of a radical thing. And all of a sudden, there was more talent there.
“Now, San Francisco actually overpowers Silicon Valley, and you’ve got really large unicorns there.”

Customizing loans for any type of Utah business

If it’s capital, purchases or refinancing that your business needs, First Utah Bank can help. Our term loans are for a specific dollar amount of credit and based on a predetermined schedule for monthly interest and principal payments. Loans can be taken out from a year to 10 years, and rates are mostly fixed, although there is an option for some for a variable rate.

Among the needs that a term loan might serve are these:

  • Long-term Working Capital
  • Owner Occupied Commercial Real Estate Purchase or Refinance
  • Investment Commercial Real Estate Purchase or Refinance
  • Large Equipment Purchase
  • Commercial Vehicle Purchase
  • Business Debt Refinance
  • Business Debt Consolidation
  • Business Acquisition

First Utah Bank can be your hometown solution for all of your business banking needs, giving you not only the financing you need but also a perspective on how to do business where you live and work. Learn more at our business banking website, or call First Utah Bank at 801-308-2265.