The Startup Ecosystem Ranking report is back for a 2017 edition, and it’s shaking things up a little with its fresh list of the world’s top 20 startup ecosystems.
The report is produced by the Startup Genome project, a US-based organization whose mission is “increasing the success rate of startups and spreading this global revolution so every city participates in and benefits from the new economy through job creation and economic growth.”
Shanghai’s international outlook ties it to Singapore in terms of market reach.
The ecosystems featured on the list are largely unchanged from 2015’s report, with Silicon Valley still holding the number 1 spot and New York coming in second. The shakeup comes with the arrival of Beijing and Shanghai, two ecosystems that were absent from previous reports due to lack of data.
Startup Genome has now remedied that by giving Asia four spots in the top 20. Last time, the region was only represented by Singapore and Bangalore. However, as a result, Singapore got knocked off the top 10, down to 12th place, and Bangalore was pushed all the way down to number 20 (it came 15th before).
It wasn’t just the addition of the Chinese ecosystems that did it, though. Startup Genome explains its process in the report, which is worth reading to get a better idea of how the team measured and ranked each ecosystem.
Tallying the scores
The Chinese ecosystems scored high in terms of performance and funding – the performance metric measures overall startup valuations, exits, and early- and growth-stage success. Funding measures ease of access to investment and investor experience. Beijing and Shanghai had some of the highest scores in the list while Singapore and Bangalore scored quite low in that respect.
Beijing didn’t fare so well on market reach, which determines how easily startups can cross the borders of their ecosystem into other markets. This is likely connected to China’s insular mindset. Shanghai’s outlook is a little more international by nature, which is why it almost ties Singapore in terms of market reach. Bangalore doesn’t enjoy a great deal of cross-border mobility either.
Singapore performs dismally in startup experience but is world-first in talent.
For talent, the report examined access, cost, and quality. In an interesting twist on the 2015 report, Singapore scored top marks in that area – the only ecosystem on the list to do so, trailed by Silicon Valley. Does that mean that the city-state’s talent drought is over? Perhaps the government’s doubling down on subsidizing positions for high-skilled professionals and an increased interest by multinational companies setting up development centers helps paint a more optimistic picture. Things are more or less average in Beijing and Shanghai and a little more worrying in Bangalore.
Finally, there’s startup experience – the report breaks this down into team experience and ecosystem experience. The former involves founder experience in unicorn-level startups (companies with a valuation of more than US$1 billion), advisors with equity, and startups providing options to all their employees. The team says this indicates founders who know how to motivate and achieve goals using incentives and shows employees have a strong startup culture. The latter is measured by the number of exits above US$50 million dollars in the last 10 years.
When measured against these standards, Singapore performs dismally, scoring the lowest marks in the top 20. Bangalore is the second-worst performer, with Shanghai scoring in the average. Beijing is among the list’s top performers in that metric, second only to Silicon Valley.
The top 20
Here is the full list of the 20 best startup ecosystems in the world according to Startup Genome:
- Silicon Valley (unchanged)
- New York City (unchanged)
- London (up from #6)
- Beijing (new entry)
- Boston (down from #4)
- Tel Aviv (down from #5)
- Berlin (up from #9)
- Shanghai (new entry)
- Los Angeles (down from #3)
- Seattle (down from #8)
- Paris (unchanged)
- Singapore (down from #10)
- Austin (up from #14)
- Stockholm (new entry)
- Vancouver (up from #18)
- Toronto – greater Waterloo area (up from #17)
- Sydney (down from #16)
- Chicago (down from #7)
- Amsterdam (unchanged)
- Bangalore (down from #15)
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