WASHINGTON, D.C.—Boston ranked first in an evaluation of which cities are best positioned to lead the digital economy, according to a new report examining the top 25 U.S. startup hubs.
The Innovation That Matters 2016 report, released by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, the Chamber’s FreeEnterprise.com, and 1776, builds out a one-of-a-kind index comparing key statistics in 25 cities to show how well they are turning capital into successful tech industries.
While the San Francisco Bay Area is the leader in total startup activity, Boston earned the top spot by having clear emphasis on next generation tech companies specializing in education, energy and healthcare industries; high quality of life ratings; and a welcoming regulatory environment for startup communities.
Boston has room for improvement in corporate engagement, according to a survey of local entrepreneurs. The city ranked 21 out of 24 cities for this question. Improving the connection between established companies and new upstarts will help the city stay competitive as its digital economy evolves.
To compile the report, researchers visited eight cities—Atlanta, Denver, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Raleigh-Durham, Salt Lake City, and Seattle—where they met with public and private sector leaders to develop specific recommendations for how cities can evolve their startup communities. Those anecdotal findings are paired with the results of the 25-city index that cross-referenced data sets focused on talent, capital, specialization, density, connectivity, and cultural statistics, along with a survey of more than 330 startup leaders.
“We built 1776 to help entrepreneurs succeed wherever they live, but they need a strong base of support in their communities,” said Donna Harris, cofounder & co-CEO of 1776. “Our research over the past year shows how cities can build that infrastructure and draw on national networks to support not only startups, but the innovative companies that have always powered their regions.”
Innovation That Matters 2016 builds on research outlined in the first Innovation That Matters report, released last year, which shared guidelines for developing startup ecosystems around highly regulated industries. Together, these reports can help guide civic leaders in creating the kinds of connected communities necessary for startups to exist and thrive.
“Chambers of commerce exist to help businesses grow and navigate the changing economy,” said Tom Collamore, senior vice president of communications and strategy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “The insights gained from this research will help guide entrepreneurs and established industries as they work together to create the next generation of great American businesses. Our findings underscore the importance of collaboration among the startup community with corporations, universities, foundations, and local government to be economically competitive.”
The report includes never-before-released Mattermark data on initial public offerings and acquisitions. This data helped researchers measure where investments are translating into successful companies. The Bay Area, New York City and Los Angeles led in total number of acquisitions from 2011 – 2016 Q1.