StartupBlink Blog

When ranking the startup ecosystems of cities and countries, startup influencers are an important element. While the presence of successful companies influence a startup ecosystem, so do the actual people who have managed to build and create initiatives with a substantial impact. A city or country where many startup influencers choose to base themselves sends a clear signal of cutting edge growth, startup success, and quality of life.

Currently, StartupBlink’s Global Startup Ecosystem Map has 159 global startup influencers from all around the world. These leaders range from people that are in charge of giant companies to solo entrepreneurs with ideas that had a positive effect on their startup ecosystem.

What's inside the full report?​

The Full report is only available to StartupBlink PRO.

How do we choose the Global Startup Influencers?

So, how do we choose our influencers? We look for two things:

  • Success and proven track record: did they create something substantial that has a massive impact?
  • Global influence: does their influence go beyond a specific startup ecosystem, or is their name well known globally?  

Every year, we update the list of influencers in preparation for the Global Startup Ecosystem Index. This process is done internally, while also being discussed with a few ecosystem development advisors. If you wish to suggest the addition or removal of an influencer, feel free to contact us. The update includes a shifting of influencer tiers (as explained below), addition of new influencers, and the removal of influencers who are less relevant or that were involved in controversial activity. It should be noted that startups are all about disruption, daring, and sometimes the need to fake it until you make it. As such, only time can reveal who really made it and who faked it. 

Once we choose influencers, we categorize them into three tiers based on their level of impact. These tiers are aligned with the rankings of cities and countries where the influencers reside.

  • Gold Tier leaders such as Elon Musk, Richard Branson, and Mark Zuckerberg
  • Silver Tier leaders such as Jack Dorsey, Larry Page, and Eric Yuan
  • Bronze Tier leaders such as Fred Wilson, Yossi Vardi, and Derek Andersen

Global Startup Influencers in 2023

You can view all of the Influencers in the table below or by using our interactive map. Click on the top button of “Influencers and then feel free to choose between All InfluencersGlobal InfluencersRegional Influencers, and Community Leaders. You can also zoom in to your region to view influencers in a specific location.

Key Insights:

US Entrepreneurs are in a much better position to become influencers

The United States has 128  influencers, representing 80% of all influencers globally, mainly hailing from major cities such as San Francisco,  New York, and Austin. 

The fact that the US is home to the majority of the world’s influencers while having less than 4% of the global population is a clear indication of how the US is the global startup champion. The US has achieved this by starting early and becoming the first global leader in innovation. 

Other countries are not even close to catching up with the number of US influencers across all tiers, although the US dominance decreases moving into the Bronze Tier.

Female Influencers represent 9% of all global influencers

For 2023, female influencers represent only 9.43% of all global influencers.  Female influencers who have massive achievements hail from the US, Australia, and the UK.  One example of an inspiring global female influencer is the CEO of Canva, Melanie Perkins. A lack of incentives, and in some cases negative social norms, can prevent women from building their own startups; we are hoping that more and more women will find reasons to join in and build their startups. The full list of female leaders is available on the PRO Report.

San Francisco is the city of global influencers

The US dominance in the influencers list is mainly due to San Francisco’s success in hosting 66 global influencers, explaining why San Francisco is the supernova of global startup ecosystems. It is home to many startup influencers, such as LinkedIn’s co-founder Reid Hoffman; Open AI’s CEO Sam Altman; Coinbase’s CEO Brian Armstrong, and many more.

New York has the second-highest number of influencers, hosting 21 relevant individuals. Los Angeles and Austin follow, hosting 8 and 6 influencers respectively.  Non-US cities London hosting 5 influencers, followed by Beijing that has 2 influencers.

Do you think we’ve missed a global influencer? If so, please let us know. We would love to learn more about them and continue expanding our list with relevant people who deserve to be recognized. 

Would you like to dive deep into startup ecosystems as you read this report?

Download StartupBlink’s Global Startup Ecosystem Index

About Us:

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.

Our Partners: