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Published on May 23, 2024
REPORT: San Francisco Still Dominates Global Startup Ecosystems; New York, Los Angeles & Boston Follow at a DistanceStock Rendering

San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, and Boston are leading lights on the map of global startup ecosystems, particularly when it comes to the burgeoning field of artificial intelligence. These cities are America's front runners in the tech race, according to a recent Visual Capitalist report that ranked the world's top startup hotspots. San Francisco sits atop th list overall, flaunting a development score of 90, while New York, Los Angeles, and Boston also make strong showings, with development scores of 76, 71, and 70, respectively. Beijing and Shanghai also made the top 5, behind New York.

Rank City Development Score Capital Raised Deal Count Exit Value
1 🇺🇸 San Francisco 90 $427.6B 19,898 $766.3B
2 🇺🇸 New York 76 $179.9B 13,594 $171.7B
3 🇨🇳 Beijing 76 $161.2B 8,835 $279.2B
4 🇨🇳 Shanghai 73 $130.3B 7,422 $186.8B
5 🇺🇸 Los Angeles 71 $144.6B 9,781 $181.4B
6 🇺🇸 Boston 70 $117.0B 6,044 $172.8B
7 🇬🇧 London 64 $99.0B 11,533 $71.9B
8 🇨🇳 Shenzhen 63 $46.4B 5,020 $66.3B
9 🇰🇷 Seoul 61 $31.1B 6,196 $71.0B
10 🇯🇵 Tokyo 60 $26.2B 5,590 $28.0B
11 🇨🇳 Hangzhou 59 $50.7B 3,361 $88.7B
12 🇺🇸 Washington D.C. 55 $43.7B 2,706 $28.2B
13 🇺🇸 Seattle 54 $31.7B 2,693 $35.6B
14 🇸🇬 Singapore 52 $45.7B 4,507 $38.0B
15 🇺🇸 San Diego 52 $33.5B 2,023 $44.7B
16 🇺🇸 Austin 52 $26.4B 2,636 $22.9B
17 🇨🇳 Guangzhou 52 $24.7B 1,700 $24.0B
18 🇮🇱 Tel Aviv 51 $21.0B 1,936 $32.2B
19 🇺🇸 Denver 51 $26.8B 2,489 $29.9B
20 🇩🇪 Berlin 50 $31.2B 2,469 $15.9B

The above data and ranking is from the Visual Capitalist.

In this landscape, San Francisco stands as a titan, a detail that's reinforced by its staggering $427.6 billion in capital raised over a six-year period. However, it's not just the dollars that are doing the talking. Silicon Valley's old guard and upstarts alike are choosing San Francisco as their ground zero. "An ecosystem such as SF's that has been built over the last 50-plus years doesn’t just die because of a pandemic for a few years," Mo Koyfman, founder of Shine Capital, told The Wall Street Journal in February 2024. Koyfman’s venture firm recently opened an office in the city, tapping into its tech stamina.

The pull of San Francisco has not only rebounded but has amplified in the realm of artificial intelligence, as companies like OpenAI and its competitors have amassed considerable real estate and venture funding within the city's limits. More than half of global venture funding for AI startups went to Bay Area companies last year, with OpenAI alone securing $10 billion from Microsoft, as per data obtained from a Crunchbase report. The napkin math is simple: Big numbers and big names continue to feed the virtuous cycle of innovation and investment.

New York remains a formidable presence in the startup ecosystem landscape with its respectable $179.9 billion in raised capital, a testament to the city's diverse and dynamic market. Meanwhile, Los Angeles and Boston are not too far behind, signalling their strength in the tech and startup spheres. While the AI revolution might be cascading from the West Coast, these cities are proving to be fertile grounds for innovation and commercial activity. "The valuation of the AI companies, and some of the revenue by the top end of the AI companies is driving that population migration," Clayton Bryan, a partner at 500 Global, said in a report by Crunchbase.

Despite the attractive pull of these coastal tech titans, challenges persist. Social crises and the high cost of living could serve as counterbalances to the allure of life in these tech hubs. However, the clustering of talent, capital, and cutting-edge research seems to be tipping the scales in favor of San Francisco and its East Coast cousins.