Successful startups and unicorns often emerge from thriving startup ecosystems as these hubs offer a multitude of advantages, including access to investors, high-quality clients, potential co-founders and team members, reliable suppliers, and a vast knowledge base.
The ecosystem in which your startup operates matters. If you find yourself in an underperforming ecosystem that lacks the necessary resources and support, you are faced with a choice: either relocate to a more vibrant hub or take the lead in revitalizing and transforming your current ecosystem. In this article, we will explore the best cities for startups based on StartupBlink’s Global Startup Ecosystem Index 2023.
The Top 20 Cities for Startups in 2023
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The Top 10: San Francisco is the undisputed leader of the global startup ecosystem
- The global top 10 cities in the startup ecosystem rankings remained relatively stable, with Tel Aviv and Paris swapping positions.
- San Francisco continues to lead as the undisputed leader, maintaining a significant lead over second-ranked New York City.
- This year marks the first time that the gap between San Francisco and other cities has not narrowed down.
- New York City retains its second position, with a score gap that will be challenging for other cities to close.
- London, Los Angeles, Boston, and Beijing form a competitive group with relatively small score gaps between them.
- Shanghai, the second-ranked Chinese ecosystem, maintains its position at 7th globally but has a substantial gap from the leading cities.
- Bangalore, the top-ranked Indian ecosystem, holds the 8th position and shows the potential to catch up with Shanghai in the future.
- Tel Aviv slides down the rankings each year, while Paris continues to improve, climbing one spot annually since 2021.
- Tel Aviv holds the 10th position globally, with a score 17% higher than Berlin, which ranks 11th.
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11-50: Stockholm experienced the most substantial increase among the global top 30
- Berlin surpassed Seattle and secured the 11th position in the global city rankings.
- New Delhi maintained its position as the second-ranked Indian city at 13th globally.
- The Tokyo-Yokohama Area climbed to 14th place, its highest ranking since 2020, displacing Chicago to 15th place.
- Shenzhen showed remarkable progress by moving up 2 spots to 16th place, continuing its outstanding advancement of 24 spots since 2020. It is the only Chinese ecosystem in the global top 20 with positive momentum.
- Washington advanced 1 spot to 18th place, making it the only US city in the global top 20 with positive momentum.
- Stockholm experienced the most substantial increase among the global top 30, climbing 4 spots to 19th place and registering a 10-spot improvement since 2021. This increased the representation of European cities in the global top 20 from 3 to 4.
- Singapore City continued its impressive momentum with a 2-spot jump, surpassing Austin and San Diego. It has risen 6 spots since 2020 and now joins the world’s top 20 for the first time.
- The Toronto-Markham Area and Seoul both surpassed Mumbai with one spot improvements, ranking 23rd and 24th globally, respectively.
- Seoul reversed its negative momentum from the previous year, while the Toronto-Markham Area’s positive momentum continued for the second consecutive year.
- Mumbai experienced a significant downward movement, dropping 8 spots to 25th globally, resulting in a decrease in the number of Indian cities in the global top 20 to two.
- Jakarta demonstrated impressive progress, gaining 3 spots to join the global top 30 and achieving a total gain of 12 spots since 2020. Asian Pacific countries continue to maintain a strong presence in the top 30 cities.
- Munich showcased remarkable growth by jumping 5 spots to rank 34th, becoming the 5th highest-ranked EU city and highlighting its potential in the startup ecosystem.
- Guangzhou in China demonstrated remarkable advancement, climbing 6 spots to 45th globally, with a remarkable increase of 202 spots since 2020. China’s representation in the global top 50 increased from five to six.
- Taipei City, the capital of Taiwan, exhibited positive momentum with a one-spot improvement to rank 46th globally, solidifying its position in the competitive startup ecosystem rankings.
With the health checks on StartupBlink Pro, discover dozens of ranking parameters on thousands of cities and countries to learn strengths and weaknesses in each ecosystem.
51-100: Lisbon shows the best improvement among European cities in the global top 100
- Nanjing, a Chinese city, has shown remarkable progress by climbing 88 spots to rank 69th globally since joining the Index in 2020. It has completed an impressive 896-spot climb since then.
- Lisbon achieved an impressive climb of 21 spots to rank 62nd globally, reaching its highest position ever in the Index. It also stands out as the best improvement among European cities in the global top 100.
- Istanbul, the capital of Türkiye, made a record 13-spot jump to rank 53rd, moving closer to the global top 50. This marks the highest jump the city has ever achieved in the Index.
- Bangkok demonstrated significant improvement by climbing 25 spots to rank 74th globally, reversing the negative momentum from the previous year.
- Tallinn made a notable return to the top 60 globally with a two-spot improvement, showcasing its ongoing progress.
- Manchester experienced a substantial decline, dropping 25 spots to 85th globally.
- Buenos Aires faced a decline of 19 spots to 75th globally, putting its position in the global top 80 at risk.
- Hamburg continued its negative trajectory with a decrease of 15 spots to 90th globally, marking a significant decline from its position at 47th in 2020.
- Chengdu recorded the most significant decline among top-ranked Chinese cities, dropping 19 spots to 97th globally.
- Brussels, the only representative from Belgium in the top 100, declined by 13 spots to 72nd globally.
- Brisbane (98th), Warsaw (99th), and Orlando (100th) joined the global top 100, showcasing their growing presence and potential in the startup ecosystem rankings.
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101-200: Reykjavik, Aarhus, and Oulu had substantial jumps of more than 60 spots
- New Haven, Madison, Indianapolis, and Cleveland showed significant improvements in their rankings, indicating a positive momentum in these cities’ startup ecosystems.
- Reykjavik, Aarhus, and Oulu had substantial jumps of more than 60 spots, while Luxembourg City improved by 43 spots, Belgrade by 35 spots, and Budapest by 33 spots.
- Leeds dropped 74 spots, Birmingham declined by 40 spots, and Edinburgh declined by 21 spots.
- Cairo improved by 77 spots, Nairobi climbed 25 spots, and Cape Town reversed its decline with an 11-spot improvement.
- Hsinchu jumped 53 spots, Hanoi climbed 47 spots, and Changzhou had a massive leap of 228 spots. Riyadh jumped 98 spots, and Medellin climbed 35 spots.
201 and beyond: Victoria in Seychelles had the strongest momentum change
- Victoria in Seychelles had the strongest momentum change globally, climbing 592 spots to reach 232nd globally, demonstrating its remarkable progress in the global startup landscape.
- Gloucester jumped 520 spots to reach 314th globally, showing significant improvement in Europe.
- Colchester climbed 416 spots to reach 272nd globally, indicating positive momentum in the region.
- Tehran, Kuwait City, and Beirut reversed negative momentum and registered substantial increases in their rankings, signaling positive developments in the Middle East startup scene.
- Johor Bahru and Nashik skyrocketed 404 spots each, showcasing their remarkable rise in the Asia Pacific region.
- Caxias do Sul made a significant gain of 484 spots, reaching 553rd globally, representing its positive momentum in the Latin America and Caribbean region.
A Good Year for CAREC Region
- CAREC member cities in Central Asia had a strong year, indicating the region’s robust growth.
- Pakistani cities experienced significant growth, with Karachi jumping 56 spots to 235th globally and Lahore jumping 57 spots to 248th.
- Dushanbe in Tajikistan showed the highest positive momentum in the region, debuting in the global top 1,000 after a leap of 342 spots.
- Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, improved by 208 spots to 524th globally, making it the second non-Chinese city in the region to showcase remarkable progress.
- Almaty, a city in Kazakhstan, climbed 203 spots to 403rd globally, further contributing to the region’s positive trend.
- Several Chinese cities, including Nanchang, Quanzhou, Shijiazhuang, and Taiyuan, demonstrated significant improvements of over 200 spots each.
- Bishkek improved by 208 spots to reach 524th globally, highlighting its positive momentum in Central Asia.
The global startup ecosystem continues to evolve and showcases remarkable progress across various cities around the world. San Francisco further solidified its position as the leading hub with a significant lead over second-ranked New York City. Tel Aviv and Paris have been swapping positions, with Tel Aviv sliding down the rankings each year while Paris continues to improve.
European cities like Stockholm, Berlin, and Lisbon have shown significant improvements, and Asian cities like Shenzhen, Seoul, and Jakarta continue to climb in the rankings. The Middle East and African regions have also witnessed positive momentum, with cities like Tehran, Riyadh, and Victoria making notable gains.
To delve deeper into these insights and explore the rankings of other cities, we encourage you to download the full report. Gain access to analysis and valuable insights that can shape your understanding of the global startup ecosystem.
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StartupBlink is the world’s most comprehensive startup ecosystem map and research center, working with over 100 government entities worldwide. StartupBlink’s global startup ecosystem map has tens of thousands of registered startups, coworking spaces, and accelerators, creating a robust sample of innovation globally.