Three Key Insights from #GSER2019

The 2019 Global Startup Ecosystem Report (GSER) is out today from Startup Genome. We are thrilled to produce #GSER2019 together with the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN), and release it at The Next Web conference in Amsterdam.

With primary input from over 10,000 founders around the world — and data on more than one million companies in 150 cities — the 2019 GSER is our biggest and broadest yet. In addition to profiles of dozens of startup ecosystems, we rank the top 30 ecosystems globally. And, for the first time, we have conducted a separate analysis of Life Sciences startup ecosystems.

We’re super excited to share this with you, whether you’re a new founder, a serial entrepreneur, an investor, a policymaker, an ecosystem builder, or anyone else interested in the health and vibrancy of startup ecosystems. So what can you learn from #GSER2019?

You don’t need to be in Silicon Valley to start and grow a successful company. Sure, Silicon Valley still tops our global ranking of startup ecosystems, but there are plenty of other places with fast-growing ecosystems that may offer a better fit for you and your startup. Starting an AI company? Why not consider Edmonton or Taipei City? Both are “Ecosystems to watch” in our AI analysis, offering strong resource environments and living standards.

Second-tier regions are not so second-tier anymore. Every country has a principal city, the center of economics (and often politics) that seems to suck up all the funding and talent. Other cities feel overshadowed, relegated to “second-tier” status not just globally but within their own country. We find that there are plenty of such places that are emerging from those shadows with strong startup ecosystems of their own.

Atlantic Canada, for example, is a global hub of ocean technology and offers greater Bang for the Buck for startups in our analysis. The Mid-East Region of Ireland, comprised of three counties surrounding Dublin, is no longer second fiddle to the capital. The region has globally-recognized strengths in Agtech & New Food, high quality of life, and one of the highest shares of female founders in the world. In South Korea, the southeastern metropolis of Busan is a top 15 ecosystem globally in Knowledge.

Not all sub-sectors offer the same opportunities. If you’re about to start a new Gaming company, you might reconsider. Early-stage funding in the sub-sector has been falling, as it has in Edtech and Adtech. Meanwhile, early-stage funding is pouring into areas such as Agtech & New Food and Advanced Manufacturing & Robotics (AMR).

Does this mean that if your expertise is mobile gaming you should abandon it and figure out how to parlay it into an Agtech startup? No, of course not. In fact, differential growth rates among sub-sectors may mean the opening of new opportunities in those that are now shrinking. That’s part of what entrepreneurs do, right? They arbitrage between different parts of the economy.

What the rapid growth of certain sub-sectors does mean is that they move through a lifecycle just like startups and startup ecosystems. Several years ago, in the wake of Angry Birds, gaming was hot. Today, not so much. But if you’re the founder of a new Gaming startup, be prepared for a tight funding landscape.

The full #GSER2019 is packed with more information than can be summarized here. You’ll find analysis of Life Sciences ecosystems, an overview of success (and failure) factors for individual startups, and profiles of scores of startup ecosystems all over the world.

Thank you to all the founders who carved out precious time to take our global survey. Thank you to our partners — GEN, Hello Tomorrow, Crunchbase, Dealroom, and Orb Intelligence. Thank you to our Members, without whom this report would not be possible. Thank you to the organizations in each ecosystem who assisted with research and survey promotion and interviews.

And, again, thank you to founders and startup executives everywhere for doing what you do: testing, persisting, enduring — and creating jobs and wealth for millions.

Let us know what you think!