In 2002, two Provo brothers and their dad got together to start a company. By 2004, twenty employees parked their cars outside the home to enter the basement to work on their tech startup now known as Qualtrics.
Sunday night, Ryan Smith, the CEO and founder of Qualtrics, officially sold the basement company for 8 billion dollars cash. This sale is an incredible and motivating story for entrepreneurs alike.
CEO and founder of Kiln, a local Lehi company and hub made for entrepreneurs, said this sale makes it a very exciting time for Utah startups. “Their exit is really exciting for everyone, really Utah has wonderful talent that’s exemplified at Qualtrics, and we believe a lot of that talent exists in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.”
Utah’s culture with a focus on families and hard work lends itself to startups. Forbes deems Utah County as one of the hottest spots for up and coming companies. Many of these companies are tech companies in need for a place to work. The workspace and community at kiln is the perfect place to be.
Arian Lewis, CEO said, “Kiln is actually a community designed to help forge the future of tech. We’re focused on enabling early stage tech companies to have a wonderful environment to work in and a community that helps them to scale. We believe you can only be in one place at one time and that place should really count.”
Startups are demanding and tiresome, but CEO’s and team members agree a community like Kiln helps in growth structure and successes.
Mick Hagen, CEO and founder of Mainframe, said, “What excited me most is what it (the sale of Qualtrics) does for the whole ecosystem here in Utah, we will see more angel investors, more venture funding, more entrepreneurs, more mentorship and it’s going to help the entire ecosystem here in Utah grow!”
Kiln has 90 companies working in its space now and 50 percent of these CEO’s come from Brigham Young University.
Caleb Wagner, CEO and founder of Baywatch Technologies, said, “Baywatch is a startup originally out of BYU. The last day of the semester the professor got up and basically said don’t try to beat the market, just invest in index funds. I realized everything I really wanted to do, he pretty much just crushed, so I walked out and changed my major to entrepreneurship and started working on this company.”
It is exciting an exciting time in Silicon Slopes with Qualtrics sale on Sunday. And for many of the CEO’s there, the future is bright for their startup tech companies.