What cities are leading the startup ecosystem?

Silicon Valley is of course the infamous home of tech – but where else in the world are thriving start-up ecosystems popping up?

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November 22, 2022

Even though Dream Factory was born and bred in London, it’s important to stay up-to-date on how startups are developing globally so we took a look at which cities are at the top of the leaderboard.

Currently, the United States of America leads with 8 of its cities within the top 20 worldwide for booming startup ecosystems. The United Kingdom, Israel, and Canada follow close behind to cement the top 4 slots.

Here are the top three:

1) San Francisco, United States of America

With close proximity to Silicon Valley, Stanford University, and over 7 decades of government funding, it’s no surprise that San Francisco continues to hold the top spot. Traditionally focused in tech, the three leading industries in San Francisco are e-commerce, EdTech, and Climate Tech.

In November 2022, it was reported that there were nearly 12,000. In a city with just over 800,000 people, that makes 1 startup per 66 people! (we love that math!)

Even though San Francisco is confidently leading the startup ecosystems, the last couple years – particularly due to the COVID-19 pandemic – spurred what some are calling a ‘tech exodus’. Hybrid working introduced a new era for tech startups with many companies setting up completely online, or in American cities with cheaper rent.

It will be interesting to see if San Francisco will keep its crown as king of startups.

2) New York City, United States of America

Coming in second place is the concrete jungle, where evidently a lot of startups’ dreams are made of: New York City.

As of November 2022, there were just over 15,500 startups in New York City, with a population just shy of 8.5 million. The top businesses range more diversely from e-commerce to FoodTech to marketing services.

It’s not surprising that New York ranks so highly as a startup. Its prestige and opportunities draw top-tier creatives and candidates all around the globe. Additionally, there are more than 100 incubators and accelerators providing a strong community of founders.

3) London, United Kingdom

Our home-sweet-home ranks #3 globally as a thriving startup ecosystem. There are currently just under 20,000 startups in London, with a population just under 9 million. Our top-performing industries are in fintech, social & leisure, and marketing services.

London not only lands in the top 3 of cities globally, but ranks first in Europe. It currently has 80 unicorn startups, also topping the leaderboard in Europe.

As a financial capital, London has a strong, well-developed venture capital market that founders are keen to tap into. Accessibility to funding and connections maintain London’s stance on the the leaderboard, often coming close to over-taking New York City. Several London tech startups are currently on track to end 2022 with record Venture Capital investment.

London also scores highly on account of its culturally diverse workforce with an additional 30% of its tech startups being led by women – definitely distinguishing itself from Silicon Valley with this metric.

Cities on the rise

While it’s not surprising that San Francisco, New York City, and London are leading the startup scene, cities in China, India, and Israel have also been rising in the ranks.

The Global Startup Ecosystem Index ranks Beijing and Shanghai as #6 and #7, respectively with Bangalore following in #8 and Tel Aviv in #9. Reports indicate China’s startup growth is actually slowing while India is on the rise, mainly in the tech industry.

Nov 4, 2022

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