Weekly 5: National businesses founded by BYU students


You have probably seen their signs and advertisements and perhaps even used their products or services, but the following five major companies all share one unique commonality: their founders attended BYU.

1. Vivint

Founded by serial entrepreneur Todd Pederson, and with a focus on providing home automation and security services, Vivint provides its customers with 24/7 nationwide support and gives a major boost to the Provo economy by providing nearly 3,500 jobs to local residents. Pederson left BYU early to start his business in 1992.

“Vivint provides great opportunities of employment in a variety of different functions and capacities,“ said Doug Cartwright, a sales manager for Vivint United. “We truly are dedicated to giving back to the Provo community and BYU.”

2. Domo

Spreadsheets, databases and system applications might not appeal to the everyday person, but for Josh James and his company, Domo, those tasks allow the company to provide intuitive software that marries those systems for other businesses. James left BYU before his senior year to pursue his entrepreneurial interests.

“It seems like all of my friends are trying to get internships at Domo,” said Tyson Oldroyd, a BYU finance major. “Their founder has a track record of success.”

3. Ancestry.com

Paul B. Allen and Dan Taggart started with floppy disks to launch their genealogy information business into the largest for-profit genealogy company in the world, which now boasts nearly 2.5 million subscribers. Both Allen and Taggart are BYU graduates.

“I have used Ancestry.com on a few occasions,” said Kayley Hedin, a Salt Lake County resident who is actively performing genealogy work for her church. “It’s a beautiful system, and the user experience has been great.”

4. 1-800 CONTACTS

When Jonathan Coon won the 1995 Business Plan Competition hosted by the Marriott School of Management, he used the capital to grow his dorm room idea into a nationally recognized brand that sells millions of dollars in contact lenses each year, 1-800 CONTACTS. Coon received his B.A. in public relations from BYU in 1994.

“Whenever I think of contact lenses, I think of 1-800 CONTACTS, “ said Richard Grossen, a Salt Lake County businessman and longtime prescription contacts user. “The branding and marketing behind their business was progressive for its time.”

5. Property Solutions

David Bateman used his wife’s job experience as a property manager to create intuitive software that helps multi-family communities manage their property in one database. Bateman received his B.A. in business administration from BYU.

“We have grown from just a small startup to an industry leader in a short amount of time,” said Michael Swan, agency manager at Property Solutions. “The vision of our executive team has been crucial to our success.”

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