Austin and Salt Lake City are, once again, Inc.'s No. 1 and No. 2 Surge Cities. Austin boasts the greatest density of high-growth companies and the highest rate of job creation of any city on this year's list. Salt Lake City ranks third for high-growth-company density and eighth for net business creation. What made them surge? Key recent developments in each city tell the story.
Austin: Twenty-nine companies move to Austin, a 70 percent surge from the previous year, even as the recession lingers elsewhere. Startups like Outdoor Voices would later join them, as Google, Facebook, Apple, and Amazon build large presences.
Salt Lake City: Omniture co-founder Josh James founds a new company, Domo, a year after selling Omniture to Adobe for $1.8 billion. James also helps popularize the phrase Silicon Slopes through his nonprofit of the same name, which hosts an annual tech conference and promotes Utah's startup community.
Austin: Capital Factory, founded by Joshua Baer in 2009 as an accelerator, partners with the Austin Chamber of Commerce to open a 22,000-square-foot co-working space downtown.
Salt Lake City: Software startups Pluralsight, Qualtrics, InsideSales.com, and, yes, Domo each raise a mega-round ($100 million or more), bringing total Utah venture funding for the year to more than double 2013's level.
Austin: Arrivals help push Austin's population past two million. The city ranks first among the 50 largest U.S. metro areas in net migration as a percentage of total population. It still would in 2018.
Salt Lake City: The Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute at the University of Utah opens Lassonde Studios, a 160,000-square-foot building billed as the first center of its kind; 400 student entrepreneurs can live and work there as theydevelop new companies.
Austin: Kendra Scott sells a large minority stake in her eponymous Austin-based jewelry brand to private equity firm Berkshire Partners, valuing the company at $1 billion; she joins the small cohort of women who lead unicorn companies.
Salt Lake City: SAP acquires customer-survey software company Qualtrics for $8 billion--days before its planned IPO--in what PitchBook calls the largest-ever acquisition of a VC-backed SaaS company.