Utah’s Cotopaxi among first funded by AOL founder

SALT LAKE CITY — In a confluence of efforts centered on social consciousness, Utah gear company Cotopaxi is among the first companies to receive funding from Rise of the Rest.

Rise of the Rest is an investment effort — launched by billionaire AOL founder Steve Case and “Hillbilly Elegy” author J.D. Vance — aimed at discovering and supporting innovation companies outside Silicon Valley and East Coast tech epicenters.

The fiscal infusion, announced Friday, will help Cotopaxi expand its branded brick-and-mortar stores in select U.S. cities, with a Utah store slated to open in Murray’s Fashion Place mall, adding to the company’s original, and only, retail space in downtown’s City Creek Center.

Cotopaxi CEO Davis Smith said he connected with Case last summer during a Rise of the Rest tour stop in Utah, and it became clear that Cotopaxi’s committment to giving back — the company commits 2 percent of its revenues to fund projects in the developing world — was simpatico with the goal of Rise of the Rest to seek out and fund startups in rural and out-of-the-way U.S. locales.

“(Case’s) vision is that a lot of the innovation that will be coming out of the U.S. will not be out of Silicon Valley or New York or Boston but the rest of the country,” Smith said. “Places that are ignored. I think he really connected with what we’re shooting for with a Utah brand that’s looking beyond ourselves. It’s a great fit.”

The Rise of the Rest mission statement has also resonated with a veritable all-star list of business titans with the likes of Jeff Bezos (Amazon), Eric Schmidt (Alphabet), Howard Schultz (Starbucks), Henry Kravis (KKR), Sara Blakely (Spanx) and numerous others tagging in as stakeholders. The New York Times characterized the backers of the $150 million startup fund — managed via another …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Business News

Photos: Governor’s Office of Economic Development promotes tech industry at Capitol

Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox joined key tech industry leaders and legislators at the Capitol for Tech Day on the Hill. Discussion topics included industry challenges, job creation and opportunities.

According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, Utah had the greatest percentage of tech job growth in the nation in 2016 at 7.7 percent. Careers in software and information technology represent more than 73,000 jobs among more than 4,000 companies, according to the bureau.

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Source:: Deseret News – Business News

UDOT smart vehicle network lays groundwork for transportation’s future

TAYLORSVILLE — UTA bus passengers who regularly travel routes along Redwood Road in Salt Lake County may find their commute times sticking much closer to the schedule thanks to some very high-tech gadgetry that’s just been brought online.

The Utah Department of Transportation showcased its connected/autonomous vehicle network, the first operational network of its kind in the nation, to visiting transit leaders and local media Wednesday. And while improving transit vehicle efficiency may not sound like something out of the Jetsons, the technology driving the system is likely a foreshadowing of how a driverless future might work.

“Right now, the CAV system will help move transit vehicles through this corridor more efficiently,” said Blaine Leonard, UDOT technology and innovation engineer. “But there are all kinds of future applications and uses for this two-way communication and monitoring system.”

Radio transponders installed at 24 intersections along 11 miles of Redwood Road between 400 South and 8020 South communicate with buses, also equipped with radio equipment, about the vehicle’s speed, direction and lane location. Software that coordinates processing that information “sees” the bus, calculates whether it’s on-schedule or otherwise and, if necessary, can help move the bus through the next intersection by slightly increasing the length of the greenlight phase.

Other data gathered by UDOT, like the volume of vehicles moving along Redwood as well as other routes that feed into and impact traffic in the corridor gets rolled into the calculations performed by the Multi-Modal Intelligent Traffic Sign Systems software. This brain behind the system, developed by UDOT in partnership with the University of Arizona, is capable of communicating with other smart and networked vehicles.

Leonard noted he expects there may be some interest from autonomous vehicle developers to use the corridor for testing how emerging onboard driverless technology can interact with infrastructure data. That combination, Leonard …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Business News