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Here’s where you’re many expected to incidentally run into a unicorn in a US

Jason Rowley is a try collateral and record contributor for Crunchbase News.

Where’s a best place to start a startup? It’s a long-lived and rather bullheaded doubt entrepreneurs adore to ask. And before we get your hopes up, we’ll start by observant there is no one right answer to this question. Like many in a universe of startups and try capital, it depends on a series of factors. But what we can tell is that networks matter.

Networking by a city

In network theory, there’s a judgment called “homophily,” a bent for identical people to bond with one another some-more frequently than dual or some-more separate individuals. The word “birds of a plume group together” is a common, elementary reason of what a tenure means. So, if an businessman wants their fledgling startup to join a unicorn bar — the tiny though flourishing series of private companies that strech a $1 billion private valuation prior to a sale, IPO or black passing — or only wants to get on a organisation financial footing, where is that many expected to happen?

Here, we’ll produce an answer to that doubt with a bit of a twist.

Finding a civil regions that give arise to a many startups, where many of a unicorns are located or where many of a companies with, say, $50 million or some-more in appropriation are located, is a bit too easy and it doesn’t produce quite engaging results. (Spoiler alert: a SF Bay Area ranks during a tip of a list for all three.)

Rather, we’re going to find a American civil regions with a highest rate of producing unicorns and well-capitalized startups. In other words, we’re going to take a series of unicorns and well-capitalized companies in a given segment and sequence it by a series of companies founded in a region.

Finding “the best” place to start a startup

We’re basing a research on a information set, extracted from Crunchbase, containing scarcely 33,500 companies from around a U.S. that were founded in or after 2003, a commencement of a Unicorn Era, according to Aileen Lee’s strange definition.

This information set excludes companies that are pronounced to have lifted rounds of financing before their initial dates (an occasional blunder in a information that introduces some-more noise). Because a concentration of a analysis are more “typical” software-driven product and services companies, a information set also excludes a series of capital-intensive business categories like energy, petrochemical estimate and extraction, pharmaceuticals, medical inclination and other life sciences companies.

We afterwards many-sided a information to find a series of companies founded in any civil segment given 2003 that accommodate a criteria. Of course, there are going to be some companies that have been left out, due to blank information about locations or initial years. But we’re looking during a amply vast series of companies to slight a domain of blunder caused by those omissions to a indicate of insignificance.

Finding where a unicorns are

We sourced a unicorn information from a Crunchbase Unicorn Leaderboard, focusing exclusively on those $1 billion or some-more companies that are currently handling and secretly held and those that have gone open or have been acquired. We counted a sum of 144 stream and exited unicorns in a U.S., and here are a tip 5 civil regions where they’re located:

  • SF Bay Area: home to 83 unicorns
  • New York City: home to 22 unicorns
  • Los Angeles: home to 8 unicorns
  • Boston Chicago (tied): any home to 5 unicorns
  • Salt Lake City: home to 4 unicorns

No surprises here. However, when we sequence a series of unicorns formed in any civil segment by a series of companies founded in that segment given 2003, we’re means to find a regions with a top superiority of unicorns in their startup populations.

This approach of responding a “where are all a unicorns?” doubt produces some engaging and astonishing results, that prominence smaller startup ecosystems.

Finding mature and well-capitalized startup ecosystems

Although looking during a placement of unicorn companies competence be fun, such an research is inherently singular in what it can tell us. Considering we found 144 companies valued during $1 billion or some-more in private rounds, a infancy of that are located in only one civil region, there isn’t a lot of other information to work with.

So let’s enhance a range a bit to demeanour during a startup ecosystems with a top suit of “well-capitalized” companies. In a map below, we arrangement those cities with a high ratio of well-capitalized companies relations to a region’s broader race of startups founded given 2003. But first, here’s how we chose what to include.

We chose $50 million in sum appropriation as a smallest threshold for being deliberate well-capitalized. On a association level, scarcely all are several years aged and have lifted during slightest dual rounds of outward funding, definition that they’re on a pretty fast trail toward an exit, IPO or self-sustained profitability.

On an ecosystem level, a comparatively vast series of companies with $50 million or some-more in appropriation signals that a civil segment has a series of investors peaceful to dedicate estimable collateral to a companies formed there. And even if a metro segment itself doesn’t have many investors, companies formed there are nonetheless means to attract try capital.

In sequence to serve revoke noise, we set a smallest series of companies founded in that civil segment given 2003. Here’s why: If in a final 14 years only 5 startups have been founded in a sold civil segment and only one has successfully captivated $50 million in try collateral funding, it competence be technically scold to contend that 20 percent of a companies in a segment are well-capitalized; however, a race distance is so tiny it doesn’t unequivocally matter. Being a whale in a pool with 4 minnows isn’t a good situation.

For a functions here, we’re looking during a race of well-capitalized companies in civil regions that have spawned 20 or some-more startups given 2003. This will exhibit even some-more cities with postulated startup ecosystems, rather than only a propitious few outward of a Bay Area that are home to billion-dollar companies.

Below, you’ll find a immobile design of this interactive map that shows a ratio of well-capitalized companies relations to a whole race of startups in a civil region. You can float over a dots to see a series of companies with some-more than $50 million in startup funding.

Here you’ll see that some smaller regions have a comparatively vast share of well-capitalized companies in their borders. Regions like Boise, IDAlexandria, VA, Florida’s “Space Coast,” and Charlotte, NC all review really agreeably to bigger startup hubs like a Bay Area and Boston. Places like New York City, Chicago and Salt Lake City — that all ranked rarely on prior measures, tumble toward a behind of a container here.


There is no ideal place to start a startup. Major hubs like San Francisco, New York and Boston — while colourful and supernatural in their prolongation of rarely valued companies — also are costly and swarming with entrepreneurs, all looking to build their startups into a subsequent billion-dollar businesses.

Smaller ecosystems, like Charlotte, Salt Lake City, Houston and others might be somewhat reduction costly and seem to have a aloft hit-rate than a Bay Area and NYC, though a fact stays that these are still smaller ponds stocked with fewer, smaller fish. The participation of a metaphorical whale is, if you’ll pardon a pun, mostly only a fluke.

To be clear, it’s substantially not a good thought to start a startup formed quite on a series of unicorns and other well-capitalized companies in a region. These companies are a product of a abounding and abounding ecosystem, not indispensably a cause. To join an already vast and colourful ecosystem, where a income and connectors come easier, or to minister to a expansion of a new one, is a choice entrepreneurs will have to make on their own.

Featured Image: Li-Anne Dias

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