All posts by Ghers Fisman

How to Build a Startup Ecosystem

How to build a startup ecosystem? It is no easy task, but if done successfully it can be of huge benefit to an economy at local and national level for years to come. There is a good reason why local governments around the world have been increasing efforts to boost their local startup ecosystem, in order to make it an integral part of their wider economic development plans. At StartupBlink, we attempt to understand the impact of these ecosystems and global trends through our global map of startup ecosystems, detailing some of the best startup hubs in the world.

Best Startup Cities
A Global Map of Startup Ecosystems – StartupBlink

There are many components to building a thriving startup ecosystem, which include a combination of; entrepreneurs, accelerators, mentors, investors, government, educational institutions, corporations, and service providers.

To keep all of these components working in synergy, and to keep the ecosystem flourishing, the developers of the ecosystem have to apply strategies. Here are 5 strategies to help boost your startup ecosystem:

1. Evaluate the data of your ecosystem:

To build your ecosystem, you first have to understand where your ecosystem currently stands. Go to local events – You can find these on Meetup etc, open pitch nights (if they exist), speak to entrepreneurs and try to find out the challenges and difficulties they face.

You can also to see how your ecosystem ranks globally by downloading the Startup Ecosystem Rankings Report 2020. This report ranks 1,000 cities and 100 countries around the world, with insights on each ecosystem .

2. Provide better ease of doing business:

National and local governments would be wise to create better policies that are more startup friendly. This includes lowering taxes for startups, incentives, easing the registration process and creating startup visas to international entrepreneurs.

Local governments tend to be very careful with any move they make, and it makes sense for the most part. Their entire ecosystem is at stake. But inaction and over-bureaucracy are silent killers of ecosystems.

3. Ensure the ecosystem has hubs for networking:

For a startup ecosystem to thrive there has to be startup hubs, even at a micro level. This includes coworking chains, accelerators, and business conferences. This allows the community of startups to work together and flourish. While the ‘new normal’ due to the Coronavirus has been hindering this, startup resilience allows this to continue virtually.

Connecting with the community is something a startup can greatly leverage on. Not only to sell the startup’s respective product or service, but to find other resources to help the startup grow. This includes mentors, investors, partnership, or even just learning from other startup founders. An abundance of opportunity.

StartupBlink has an active startup community of around 35,000 members globally, and we help to keep them engaged by organizing weekly pitching events, monthly webinars, and curated startup events. If you wish to join your local city Meetup group, check our page here.

4. Boost the investment ecosystem:

For early-stage startup ecosystems, funding is very important to keep the ecosystem alive and running. If there is no abundance of investors at the early age of the ecosystem, the government has to take its place until they arrive. Especially for times of crisis, when running a startup is harder than it has ever been amid the virus, startup ecosystem developers have to support startup founders. To those startup founders having a difficult time here, you may find a grant suitable to you on this report.

5. Promote your ecosystem:

It is important to try your best to let the world know what makes your startup ecosystem special. This includes the talent or human resources your ecosystem has,what they are good at and what special projects they have done. Or it could include the universities in your city, what they specialize in –  whether business, R&D or any other vertical Lastly, let the world know of the ecosystem’s accomplishments, which may include startups in your city winning startup competitions or hackathons, or gaining impressive funding rounds.

Boosting a startup ecosystem is good news for both the private and public sector. The best startups in an ecosystem, which grow into  unicorns most likely come from a global startup hub, like Reddit from San Francisco, USA, or Glovo from Barcelona, Spain. This helps the public sector in economic growth due to job generation and taxes and it helps the private sector by attracting more investors, high quality talent and clients, a good knowledge base, and developing a good entrepreneurial culture.

Lead it or leave it

In conclusion, lead it or leave it. If you are in a relatively bad ecosystem and choose to stay, it makes sense to help develop it. Branding yourself as the leader of the ecosystem increases the visibility of your project. 

To learn more about Startup Ecosystem Development, feel free to attend the Startup Ecosystem Development Free Webinar. It will be led by StartupBlink’s CEO, Eli David this coming Thursday, July 30, 2020 at 1 pm and 6 pm London time. Sign up here.

As 2020 has been infamous for being an unprecedented year due to the Coronavirus, we also include insights to how well ecosystems have innovated toward the coronavirus, this was done in partnership with UNAIDS and Moscow Agency of Innovation, launching the Coronavirus Innovation Map and the Coronavirus Ranking Report 2020.

To learn more about how private sector companies can help the startup ecosystem grow, please check out StartupBlink’s City Partnership.

The best startup cities in south america: A guide

South America is a very interesting region, relatively homogeneous in culture and language. It is a very big market by itself, but it also has a very close relationship with both Mexico and the USA, as well as to Europe through its historic ties to Spain and Portugal. As with most developing markets, the region’s economies are highly dependent on raw materials. Nevertheless, very hopeful signs are appearing in ecosystems throughout the subcontinent, from Chile to Colombia. Half of the top-10 cities in the region for startups are in Brazil (including 2 in the Top-5). Colombia is the second most represented country, with 2 cities. In this article, we will present the 10 Best Startup cities in South America in 2020.

  1. São Paulo, Brazil
  2. Buenos Aires, Argentina
  3. Santiago, Chile
  4. Bogotá, Colombia
  5. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  6. Belo Horizonte, Brazil
  7. Lima, Perú
  8. Medellín, Colombia
  9. Curitiba, Brazil
  10.  Porto Alegre, Brazil

The Best Startup Cities in South America

Best Startup cities in South America

Nine South American countries represent the region in the Top-100 (including 4 in the Top-50). Seventy six ecosystems represent the region in the Top-1000 cities ranking, with 6 in the Top-100.

1. São Paulo, Brazil

São Paulo is a massive city of more than 12 million people and a tenth of Brazil’s GDP. In this context, it is becoming an increasingly important startup and innovation hub. Ranked 18th, it is the highest placed city from the Southern Hemisphere, beating Sydney by more than 10 spots. The quality of the startups born in the city has been outstanding, with 7 current unicorns – including Nubank and Quinto Andar – being headquartered in São Paulo.

2. Buenos Aires, Argentina

In recent years (and not so recent) Argentina’s economy has gone through turbulent times. Nevertheless, the country has managed to create one of the most exciting startup ecosystems of the region. Buenos Aires is the home of MercadoLibre, with a market cap higher than $50b is Latin America’s most successful tech company so far. The city is ranked as the 46th best startup city in the world, up two spots since last year’s ranking. 

3. Santiago, Chile

In recent years, Chile’s economy has been an overperformer in Latin America, relative to population. In the startup scene, the same is true, especially for its capital city, Santiago. Since the creation of Startup Chile by the Government, the country and its capital have seen its regional and global visibility soar, positioning themselves as one of the Best Startup cities in South America.

4. Bogotá, Colombia

Although ranked at the 4th South American city for startups, Bogotá had actually a bad year overall (dropping 25 spots to 77th). The country’s innovation ecosystem lacks regulation, and the consequences become visible when companies like Uber have to shut down, even if temporarily. It’s not all bad news though, as Rappi (Latin America’s delivery giant) received a $1b Series E funding from Softbank. This funding round makes Rappi one of the region’s most valuable startups.

5. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio de Janeiro, ranked 93rd in the world, is South America’s last city in the Top-100. The city lost 29 spots in the overall ranking, but it has many things to celebrate. Access to capital (previously concentrated in São Paulo) is becoming increasingly easy for entrepreneurs in the city, and the country-level efforts to diminish red tape and increase the ease of doing business are expected to benefit Rio in the long run.

6. Belo Horizonte

Belo Horizonte is Brazil’s 6th largest city, but it’s an overperforming up-and-coming hub when it comes to startups. Relatively close to São Paulo and Rio by Brazilian standards, the city offers entrepreneurs an infrastructure similar to those cities’, but has the advantage of being a more “livable city”: lower rent, safer, and less traffic (and pollution).

7. Lima, Perú

Perú had a good year in the rankings, increasing one spot, but Lima fell below the Top-100 cities. There is increasing support for the country and city to become tech and innovation hubs, with the creation of initiatives such as Startup Perú or Innovate Peru, so we expect future growth in this ecosystem. 

8. Medellín, Colombia

The second Colombian city in the rankings is increasingly popular for expats and digital nomads to work on their startups. This gives the city the potential of a real international boost to the local ecosystem. Although Medellín dropped 24 spots since the 2019 rankings, it’s very inspiring to see the development of a city which not long ago was one of the most violent in the world.

9. Curitiba, Brazil

Like most of the cities in the South American Region, Curitiba lost momentum in 2020. Even so, the city has earned a reputation for innovation at governance (it’s considered by some “the most innovative city in the world”), and it’s currently leveraging those strengths in order to develop a thriving startup ecosystem. In line with this, different players of the ecosystem signed the 20 Curitiba Innovation pacts for 2018, but these weren’t renovated for 2019. The city must persist on its initiatives for startups to achieve long term success.

10. Porto Alegre, Brazil

Porto Alegre is the smallest city by population in this list, and it ranks as the 200th best city in the world for startups (losing 28 spots from 2019). Although nationally the city was a late bloomer in the startup scene, it has had some successes (especially in e-commerce). The ecosystem’s proximity to Buenos Aires and Montevideo should be leveraged to further develop the ecosystem.

Rough Patch

Of the cities in this Top-10, only the 2 highest ranked (São Paulo and Buenos Aires) moved up in the global rankings this year. South American nations have realized that innovation is one of the best options to leave behind their overreliance on raw materials. But now it’s time to put those realizations into actions. Initiatives like Startup Chile are leading the way, but governments and other important players must back more efforts, and make it easier for entrepreneurs to do business, and even fail. This is the way forward to create true tech hubs in the region and strengthen their economies in the long term.


This list was compiled based on the results of Global Startup Ecosystem Rankings Report 2020 that ranked 1,000 cities and 100 countries worldwide. If your city was not included in this list yet but you want to find out the current status of your local startup ecosystem, download the Report for free here and start discovering.

Compiling the list for South America was made simple with the help of the PRO account, and our Ecosystem Partners

If you want to check Best Startup Cities in the Middle East, check this article.

THE BEST STARTUP CITIES IN THE MIDDLE EAST: A GUIDE

The Middle East is a very diverse region that has some of the most interesting startup cities in the world. Startup founders can benefit both from deep networks and highly technical workforces in very developed ecosystems like the Tel Aviv Area, or from well funded and very promising ecosystems like Riyadh. Half of the top-10 cities in the region are Israeli (4 in the Top-5), while the UAE is the second most represented country. This article presents the 10 highest-ranked Middle Eastern cities in 2020. North African cities are not included, as they appear in the Africa article.

  1. Tel Aviv Area, Israel
  2. Jerusalem, Israel
  3. Dubai, United Arab Emirates
  4. Haifa, Israel
  5. Beer Sheva, Israel
  6. Amman, Jordan
  7. Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
  8. Yokneam, Israel
  9. Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
  10. Tehran, Iran

The Best Startup Cities in the Middle East

To find out which cities are the best places to run a startup, StartupBlink has analyzed startup ecosystems in 1,000 cities and 100 countries to publish its annual Global Startup Ecosystem Rankings Report 2020.

Best startup cities in the Middle East

In the report, 9 Middle Eastern countries appear Top-100 (including 2 in the Top-50). As for the cities ranking, 19 regional ecosystems appear in the Top-1000, with only 3 in the Top-100.

1. Tel Aviv Area, Israel

The Tel Aviv area is the most important innovation hub of the “Startup Nation”, ranked 7th in the world (and 3rd outside the United States). This cluster hosts Israel’s top Technical University (the Weizmann Institute), has given birth to many high quality startups such as Waze and Wix, and is particularly strong in the Software & Data, Social & Leisure, and Fintech spaces. Tel Aviv has the honor of being the city in which more businesses are born per capita every year.

2. Jerusalem, Israel

Jerusalem is Israel’s second largest Metropolitan area in Israel, and home to the country’s top University. This, together with its closeness to Tel Aviv, makes it a really interesting and growing startup ecosystem. The city ranks 55th in the world, coming a long way since placing 115th in the 2017 report (58th in 2019), and is currently the home of two homegrown unicorns. 

3. Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Dubai, ranked the 99th best city for startups in the world, is the last Middle Eastern city (and the only one from outside of Israel) in our Top-100, for 2020. It offers founders a large pool of foreign talent, a high-income population, and a gateway to the Arab world. The city has good quantity and business scores, but still lags in quality, having produced no Unicorns or significant exits.

4. Haifa, Israel

Haifa, with its highly technical workforce, hosts development centers for many multinational companies, and its city officials are currently working in leveraging these assets with the goal of developing its startup ecosystem. It is the 143rd best startup city in the world.

5. Beer Sheva, Israel

Israel’s 4th startup hub, Beer Sheva is ranked 199th globally. A rising tech center in the country, it is currently building CyberSpark, a government-backed cyber innovation hub. The complex is expected to be the workplace of more than 40k people working on high-tech projects when finished in 2030.

6. Amman, Jordan

Amman (203rd) stands out as Jordan’s only city featured in our 2020 Global Ecosystem Report. The ecosystem benefits from the existence of a healthy number of startups and coworking spaces, as well as a relatively high business score for the region, but similar to Dubai, is yet to produce many high quality startups. 

7. Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

The first Saudi ecosystem in our rankings, Riyadh is the 281st best city for startups in the world. City and country expect to reap the rewards of the policies to incentivize entrepreneurship outlined in the Vision 2030 plan. With a very young population and deep pockets that have recently taken an interest in Venture Capital investing – the Public Investment Fund (PIF) has important stakes in Uber and Softbank’s Vision Fund, among others – Riyadh has the potential to become an important player in the region. 

8. Yokneam, Israel

With a population smaller than 30k, Yokneam is the smallest city in this list. Ranked 296th in the world, it is an inspiring case study of a small town, relatively far from other cities, that has received tax cuts and managed to use them in a cost-efficient way to create a strong hub. Mellanox Technologies (founded in Yokneam in 1999 and sold for just under $7b in 2019) is the biggest success so far, very impressive for such a small town.

9. Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Still relatively lowly ranked at 315th, the city made a significant leap in the rankings (188 spots) to become one of the best startup cities in the Middle East. Government support to the tech scene has been key to this significant improvement. The announcement of a $250m fund in late 2019 for investing in homegrown startups is proof of the continued efforts towards the development of this interesting ecosystem.

10. Tehran, Iran

Iran faces very complex geopolitical challenges, and Tehran doesn’t escape them. Tehran ranks 338th globally, but it’s very inspiring to see it standing its ground at the regional level. Country and city have enormous unleashed potential, but current difficulties make it close to impossible for them to improve.

Untapped potential

Half of the ecosystems in this ranking are Israeli cities. This clearly tells us that the country is a great example for ecosystems around the world. Nevertheless, as most Arab countries are bigger and wealthier, there’s the sense that untapped potential isn’t being seized. We see hopeful signs in countries like the UAE, that are leading development in a region with very few cities in the world’s Top-100.


This list was compiled based on the results of Global Startup Ecosystem Rankings Report 2020 that ranked 1,000 cities and 100 countries worldwide. If your city was not included in this list yet but you want to find out the current status of your local startup ecosystem, download the Report for free here and start discovering. Compiling the list for the Middle East was made simple with the help of the PRO account, and Ecosystem Partners

If you want to learn about the best startup cities in Asia , check out this article

THE BEST STARTUP CITIES IN ASIA: A GUIDE

Asia has many cities that can offer excellent conditions to startup founders, including massive growth markets, talent pools, and a low cost of living in many cases. The top ecosystems of the continent include some cities in developed nations, but mostly from highly-populated and fast-growing India and China (with 7 out of the top-10 ecosystems being from these two countries, including the top-4). In this article, we will present the 10 Best Startup Cities in Asia in 2020 (the scope includes cities from Central Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia and East Asia). Middle Eastern cities cities appear in the Middle East article.

  1. Beijing, China
  2. Shanghai, China
  3. Bangalore, India
  4. New Delhi, India
  5. Tokyo, Japan
  6. Seoul, South Korea
  7. Mumbai, India
  8. Singapore City, Singapore
  9. Shenzhen, China
  10. Hong Kong, China

The Best Startup Cities in Asia

To find out which cities are the best places to run a startup, StartupBlink has analyzed startup ecosystems in 1,000 cities and 100 countries to publish its annual Global Startup Ecosystem Rankings Report 2020.

Best Startup Cities in Asia

In the report, Asia continues to fare well, with 18 countries in our top-100 rankings, including 5 in the top-30 countries club. The most represented sub-region is Southeast Asia with 7 countries in the rankings, although only one city in the regional top-10.

1. Beijing, China

Beijing, as the Chinese capital, is the country and continent’s startup powerhouse. It ranks 6th globally, the city is the home of many high quality startups (more than 30 unicorns), including well-known names like Xiaomi and ByteDance (developers of TikTok). The city has an impressive talent pool, and benefits from its closeness to China’s center of power.

2. Shanghai, China

Shanghai is China’s most populated city, a very important market within the country, and  with Beijing one of only two Asian cities in the global Top-10 (ranked 10). The city’s startups overperform in the quality factor of our rankings, with more than 15 unicorns based there, and is home to a large variety of coworking spaces nurture new startups in the city. 

3. Bangalore, India

Many consider Bangalore to be India’s version of Silicon Valley. The city is home to one India’s oldest and most prestigious technical universities, the Indian Institute of Science. Ranked 14th globally, the city is home to a plethora of coworking spaces, and has nurtured five Unicorns. It is a particularly strong ecosystem in the Software & Data and Social & Leisure verticals.

4. New Delhi, India

India’s capital city is the 4th highest ranked startup ecosystem in Asia, and ranks just 15th globally, after climbing 3 spots since last year. As all Indian cities, it has a long way to go in the Business score factor, but the ecosystem quantity and quality is very good, having even two Unicorns. The clear top vertical of the city is Software & Data.

5. Tokyo, Japan

Ranked 16th globally (after decreasing two spots since 2019), Tokyo is the only Japanese city in our Top-100 ranking. The city (and country) stands out for the very high Business score it has, significantly better than the rest of the ecosystems in Asia’s Top-5. It’s currently the home of 3 Unicorns, and it has 6 Pantheons (the highest number in this list), including Softbank, Toshiba and Rakuten. 

6. Seoul, South Korea

Much like Tokyo, Seoul is a city that scores very high on the Business aspect, explaining its rank of 21st globally. This business climate has made it possible for very large corporate conglomerates to emerge (the Chaebol), and more recently has inspired many entrepreneurs to create their own startups, including 7 current unicorns. Government initiatives that incentivize entrepreneurship, combined with world-class engineers with world famous work ethic have also contributed to the success of the ecosystem. 

7. Mumbai, India

The 3rd and last Indian city in Asia’s Top-10, Mumbai is also India’s most populous city and commercial capital. The city is ranked as the world’s 22nd startup ecosystem, benefiting from a high concentration of Angel and VC investment. As is the case with the other highly ranked Indian cities, Mumbai scores highly on the Quantity front, while it has grown some quality startups including 3 current Unicorns.  

8. Singapore City, Singapore

Singapore City ranks 26th globally for its startup ecosystem, strongly leveraging its top notch Business climate (highest Business score on this list) and Quality of their startups (2 Unicorns in a relatively small ecosystem). The city also boasts a highly educated talent pool, low taxes and multiple government initiatives, and the dominating vertical is Fintech by far.

9. Shenzhen, China

Globally, Shenzhen ranks as the 33rd best startup ecosystem, and its business scene in general has benefited since the 1980s when it was chosen as the country’s first special economic zone. More recently, it has become the Chinese home of many multinational tech companies, and has developed as a hub for startups in the country, even nurturing global giants such as Tencent (parent company of WeChat) and Huawei.

10. Hong Kong, China

The most “Western” of Asia’s cities, Hong Kong has long been an important financial and business hub, as well as a gateway to China. It’s ranked in our report as the world’s 36th best startup ecosystem, with a very good Quality score (it has one Unicorn). Although the top vertical in the city is Software & Data, it also has a significant concentration of Fintech startups.

The Asian Giants

Of the top 10 startup cities in Asia, only half of them are capital cities. This gives a perspective on the relative importance China and India have on the region, the only 2 countries that have non-capitals on the list. Not surprisingly, these are two of the countries with the fastest-growing economies in the last 3 decades. Nevertheless, it’s worth mentioning that Southeast Asia is a very interesting subregion, with 5 cities in the Top-100 (although only Singapore City made it to the Asian Top-10).


This list was compiled based on the results of Global Startup Ecosystem Rankings Report 2020 that ranked 1,000 cities and 100 countries worldwide. If your city was not included in this list yet but you want to find out the current status of your local startup ecosystem, download the Report for free here and start discovering.

Compiling the list for Asia was made simple with the help of the PRO account, and our Ecosystem Partners

If you want to check Best Startup Cities in Europe, check this article.