As I worked on the Utah Student 25 Executive Committee over the past six months, it became apparent that we were working on something big for the state. Utah is at the top of the heap among state economies due in part to rising entrepreneurial ventures. Utah Student 25 dug a little deeper this year to find the roots of some of the past and future shooting stars of Utah business.
At the recent inaugural awards gala WordPerfect, 800-Contacts, Novell, Omniture, and others were cited as the best of sector leaders founded by college students. Utah Student 25 focused in on early stage, student-founded startups that are growing rapidly and making a profit. Meter Solutions rose to the top of the pile this year with smart grid automated metering solutions for gas, water, and electric utilities. They were not alone in a class of 25 entrepreneurial startups creating more than 100 jobs and $3.9 million in revenue over the past year.
Governor Herbert congratulated the finalists as the hope of Utah’s future economic success. Prolific mentor and angel investor Stephen Gibson counseled others to be a mentor to someone coming aftern them. Omniture co-founder John Pestana spoke of the wrenching challenges of getting the right employees on the bus as their company evolved. John’s partner, Josh James, spoke of the roller coaster ride of revenue and reinvention that Omniture endured before reaching the distinction of being the largest tech acquisition in Utah history.
We are pleased to serve as Public Relations mentor and guide for Utah Student 25 and will watch with great interest the progress of it’s first class of 25.