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VC investing in Washington state doesn’t come near Silicon Valley, but there are other ways to analyze the data, including return on invested capital.  Photo via Shutterstock)

There’s no question that Silicon Valley is the epicenter of the venture capital universe. Between 2010 and 2017, venture capitalists poured $144 billion into San Francisco-Oakland companies, and another $52 billion into companies in nearby San Jose-Santa Clara-Sunnyvale.

That compares to just $11.6 billion in Seattle-Bellevue-Tacoma companies for the same period — one of the reasons GeekWire last week took a deep look at some of the issues facing the region’s startup ecosystem.

But raw capital invested is not the only way to measure a tech hub, and the folks over at PitchBook have compiled an interesting map showing another perspective. They’ve analyzed what happens to the capital after it is invested, ranking top startup cities by the returns that venture capitalists receive in each market, known as multiple on invested capital or MOIC. This is calculated by exit value — typically through acquisitions or IPOs — divided by total venture capital raised.

In other words, what cities punch above their weight?

Seattle certainly is one.

It ranks second in multiple on invested capital with a 5.9 times return, behind number one Chicago with 8.5 times return. San Francisco ranked sixth, with a 4.6 times return, and Silicon Valley ranked eighth with a 4.2 times return.

MOIC ranking via PitchBook. Click on chart for interactive version. 

What does the data mean?

Some have argued that the lack of venture capital, actually causes Seattle entrepreneurs to build better long-term companies: standouts like Concur (sold for $8.5 billion), Tableau (market value of $6.8 billion) and Zillow Group (market value of $10.8 billion).

This is a topic we’ve explored before, especially after New York venture capitalist dubbed Seattle a third tier startup city. Seattle area startup watcher Tren Griffin noted at the time that there’s “better funding discipline” and “fewer poseurs per capita” in the Seattle area.

We’ve also taken New York publications to task for some of their claims, including this piece I wrote last month titled: “Really, New York is the ‘official’ second headquarters of tech? In Seattle, we say not so fast.”

What do you think?

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