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StartupBlink has launched the 2021 startup ecosystem index report that ranks 1,000 cities and 100 countries worldwide and is based on the results of an improved algorithm. The Startup Ecosystem Index Report 2021 by StartupBlink now tracks both momentum and trends within the startup ecosystem from 2017 onwards. It also has new sections on City Ecosystems in Unranked Countries, a Top Island Cities Ranking, Analysis by Sub Score, Analysis by Population, and even a ranking based on special entities such as Unicorns and Pantheons.

The algorithm analyses tens of thousands of data points on registered startups, accelerators and coworking spaces listed on the StartupBlink global startup ecosystem map, as well as data received from our global partners such as Crunchbase, and SimilarWeb. Ultimately, StartupBlink leverage data gathered from more than 50,000 members throughout the Global StartupBlink community.

The main goal of the rankings is to feature and rank hundreds of ecosystems rather than highlighting a few highly successful ecosystems that are already well known. The used method also reveals trends at both the country and city level, identifies up and coming startup ecosystems, and flags underperforming ecosystems that are losing momentum.

The table below illustrates the Top startup ecosystem countries globally in the 2021 rankings as well as their change in the last years. If you want to get a better view of the key insights, please take a look at the key insights section in the Startup Ecosystem Index Report 2021 by StartupBlink.

Key Insights in 2021 (Top Ten Countries and Cities)

When compared with 2020, this year the top 5 countries have all maintained their rank from last year, however, there are several interesting insights.

Firstly, the United States maintains a massive lead over the 2nd ranked, the United Kingdom, showing a strong and dominant innovation scene across the 267 USA cities ranked in this report. 

Additionally, for the first time since 2017, it seems that Brexit does have some negative influence on the UK ecosystem. Another interesting development is a change in the group which we refer to as the “Big 4” Startup Ecosystems: the US, UK, Israel, and Canada.

Canada is still ranked 4th, but it is now much closer to the startup ecosystem of Germany at the 5th spot than to the UK and Israel. Therefore, we can now relabel the term our “Big 3” club, led by the US with a massive gap over both the UK and Israel.   

2021 has seen changes to the top 10 cities, with the top 5 this year being – San Francisco (1st), New York (2nd),  Beijing (3rd), Los Angeles (4th) and London (5th).

The top two startup ecosystems remain the same as they were last year: San Francisco and New York. San Francisco is the “supernova” of startup ecosystems, evidenced by its total score, which is almost 3 times higher than New York. However, this may eventually change. Like last year, New York deserves congratulations for building the 2nd strongest global startup ecosystem.

Beijing, now ranked 3rd after increasing 3 spots, is proof that the Chinese model of innovation is working. Ranked 4th globally is Los Angeles, a city which is becoming much more than an entertainment hub, and is now a truly robust global technological leader outranking ecosystems like London and Boston.

London, ranked 5th, is facing a challenging environment. Boston, ranked 6th, could not keep up with the excellent results of Beijing and Los Angeles, giving up 2 spots but still holding strong as a global leader. At 7th is an additional Chinese city, Shanghai, solidifying its position as a leading global hub and offering more proof of the outstanding growth rate of Chinese ecosystems. 

At 8th, Tel Aviv is an international ecosystem representing the startup nation of Israel. At 9th is Moscow, a powerful hub with outstanding talent, but a more domestically driven ecosystem, catering mainly to the massive Russian market, albeit with the potential to go global if the geopolitical situation allows. At 10th, after increasing 4 spots, is the splendid ecosystem of Bangalore, a hybrid model of an international hub which also enjoys the advantages of the massive local market in India.

Why is it important to rank and have a good startup ecosystem?

As StartupBlink CEO, Eli David, affirms, good startup ecosystems are fundamental. They create jobs, boost the economy, increase tax revenue, improve quality of life and urban innovation, and attract and retain talent. As an entrepreneur, location will greatly influence the chances your startup will succeed.

Knowing how well your ecosystem performs is also important. Corporations use these rankings to make decisions about future expansion, universities and consulting agencies use them for research, and governments and local development organization use them to gauge how well their programs are paying off. The efforts of governments, municipalities, and development organizations make a real difference. Knowing this information and measuring it mathematically without sugarcoating results helps track real progress and creates an urgency to encourage improvement.


To ensure that the rankings are as accurate and objective as possible, the index was based on quantifiable data. Most of the data used while generating the rankings were either accumulated on StartupBlink over the past 5 years or were sent by the ecosystem partners in cities around the world. Having a curated startup ecosystem map puts StartupBlink in a unique position to test and perfect the algorithm on vast sets of data. StartupBlink estimates that their core sample includes anywhere between 10%-20% of the total relevant entities in the global startup ecosystem, which provides robust reporting that they intend to continue improving over time.

StartupBlink also continues investing effort into improving the ranking algorithm. In 2021, they have added additional ingredients to the ranking algorithm, greatly improving the resolution and accuracy of the rankings. Their country rankings also partially take into account the size of the population to make sure expectations from countries with relatively low population in comparison to countries with larger populations are adjusted.

Their country and city rankings have a total score, which is the sum of 3 columns measuring the following: Quantity (how many?), Quality (How big of a “dent” are these startups creating?), and Business environment (how easy it is to do business in a given location based on technological infrastructure, bureaucracy, red tape, etc.)

Global Data and Local Ecosystem Partners

The StartupBlink startup ecosystem index was prepared with the help of two type partners: global data partners and local ecosystem partners. We are grateful to have this high-impact, global data organizations putting their faith in us, and giving us access to their data: SimilarWeb, a powerful market intelligence platform which enables deep analysis of websites; Crunchbase, a leader in startup-related data; and Coworker, the largest global database for coworking locations. The rankings were improved substantially due to the involvement of these enterprises. Other than that, we have dozens of startup ecosystem partners around the world that each shared an up to date status of pertinent ecosystems.

Press Mentions

Our ranking reports are downloaded by thousands of decision-makers and used by governments, universities, and corporations around the world to make strategic development decisions. Our global startup ecosystem map and index are constantly mentioned in leading global and national press publications. You can view the press mentions and read their articles here.

Download the Startup Ecosystem Index Report 2021 by StartupBlink

The Startup Ecosystem Index Report 2021 by StartupBlink can be downloaded via the following link. In the same page, the ranking tables appear, where you can switch between countries and cities rankings, and search for specific locations.

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