“We went out to the Bay Area, competed against a bunch of Bay Area companies and were able to stand out.”

Traditionally, entities from Utah have not performed well in the Bay Area — this statement comes solely from last week’s Jazz-Warriors beatdown and also that time Baron Davis dunked on AK47 in the 2007 playoffs, which means it’s reasonable to make a completely general, overarching statement about the success and failure of Utah-related things in the Bay Area based on two basketball games nine years apart.

Thankfully for the Beehive State, Provo-based Whistic is here to buck this trend that may or may not be a trend. Represented by their three co-founders (Josh Mortensen, Andy Watanabe, Juan Rodriguez), Whistic was chosen as Best Enterprise Startup at Launch Festival 2016.

“We had an intro from a guy in the Bay Area, he introduced us to Jason Calacanis, the founder of Launch,” said Mortensen. “They were looking for a couple of companies to fill the remaining slots, so they recommended us. We thought, it’s in the Bay Area, it could be good for us to get in front of some potential customers and investors.”

So what does it all mean? First, it means Whistic stood out in a field of 250 startups and was recognized as a blossoming technology in the enterprise space. Second, it means Whistic can feel confident moving forward and transitioning out of beta mode into a market that is ready and excited for their vendor security risk platform. Third, it means Utah Jazz fans can finally rest easy knowing that all Utah-based ventures into California don’t have to end in failure.

“We went out to the Bay Area, competed against a bunch of Bay Area companies and were able to stand out,” said Mortensen. “We were really impressed with the other companies there. Even when we presented we were in a group of five companies and we didn’t get a lot of love. So we were pretty taken back by the fact that we won Best Enterprise Startup.”

Mortensen and Watanabe represented Whistic onstage for the final pitch, comparing the experience to playing sports — you might have nerves before the game, but once it begins and the blood starts flowing, instinct takes over.

“If you’ve practiced enough, muscle memory will take over and you’re fine,” said Watanabe.

Whistic is still in beta mode, but that time is nearing an end. They are already working with companies from Utah, U.K., and the Bay Area — Launch Festival has proved that more potential customers and investors are waiting in the wings. All that remains is business building, a process that Whistic plans on attacking with care and measure.

“We are in the agile camp,” said Watanabe. “We try to do things in smaller iterations, which lends itself more to that organic type of progress, making sure you’re not pushing forward artificially when you’re not ready to take the next step.”

Published 3/14/2016