Since early in his life and throughout his career, Jeff Burningham has been drawn to tackling big problems and building high-performing teams. He is a visionary leader who has spent his career peeking around corners to meet future challenges and maximize future opportunities.
While a student at BYU, Jeff founded his first tech start-up with a classmate. Together, they won an award for entrepreneurship and, in just two and a half years, built their technology company into a profitable enterprise with more than 20 employees. Not long after graduation, they sold to a NASDAQ-listed company where Jeff served as Executive Vice President for several years.
Following the successful exit from his first start-up, Jeff began investing in real estate. By 2006, he knew the housing bubble was unsustainable and pulled out of the real estate market before the bubble burst.
After the crash, Jeff took time to look ahead for emerging opportunities. He teamed up with two new partners to pursue his next big idea. Together, they invested in real estate during the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. The first years were lean and success was not guaranteed but, with skill and sheer grit, these young investors patiently shepherded their fledgling company through hard times to prosperity. Their firm, Peak Capital Partners, has now grown to include over 500 team members. Together, they have delivered affordable housing to tens of thousands of families.
Seeing new opportunities on Utah’s horizon, Jeff and his partners decided to reinvest and, with another young entrepreneur — and an eye to Utah’s future — established Utah County’s first institutional venture capital firm to begin investing in the cutting edge of tech innovation in the state. Knowing that adequate available capital was the missing piece in Utah’s economy-in-waiting, and having experienced first-hand the difficulty talented entrepreneurs face in obtaining capital, Jeff and his partners identified the most talented start-up teams with the most promising ideas and provided the funds they needed to get their new companies off the ground. In the decade since, Jeff and his partners at Peak Ventures have invested in nearly 50 start-ups along the Wasatch front, playing a key role in steadily building Utah’s economic engine.
With Jeff’s help, these start-ups have created nearly 5,000 new jobs, pumped hundreds of millions of dollars into our state’s economy, and helped put Utah on the map as a national tech and economic leader. What’s more, our state budget is now enjoying unprecedented surpluses thanks, in large part, to the success of Utah’s entrepreneurs and the robust start-up ecosystem that has been supported by firms like Jeff’s.
Today, Utah is changing rapidly. Housing prices are skyrocketing. Our transportation corridors are already clogged. Economically, we see a growing divide between “haves” and “have-nots”. To preserve our quality of life, to make sure our children can affordably stay in Utah after graduation, we need to act now. It’s time to elect a bold leader with the skill and the will to tackle today’s problems and pave the way for a bright future and increased opportunity for all.
Jeff’s track record of accomplishment speaks for itself. He is an experienced leader who has successfully rallied teams to navigate the perils and opportunities of dynamic innovation and hyper-growth over and over again.
Utah needs visionary leadership and a governor who can look down the road to help us address tomorrow’s problems today. With Jeff as Governor of Utah, we will make sure that, in 10 years, Utah is not simply still “the place,” but that it’s an even better place, with an improved quality of life, for us and our children.
Jeff grew up in Spokane, Washington, the oldest of 6 children in a middle class family. He caught the entrepreneurial bug in junior high when he started his own carpet-cleaning business in order to pay for basketball shoes, camps and travel tournaments. His parents were kind enough to purchase a carpet cleaner, and Jeff went to work convincing elementary schools, dentist offices, and anyone else he could find to let him clean their carpets. His promise: “I’ll do as good a job as anyone else, and I’ll do it for less.” He made good on his offer and successfully earned the money he needed to pursue his passion for basketball.
Jeff met his wife, Sally, at BYU and they have lived in Provo for over 20 years. With their four children, they enjoy wake-surfing at Pineview and Deer Creek, skiing in Utah’s beautiful mountains, playing pickleball and basketball, traveling, mountain biking, and enjoying all the outdoor recreation Utah has to offer.