Some of Utah’s most successful tech firms are also ‘the most connected,’ according to a new artificial intelligence ranking

(Al Hartmann | Tribune file photo) Folks networking at the 2018 Silicon Slopes Tech Summit at the Salt Lake Convention Center in January. The Canadian company Nudge.ai has released a new ranking of Utah’s “most connected” technology companies, based on an artificial-intelligence analysis of their networking and business relationships.

Networking and building relationships are key to growing just about any business and now a Canadian company has deployed artificial intelligence to see how some Utah technology firms are doing.

Nudge.ai, based in Toronto, has generated a list of the Salt Lake City area’s most connected and networked tech companies, drawn from a machine learning analysis of their communications through email and social media and other data.

Applying what it calls “relationship intelligence,” Nudge.ai then ranked area technology and startup firms based on the number of work relationships each of its employees had and the strength of those bonds, along with the number of different companies touched by those relationships.

Perhaps not surprisingly, at the top of the rankings are some of the state’s fastest growing technology and startup firms, such as Qualtrics, Workfront, Instructure, Vivint, Ancestry.com and Overstock.com.

Also highly placed are several of Utah’s so-called “unicorns,” as in, companies worth more than $1 billion, including Domo, Pluralsight and InsideSales.

“Relationships are the key factor to building a successful modern business,” Steve Woods, Nudge.ai’s co-founder and chief technology officer, said in a statement.

The Salt Lake City rankings, released Wednesday, was being offered as a community resource, the company said. Woods said it was “showcasing the companies that are most set up for success based on the strong networks of their employees.”

The apparent overlap between robust networking and company growth also speaks to the rise of Utah’s “Silicon Slopes” as a technology hub, where proximity among different companies fosters additional connections, relationships and innovation.

A spokeswoman for Utah Gov. Gary Herbert’s Office of Economic Development said Thursday the hundreds of tech firms that make up Silicon Slopes these days tend to be uniquely interconnected and mutually supportive.

“They all kind of have a common goal of promoting Utah and its great tech scene, because it also helps each of them individually,” said GOED’s Aimee Edwards. “Anytime you have that, it brings greater awareness and a greater energy.”

With 20,000 users, the Nudge.ai platform helps companies analyze their business relationships, applying artificial intelligence to data generated by widely used applications such as Gmail, Outlook and Twitter as well as sales tools including Outreach. The goal, of course, is to find and develop relationships that generate more sales.

Nudge.ai, founded in 2014, has posted similar rankings for the tech sectors in Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Vancouver and Atlanta. Its lists also provide profiles and contact information for executives at ranked companies.