Utah Tech Leaders Launch Start Foundation, Pluralsight CEO Aaron Skonnard Named Chairman

I really hope the Start Foundation can foster improvements in a variety of different areas, and help startups and entrepreneurs in Utah find long-term success.

Some of Utah’s most prominent leaders within the startup and tech community have come together to launch Start Foundation. The 501(c)(3) non-profit organization hopes to move Utah forward by stimulating collaboration amongst entrepreneurs, promoting diversity in tech, advocating for innovation, building relationships with startup communities around the world, developing branding and recruiting campaigns for the Beehive State’s tech ecosystem, and improving STEM education at the K-12 and university levels.

“I really hope that we can continue to foster a lot of the magic that’s been happening over the past few years here in Utah around the tech and startup scene,” said Pluralsight CEO, and newly-appointed Start Foundation chairman, Aaron Skonnard.

“A lot has changed. I think you’re seeing a lot more early-stage companies that are doing amazing things here within our state that need a broader community around them, and more branding and awareness outside of the state. I really hope the Start Foundation can foster improvements in a variety of different areas, and help startups and entrepreneurs in Utah find long-term success.”

The Start Foundation board currently reads like a who’s who of Utah tech, and we’re told there may be some upcoming announcements surrounding a couple more prominent additions to an already impressive group of community leaders.

“Most of these people get invited to be on boards of really significant companies with compensation and financial elements involved,” said Skonnard. “And they say no to those because they don’t have the time. Yet here we are saying, ‘Hey, this is Utah. Help this state by just giving a little bit of your time to this board and to the people in our community.’ Without question, everyone one of these people, who are all prominent individuals in the Utah tech scene, agreed to serve. Their support in this effort has been unbelievable.”

Alongside Skonnard, founding board members include Backcountry Group CEO Jill Layfield, Pelion Ventures Managing Director Blake Modersitzki, MaritzCX CEO Carine Clark, OATV Managing Director Bryce Roberts, Freshly Picked CEO Susan Petersen, Entrata CEO Dave Bateman, TodaysMama CEO Rachael Herrscher, HireVue CEO Mark Newman, SaltStack CEO Marc Chenn, Beehive Startups CEO Clint Betts, Holland & Hart Partner Matt Wells, and Tanner Managing Partner Kent Bowman.

In addition to its board, Start Foundation plans to collaborate and work closely with existing organizations, fellow non-profits, and the Beehive State’s broad startup and tech community in order to move Utah forward and continue to promote and focus on what makes this state such a unique place to live, work, and raise a family.

Visit StartFoundation.com to learn more about the board, some of the organization’s initiatives, and how you can get involved.

Published 11/23/2015

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