When you think of a startup hub, you probably first think of Silicon Valley. And no wonder – the area has long been considered a leader in innovation, technology, and entrepreneurship. Located within a melting pot of academia, private enterprise, and government agencies, Silicon Valley is home to numerous Fortune 500 companies and thousands of startups. Plus, the area’s many angel investors and venture capitalists collectively account for more than 33% of all venture capital investment in the U.S.
But Silicon Valley isn’t the only area with a large concentration of startup or investment activity. Cities with positive business environments, easy access to resources, affordable office space, and top talent are located across the U.S. and the world.
- Boston: Home to MIT, Harvard, and other renowned institutions, Boston entrepreneurs are often talented college graduates and are more likely to hold a PhD than those in Silicon Valley. Leading the world in biotech startup activity, Boston is now seeing a rise in venture capital investments, including 16 companies that raised a total of $167 million in April. More than 50 accelerators, incubators, and startup support programs exist in the city, and several new VC firms recently launched, including Liberty Mutual Strategic Ventures and Underscore.VC.
- Seattle: According to JLL’s report of the top 15 cities with leasing activity in the tech space, Seattle ranks No. 2. The city is ranked No. 10 in Startup Genome’s 2017 Global Startup Ecosystem Report, which identifies talent and startup experience as two of the city’s key benefits. Both Amazon and Microsoft, as well as startups like DocuSign, Redfin, and PayScale, opened offices in the area.
- Chicago: Chicago’s diverse economy is its strength. Home to Fortune 500 companies in a wide range of industries, startups with a strong interest in the B2B, consumer web, and health tech industries have emerged to address the challenges these established companies face. PitchBook reported in 2016 that 45% of investments made into Chicago-based startups produced 10 times a return on investment, a higher return than Silicon Valley or New York. Chicago saw more than 175 companies raise more than $1.7 billion in funding in 2016 and had 55 exits.
- Austin: Austin topped the Kauffman Foundation’s list of the Top 25 Cities for Startup Activity 2016, with its startups growing by 81% and a startup density that puts it in the top 10 for the country. The city is a leader in areas such as its labor force, the net company creation rate, the speed of population growth, and creativity. Austin also has a rich entrepreneurial ecosystem, with the Austin Technology Incubator, the Techstars Austin accelerator, and the annual SXSW Conference and Festival. It also happens to be MicroVentures’ home base!
- Provo/Salt Lake City: Nicknamed “Silicon Slopes,” the Salt Lake City/Provo, Utah, area has seen an increase in startup activity. In fact, venture capital firms have invested $2.5 billion into Utah in the last three years. The area houses over 4,000 startups, and at least four have reached unicorn valuation (Pluralsight, Qualtrics, Domo, and InsideSales). With low taxes, inexpensive office space, business-friendly regulations, and a large pool of talent, Salt Lake City is often ranked a top location for tech startups.
Outside the U.S., London has consistently been ranked at the top of the charts for tech startups, with at least 4,300 tech startups and the fourth highest startup output in the world. Bangalore also boasts an impressive number of startups: 4,900 active startups with nearly $2.3 billion in investments in 2015. With a prime location between India and China, Singapore startups hold a large market reach potential and has beat Silicon Valley when it comes to talent. Stockholm has been named a “unicorn factory,” with companies like Spotify, Klarna, and King all seeing success. Tel Aviv is frequently named the top city for startups outside of the U.S. In 2016, the city saw exits worth $9.2 billion and 1,300 new startups are founded each year.
While Silicon Valley may have maintained its reign as the top location for startup visionaries and venture capitalists this year, it’s clear that more cities around the globe are developing their own unique ecosystems to encourage growth and inspire disruptive change. Subscribe to our blog to stay up to date on more startup news. Not a MicroVentures investor? Sign up today.