From the death of one of Utah's top inventors / technologists to an apparent new record set by Utah-HQ'd firms, we deliver our perspectives on each of the Top 8 Money Stories in Utah for second half of the month (August 16th through the 31st).
As you know, the second half of August is typically thought of as the laziest days of summer, the time when most American families visit the beach, hit amusement parks, travel, or generally kick-back and prepare for the coming school year and the beginning of fall.
But based upon what we saw business-wise in Utah from the 16th to the 31st of Augustin 2023, we say that was not the case this year — not by a long shot.
So ... outlined below, we present a rundown of what we believe were the Top 8 Money Stories in Utah for the 2nd Half of August.
We hope you agree.
P.S. Additionally, we've also included info about 11 separate, Utah-focused news items from that same time frame that we've not reported on previously that we feel worth noting here, something we've named "News Nuggets." Enjoy. DLP
Money Story No. 8: John Warnock, Utah Native and Co-Founder of Adobe, "Has Left the Building"
When it comes to industry luminaries, few native Utahns can match the global impact of John E. Warnock, Ph.D., Co-Founder and former CEO/Chairman of Adobe Systems.
Dr. Warnock passed away on Saturday, 19 August 2023. He was 82.
Our writeup / obituary can be found here: "Salt Lake City Native Son and Tech Industry O.G., John Warnock, Has Died at 82."
We saw Dr. Warnock's passing as Utah's 8th Most Important Money Story in the 2nd half of August 2023.
Money Story No. 7: Two VC Firms Bet $6.5 Million that Lehi-based Qualiti has Struck Gold with its QA Platform for Software Engineers
On the surface, the claim in the news release was fantastical: Lehi, Utah-based Qualiti has developed an AI-based platform for development engineers that allows engineering teams to "test any software product without human input."
I mean, it's unbelievable, right?!?!?!
And yet, two very experienced venture capital firms have just laid down $6.5 million in Seed Round funding to back Qualiti's very existence, something we document in "Lehi-based Qualiti Raises $6.5 Million in Seed Round Funding to Support Software Programmers and Developers Everywhere."
For Utah Money Watch, we see this emerging premise as Utah's 7th Most Important Money Story in the 2nd half of August 2023.
Money Story No. 6: FireFly Automatix — The New Product Story that Turned Into a "Unicorn" Prediction
Our subscribers and fans already know that we rarely publish a story about a new product or service, an unfortunate reality because few firms rise to the occasion and provide us with the context as to the financial import of such announcements.
However, this was not the case with Salt Lake City-based FireFly Automatix.
And the more we dug into the global marketplace for automated, EV-mowers across all industries — from golf courses to governmental needs and everything in between — the more we realized that FireFly's new self-driving, commercial-grade, AI-empowered EV-mower puts the company firmly on a path to hitting a valuation of over $1 billion by the end of 2026.
Our writeup — "The Case for FireFly Automatix Becoming Utah's Next "Unicorn," Courtesy of Artificial Intelligence, EVs, and Grass" — helps explain why we believe FireFly qualifies as Utah's 6th Most Important Money Story in the 2nd half of August 2023.
Money Story No. 5: Parks, Neighborhoods, and Roads Getting $40 Million in Salt Lake City
In "Salt Lake City Approves ~$40 Million in Improvements for City Parks and Neighborhoods," we examine the 34 road, neighborhood, and park projects that garnered budgetary approval by the Salt Lake City Council for the 2023/2024 fiscal year.
The breadth, depth and financial total of the nearly three dozen Capital Improvement projects given the thumbs-up by the City Council helped this news be tapped as Utah's 5th Most Important Money Story in the 2nd half of August 2023.
Money Story No. 4: Swig Enters the Franchising World and Sets Itself Up to Become a 2X+ Unicorn Before 2025
Lehi-based Swig announced in the second half of August that it has landed 12 partners, with total committments from them of launching 250 total Swig franchise units, the first franchised units for the quick serve, "Dirty Soda" pioneer.
In our second writeup and analysis on this news — "Mea Culpa: Updating my Story About Swig's Move Into Franchising and Its Coming Transition to Multi-Unicorn Status" — we dig into the story, and then explore what we believe will lead Swig to 2X+ Unicorn status before 2025.
Taken in combination, we feel this qualifies this news/info as Utah's 4th Most Important Money Story in the 2nd half of August 2023.
Money Story No. 3: Centerville-based TruGolf is About to Pull-off what few Firms have Done in 2023 — "Go Public" via a SPAC Merger
If all goes according to plan, Centerville-based TruGolf will become a publicly traded company in the fourth quarter of the year via a merger with a Special Purpose Acquisition Company named Deep Medicine Acquisition Corp.
As per our writeup/analysis — "Centerville-based TruGolf Continues Forward with its Plans for a SPAC Merger with Deep Medicine Acquisition Corp." — we think this SPAC Merger qualifies as Utah's 3rd Most Important Money Story in the 2nd half of August 2023.
Money Story No. 2: Murray-based Nursa Lands $80 Million Series B Round of Funding to Address the Massive Nursing Shortage Challenges
On the surface, the $80 million in Series B funding for Murray, Utah-based Nursa is a pretty big deal, especially given how tight significant VC funding rounds there have been so far in 2023.
And yet, it's the reality behind the headline — "Murray, Utah-based Nursa Raises $80 Million to Continue to Address the Nation's Nursing Shortage." — that leads us to select Nursa (and its mission) as Utah's 2nd Most Important Money Story in the 2nd half of August 2023.
AND ... the No. 1 Money Story of the 2nd Half of August 2023 ... 102 Utah-based Firms make the 2023 Inc. 5000 List
Few annual rankings have captured the attention of American business leaders to the extent the ranking published yearly by Inc. magazine as the Inc. 5000 List has.
And the fact that over 100 Utah-HQ'd firms made the ranking in 2023 as being amongst the 5,000 fastest-growing companies in the U.S. (as reported in "Is it a New Record? We Think so, as 102 Utah Firms Make the 2023 Inc. 5000 List."), made it an easy choice for us as the Number One Most Important Money Story in Utah for the 2nd half of August 2023.
So ... to all 102 Utah-based firms who made the list this year, plus the repeat honorees that have now made the list multiple times, we salute you — and wish you Bonne Chance for continued success and prosperity in the months and years ahead.
AND ... 11 Other News Nuggets you Might have Missed from the Second Half of August 2023
Last of all, there were several additional Utah-centric News Nuggets from the 16th to 31st of August that we wanted to also make sure hit your personal radar.
So ... not in any particular order, we give you 11 News Nuggets that we believe you will find useful news/information:
- Salt Lake City-based SentrX Animal Care has been acquired by France-based Dômes Pharma Group. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. SentrX manufactures eye and skin/wound care products for pets.
- A top 100 insurance brokerage headquartered in Fort Wayne, Indiana has entered the Utah marketplace via acquisition. According to its news release, 90-year-old Gibson has acquired Salt Lake City-based Brisk Advisors (formerly Insurance Network). Terms of the transaction were not released.
- For the first time, ground has now been broken on the first inland port outside of Salt Lake City, a "rural" inland port that sits on an 820-acre parcel of land just west of Cedar City, Utah in the northwest section of Iron County. Designated a UIPA Project Area by the Utah Inland Port Authority and known as Commerce Crossroads, this first rural inland port has already begun operations with its first tennant, RailSync (a transloading services company) offloading/onloading railcars and commercial trucks. For more info, you can check out the news release here.
- According to a recent news release published by American Fork, Utah-based American Battery Factory, ABF has raised "raised significant development capital in Series A funding" (although no financial details were disclosed). Investors included Lion Energy, FNA Group, and an unnamed "battery-cell equipment manufacturing company."
- Additionally, ABF separately announced that former U.S. Army Major General John S. Kem (Ret.) has been named as ABF's president. According to the company news release, Kem's 35-year Army career spanned numerous positions including commanding the Europe District and the Northwestern Division of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Among his command roles with the Army, Kem led $7 billion in design and construction projects in Afghanistan for Afghan police and Army facilities, as well as construction efforts in Europe and Africa for the Army and U.S. Air Force totaling over $1 billion.
- Aimee Daily, Ph.D. has been selected by Children's Miracle Network Hospitals as its new President and CEO, effective 1 November 2023. According to the company announcement, Dr. Daily joins CMN Hospitals from Memorial Health in central Illinois where she was SVP and Chief Transformation Officer. During its 40-year history, CMN Hospitals has raised over $8.5 billion in support of 170 children's hospitals. Dr. Daily is replacing Teri Nestel who is retiring after 32 years with CMN Hospitals, the last 3.5 years as its CEO and President.
- Brigadier General Daniel Boyack has been named by Utah Governor Spencer Cox as Adjutant General of the Utah National Guard effective immediately. In his new role, Brigadier General Boyack will have command of more than 7,000 soldiers, ~5,000 U.S. Army warfighters and ~2,000 U.S. Air Force personnel. According to the press release issued by the Governor's office, Brigadier General Boyack replaces Adjutant Major General Michael J. Turley who has stepped down from his role with the Utah National Guard and retired from the U.S. Army.
- Draper, Utah-based Pluralsight has named two new C-Level executives: Greg Ceccarelli as Chief Product Officer and Robert Petrocelli as Chief Technology Officer, respectively. According to the company news release, Ceccarelli was most recently Pluralsight's EVP and General Manager of Pluralsight Flow, the company's software delivery intelligence tool. Conversely, Petrocelli was most recently CTO of Intelerad.
- Park City, Utah-based Powered by MRP has appointed Brian Krzeminski as its Chief Technology Officer. According to the company news release, Powered by MRP is an aesthetics device company.
- Provo, Utah-based RevRoad has hired Jenney Rees as its Chief Operating Officer. According to its announcement, Rees joins RevRoad from the state of Utah's Department of Administrative Services where she served as its Executive Director.
- Salt Lake City-based Co-Diagnostics (NASDAQ:CODX) has tapped Ivory Chang as its Chief Regulatory Affairs Officer. According to the news release, Chang joins Co-Diagnostics after working for such notable diagnostics industry firms as Roche, Boston Scientific, BD Biosciences, Cepheid, and Thermo Fisher Scientific.
Thanks for taking a minute to review this summary of Utah's Top 8 Money Stories during the second half of August 2023.
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