StartupBlink Blog

The Hardware & IoT startup industry accounts for 6% of startups and 4.3% of unicorns in our database. The industry has giants like DJI Innovations, Nikon, and AMD. The industry’s geographic footprint, particularly highlighted by the dominance of Asian cities such as Shenzhen, Beijing, Tokyo-Yokohama, and Taipei City in the top 10. This industry snapshot, framed against the backdrop of 295 countries ranked in 2023 compared to 311 in 2022, shows a trend of less, but more dominant ecosystems in the industry.

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Key Insights

Hardware & IoT Startup Industry Insights

In this section of the report, we discuss some of the key trends in the Hardware & IoT industry. The Pro version of the report gives deeper insights into these trends with elaborated charts.

The most Dominant Hardware & IoT Subindustries are Hardware, Consumer Electronics, and Manufacturing

The Hardware & IoT industry is led by three key subindustries: Hardware, Consumer Electronics, and Manufacturing, which together represent a significant portion of the startup activity within the sector. However, the industry is diverse, encompassing a total of 10 sub-industries, with Smart Home, Smart City, and Nanotechnology being among the smallest. Here are some insights on the subindustry level:

  • Barcelona is the 2nd ranked city when it comes to globally ranking ecosystems in Internet of Everything, surpassing London.
  • Stockholm is the 4th ranked ecosystem in Consumer Electronics, as the only European city in the subindustry’s global ranking.
  • For Manufacturing, Tokyo ranks 4th in the world as the top-ranked Asian city for the subindustry.

Our Pro members can access subindustry-level data.

In 2023, the Share of Hardware & IoT Startups reached its highest growth rate.

The share of Hardware & IoT startups has shown significant growth, increasing from 6.48% to 10.6% since 2020, marking the highest growth rate recorded in the period. This indicates a robust expansion within the sector, as tracked by StartupBlink’s regularly updated database.

Hardware & IoT Unicorns reached to 50 as of 2023

The Hardware & IoT industry has seen a remarkable increase in the number of unicorn startups, reaching a total of 50 in 2023. This includes twelve new unicorns emerging in 2023 alone, with the largest spike in unicorn creation occurring in 2022, when 21 new unicorns were recognized. 

From 2022 to 2023, Hardware & IoT Exits experienced a 400% increase.

Between 2022 and 2023, the Hardware & IoT sector experienced a significant rise in exits, with an increase of over 400%. This surge suggests a growing interest in acquisitions, mergers, and public listings within the industry, reflecting its maturity and appeal to investors. 

16% of StartupBlink Pantheon is arriving from the Hardware & IoT Industry

In 2023, 16% of the entities in StartupBlink’s Pantheon, a term used to describe the most influential and impactful stakeholders in the global startup ecosystem, were from the Hardware & IoT industry. This reveals the growing influence and importance of the sector in shaping technological advancements and industry standards. 

Hardware & IoT Startup Ecosystem Insights

In this section of the report, we discuss the top ecosystems in Hardware & IoT globally. The Pro version of the report gives deeper insights into the ecosystems, as well as offers an analysis of 5 regions for the industry: North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa, and Latin America & Caribbean.

1. San Francisco Bay, United States

San Francisco Bay solidifies its position as a leader in the Hardware & IoT industry, holding steadfast at the top rank with no changes from the previous year. San Francisco Bay Area sits in its league with a 2.6 times greater score compared to Shenzhen.

Hardware & IoT Startup Industry

2. Shenzhen, China

Shenzhen rises to the second spot, marking China’s dominance in the Hardware & IoT sector. This move up, with a significant 14 positions higher than its overall global rank, highlights Shenzhen’s promise in the Hardware & IoT industry.

3. Beijing, China

Beijing slightly falls to third place, yet remains a top player in the Hardware & IoT industry. This minor drop reflects subtle shifts within a highly competitive global scene but does little to diminish Beijing’s overall strong performance and influence.

4. Los Angeles Area, United States

The Los Angeles Area climbs five spots to rank fourth. This significant rise indicates a booming Hardware & IoT ecosystem within the region, matching its overall rank and signaling rapid development and investment in tech innovation.

5. New York, United States

New York, despite a slight decline of one position to fifth, continues to be a major hub for Hardware & IoT startups. This slight drop and a three-position disparity from its overall rank suggest competitive challenges yet confirm its enduring significance in the tech industry.

Hardware & IoT Startup Industry

6. Shanghai, China

Shanghai ascends two places to rank sixth, reflecting its strengthening position in the Hardware & IoT sector. With only a one-position difference from its overall global rank, Shanghai’s advancement showcases China’s broadening influence and innovation in technology.

7. Toky-Yokohama Area, Japan

The Tokyo-Yokohama Area’s slight descent by one spot to seventh place indicates minimal adjustments in its global Hardware & IoT ecosystem stance. However, being seven positions higher than its overall rank demonstrates the area’s strong and distinct impact in the industry. 

8. Boston Area, United States

Boston, experiencing a drop of two positions to eighth, indicates slight shifts within a highly competitive environment. The -3 difference from its overall rank points to the challenges faced in maintaining its pioneering role in the Hardware & IoT landscape.

9. Tel Aviv, Israel

Tel Aviv move up by one spot to ninth highlights Israel’s steady growth in the Hardware & IoT industry. The minimal difference of one position higher than its overall global rank underlines the region’s consistent innovation and significant contributions to the global tech ecosystem.

10. Taipei City, Taiwan

Taipei City, with a decrease of three spots to tenth, still excels remarkably in the Hardware & IoT industry, standing 36 positions higher compared to its overall global rank. This exceptional standing is largely attributed to the presence of global giants like TSMC, emphasizing Taipei’s critical role in the global tech arena.

hardware & IoT startup industry

Startup Insights

Top 10 Hardware & IoT Startups

As mentioned earlier, Hardware & IoT has 6% of startups in StartupBlink’s Database. We are ranking the most promising startups every quarter based on their funding amount, employee size, and traffic. You can browse more startups on our map and see where they rank within their industry, region, country, city, or on a global scale.

Top 10 Hardware & IoT Unicorns

The Hardware & IoT industry hosts 4.3% of unicorns in 2023. You can browse more unicorns on our database of unicorns and see where they rank within their industry, region, country, city, or on a global scale.

Top 10 Hardware & IoT Exits

The Hardware & IoT industry 2023 has more than 60 exits mapped that are valued above US$ 1 Billion. Here are the Top 10 Hardware & IoT Exits, but you can browse more on StartupBlink’s Exits Map.

Hardware & IoT Pantheon

The Startup Pantheon is a term coined by StartupBlink and includes organizations and companies from a variety of categories. Some of the pantheons are massive companies that used to be startups, like Microsoft and Apple, and others are cutting-edge initiatives that have produced positive changes for startups.  You can view all pantheon members mapped in the industry on the pantheon map, and filter by sub industry as well. The top members of Hardware & IoT Pantheon includes:

1. DJI Innovations

Shenzhen, China

DJI Innovations has contributed to the growth of the hardware industry by designing and manufacturing unmanned aerial vehicles and cameras, which have found applications in various industries such as filmmaking, agriculture, and conservation

Hardware & IoT


2. Fitbit

San Francisco,United States

Fitbit has made significant contributions to the industry by developing wearable fitness and activity trackers. These devices have played a key role in the popularization of personal health monitoring and the quantified self-movement

3. Texas Instruments

Dallas, United States

Texas Instruments has been a major player in the hardware industry, particularly in the semiconductor and integrated circuit industry. The company’s innovations have been critical in the development of various electronic devices, including calculators, microcontrollers, and digital signal processors

4. Nikon

Tokyo, Japan

Nikon is well-known for its cameras, lenses, and other optical instruments, which have been widely used in photography, videography, and various scientific and industrial applications.

5. AMD

Santa Clara, United States

AMD has been one of the major developers in the development of microprocessors, graphics processing units, and related technologies. The company’s innovations have significantly influenced the design and performance of personal computers, gaming consoles, and data centers.


6. Canon

Melville, United States

Canon has contributed to the hardware industry through its developments in imaging and optical products. The company is renowned for its cameras, camcorders, printers, and various other imaging devices, which have found widespread use in photography, videography, and printing applications

7. Nintendo

Kyoto, Japan

Nintendo has made significant contributions to the hardware industry through its innovations in the field of video game consoles and handheld gaming devices. The company’s gaming hardware, including the Nintendo Entertainment System, Game Boy, and Switch, has had a profound impact on the gaming industry and popular culture

8. Panasonic

Osaka, Japan

Panasonic has been a major player in the hardware industry, particularly in the development of consumer and industrial electronics. The company’s diverse range of products includes home appliances, audiovisual equipment, automotive electronics, and various other electronic devices, which have found widespread use globally.

9. Samsung

Seoul, South Korea

Samsung has been a key contributor to the hardware industry through its innovations in consumer electronics, semiconductors, and display technologies. The company’s diverse product portfolio includes smartphones, televisions, memory chips, and various other electronic devices, which have had a significant impact on the consumer electronics market

Hardware & IoT

10. Acer

New Taipei City, Taiwan

Acer has been a key player in the hardware industry, particularly in the development of personal computers, laptops, monitors, and other IT hardware products. The company’s innovations have contributed to the advancement of computing technology and the popularization of personal computing devices


We ensure accuracy in our rankings by relying on objective, quantifiable data instead of subjective tools like surveys. Our algorithm, based on data from the StartupBlink map and global data partners, minimizes assumptions and focuses on measurable results. Yearly improvements enhance algorithm accuracy, with momentum changes influenced not only by ecosystem achievements but also by these enhancements. 

The algorithm is refined using data from the StartupBlink Global Map, covering 10-15% of global startup entities. Scores are determined uniformly, but sample sizes vary by location and data source. To address low sample size issues, we collaborate with 100 Ecosystem Partners, offering government agencies complimentary administrative access to curate datasets. Rankings involving Unicorns and Exits consider startup valuations, applying filters to exclude government entities and corporate spin-offs.

The Methodology used in the 11 industry rankings, including Hardware & IoT, follows an algorithm aligned to that of the global rankings, but considering only industry-specific parameters and the business score.