Snap Inc., the creator of Snapchat, announced it will expand its operations to Utah. The company’s $1.8 million capital investment will add up to 50 jobs and $2.5 million in new state revenue.
In Oct. 2015, EDCUtah first reached out to Snap Inc. about expanding its operations to Utah. EDCUtah kept in contact with the company over the course of the next year. In Dec. 2016, EDCUtah met with Snap Inc. at their headquarters in Los Angeles. At that meeting, Snap executives expressed that while impressed with Utah, they would probably never consider the state for an expansion.
EDCUtah continued to work with Snap Inc. and invited them to attend a Sundance NEXT Fest event co-hosted with GOED in Los Angeles in Aug. 2017. At that meeting, the Snap team confirmed their interest in considering Utah for an R&D office and EDCUtah opened Project Deer. Three months later in Nov. 2017, EDCUtah arranged for Governor Gary Herbert to meet with the Snap team in Los Angeles. The following week, the GOED Board announced Project Deer as a win.
One of the factors for the Utah expansion was the desire of current Snap employees to return home to Utah. In Sept. 2014, Snap Inc. acquired Scan.me, a QR scanning and iBeacon startup founded by a team from BYU. The Provo-based employees relocated to Los Angeles after the acquisition, but continued to push Snap Inc. to expand into Utah because of the state’s quality of life.
Additional factors for Snap Inc. centered on availability of highly-technical talent and cost efficiency. EDCUtah highlighted the state’s young workforce, which is saturated with high-quality talent, especially in engineering. Snap Inc. will leverage this talent to break new ground in both camera technology and augmented reality. Snap Inc. was also impressed by Utah’s business-friendly environment and competitive costs. Ultimately, Snap chose Utah as the best place to invest in the future of their research and development operations.
Snap Inc. may earn up to 20 percent of the new state taxes they will pay over the 15-year life of the agreement in the form of a post-performance Economic Development Tax Increment Finance (EDTIF) tax credit rebate. As part of the contract with Snap Inc., the GOED Board of Directors has approved a post-performance tax credit rebate not to exceed $2,537,030. Each year as Snap Inc. meets the criteria in its contract with the state, it will earn a portion of the total tax credit rebate.