I have mixed reactions to the Startup Genome Project’s new report analyzing the top 25 startup ecosystems in the world. On the one hand, it is nice to see Seattle make it on the list, ranking at a respectable 13th, ahead of Boston, Austin and Vancouver, B.C.
But at the same time, as many in the community know, there’s plenty of work to be done. After all, five or 10 years ago, I doubt New York City would have ranked in the top 10. It is now in second place, behind Silicon Valley.
New York certainly has a lot of momentum, from city officials to venture capitalists to the media. But, at the same time, I don’t think I’d trade Seattle’s technology community for New York’s.
As I’ve noted in the past, I am hard pressed to name one technology juggernaut that’s located in NYC. (Seattle, on the other hand, boasts Amazon.com, Microsoft, Expedia and branch offices of Silicon Valley giants such as Facebook, EMC and Google, not to mention one of the strongest video gaming ecosystems in the world).
Given those anchor tenants, it is somewhat surprising that the wealth generated via those companies has not recycled into the community in the form of venture capital or angel investing. During the fourth quarter of last year, just $88 million was invested in the state, the lowest total since the third quarter of 2003. (See story: “Ugh, this doesn’t look so good: Venture capital investing in Washington state plummets.”)
Call me old-school, but I am still of the belief that money matters. And even though it is far cheaper to start a software or Internet company today — given the rise of Amazon Web Services and other cheap infrastructure — venture capital still is the lifeblood of the next-generation of big tech companies.
Seattle needs more of it — not to mention big-swinging entrepreneurs — if the next Instagrams, Facebooks and Twitters are going to be born here. The Startup Genome Project actually laid a bit of a blueprint of what makes up Silicon Valley, New York and London, analyzing 22 defining characteristics that comprise the markets.
Here’s one of the tidbits that caught my eye:
“The Silicon Valley ecosystem has proportionally 22% more companies that make it to the scale stage than in NYC and 54% more than in London,” the report said. It also found that Silicon Valley companies raise two to three times as much capital in the first three-stages of development, the critical early stages when risk is the highest.
Despite a number of technology incubators, massive amounts of wealth and the efforts of angel funds such as Founder’s Co-op, Seattle just doesn’t have enough of it. But Seattle will need to figure this out if it wants to stay in the top 25.
Here are the top 25 cities, according to the Startup Genome.
- Silicon Valley (San Francisco, Palo Alto, San Jose, Oakland)
- New York City
- Tel Aviv
- Los Angeles
- Sao Paulo
- Washington D.C.
[Photo of sign via Bigstock]