ICYMI: The Top Six Stories from the First Half of July 2023

ICYMI: The Top Six Stories from the First Half of July 2023
Photo by Matt C / Unsplash

From the powerful message of the movie Sound of Freedom to the $1.1 billion company valuation boost Recursion Pharmaceuticals gained after accepting a $50 million private investment from NVIDIA, we deliver our perspectives on each of the top 6 money stories in Utah for first half of the month (July 1st through the 15th).

Yes, July is finally here, along with the typical 90+ degree weather so typically found in Utah, the second driest state in America.

But what has also arrived, unexpectedly, are several fairly significant financial stories from the first half of July, each with their own monetary impact.

So, as noted below, here are what we feel are the Top 6 Stories in Utah for the first half of July 2023, based upon their actual or possible financial impact.

In addition, we also throw-in tidbits on four additional noteworthy News Nuggets at the end of this writeup that we feel you might find useful too.

Story No. 1:   Recursion Pharmaceuticals Jumps $1.1 Billion in Value less than 48 Hours after accepting a $50 Million Private Investment from NVIDIA

Salt Lake City-based Recursion (NASDAQ:RXRX) is not only one of the hottest biotech companies in Utah, but Recursion is arguably among the top drug discovery and development firms on the planet, especially because of its artificial intelligence/machine learning/supercomputer/cloud computing approach to the science.

But when the company announced last week it had closed a surprise $50MM private investment from semiconductor giant, NVIDIA, Recursion's stock price jumped through the roof, nearly doubling in under 48 hours.

As of midday today, Recursion's corporate valuation now stands at over $2.6 billion, up from ~$1.25 billion at market close the day before the funding news release was distributed.

To see our initial report and insights, please see NVIDIA's $50 Million Investment in Recursion Pharmaceuticals Proves Recursion is on the Right Path.

Story No. 2:  The Have Not's Can "Soon" Become the Have's as $317 Million is Bringing Broadband Access to 69,000 Households in Utah  

Courtesy of the so-called "BEAD program,"  Utah has received $317 million in federal funding to build high-speed, broadband connectivity solutions to every Utah household without such access today. That's roughly 145,000 people.

To see our report and perspectives on this news, please see For $317 Million, all of Utah will Finally have Access to a Broadband Internet Connection ... Soon-ish.

Story No. 3:    Utah's DOT Recommends Spending $729 Million to Fix Travel in Little Cottonwood Canyon with a Gondola, Tolling, and More

Some five years after the process began, the Utah Department of Transportation released its final report last week about how to fix transportation challenges in Little Cottonwood Canyon, home to both Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort and Alta Ski Area via a three phase process.

The final price tag? At least $729MM, with $150MM already allocated by the State of Utah for Phase I.

To see our report and perspectives on this news, please see Utah's DOT Recommends $729 Million Gondola-B Alternative for Little Cottonwood Canyon.

Story No. 4:  Sarcos Says Goodbye to ~70 Employees as it Announces a "more Focused Business Plan"

Salt Lake City-based Sarcos Technology and Robotics (NASDAQ:STRC and STRCW) announced last week a Reduction in Force of nearly 25% of its workforce (~70 employees) as part of "a more focused business plan."

To see our report and perspectives on this Sarcos-related news, please see Sarcos Announces Layoff of Approximately 25% of its Staff (~70 People).

Story No. 5:  In a Likely First, a Lehi, Utah Facility is Quietly Building Solar Panels for a California-based Firm

Did you have any idea that there is a group manufacturing solar panels in Utah? Nope, us neither.

But it's true. Which is why we feel the story behind Complete Solaria's place in Utah's burgeoning solar industry is quite interesting.

To see our writeup and perspectives on this news, please see Wait ... Someone in Lehi is Manufacturing Solar Panels? Yup.

Story No. 6:  The 30 Million Reasons why Sound of Freedom, the Angel Studios Movie Designed to Make People Feel Simultaneously Uncomfortable and Inspired, was Finally Released

Sound of Freedom, the unexpected hit film of 2023, has now been in theaters for two weeks.

In spite of the highly sensitive, and in some circles "controversial," nature of the subject matter ... child sex trafficking / child sex exploitation and the reported role of Tim Ballard in launching Operation Underground Railroad to fight against both  ... Newsweek is now reporting that the movie has already grossed over $85 million in ticket sales in its first two weeks since its release July 4th.

For our writeup and perspective on Sound of Freedom (and the story it shares), we invite you to read OPINION: Over 30 Million Reasons Why Child Sex Trafficking Must Be Stopped.

AND ... Four Other News Nuggets you Might have Missed from the First Half of July 2023

Last of all, there were several additional Utah-centric News Nuggets from the 1st to 15th of July that we wanted to also make sure hit your personal radar.


Thanks for taking a minute to review this midmonth summary of the Top Five money-related stories from Utah.

As always, if you have a tip or story idea about an organization, individual, product, service, program, or policy you think we should be looking into, please drop us a note at David.Politis@UtahMoneyWatch.com. Thanks.  DLP