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Start-Up Tech Growth in Major Cities Across the U.S.

Data - June 2019

Start-Up Tech Growth in Major Cities Across the U.S.

This new analysis of tech start-up trends over the past decade reveals meteoric growth in tech start-ups in cities across the U.S., with some of the biggest increases occurring outside of traditional hubs.

by Jonathan Bowles, Eli Dvorkin, Naomi Sharp, and Charles Shaviro

Tags: start-up economic opportunity economic growth

This new analysis of tech start-up trends over the past decade reveals meteoric growth in tech start-ups in cities across the U.S., with some of the biggest increases occurring outside of traditional hubs.   

The Center for an Urban Future (CUF) conducted a detailed analysis of data from Crunchbase—a leading global database that tracks tech-enabled start-ups using a mix of public, private, and self-reported sources—showing that 13 hubs experienced at least a 200 percent increase in the number of start-ups between 2008 and 2018. While San Francisco and New York City experienced the fastest growth, numerous other cities shared in the growth.

Thirteen hubs experienced at least a 200 percent increase during this period. Philadelphia came in fourth, with its start-up base growing 308 percent from 194 to 757. Los Angeles was fifth, with a 279 percent increase. Other cities whose start-up growth came in above 200 percent include the Bay Area (278 percent, from 5,410 to 20,458 start-ups), Chicago (270 percent, from 908 to 3,359 start-ups), Washington, DC (235 percent, from 401to 1,344 start-ups), Seattle (225 percent, from 699 to 2,269 start-ups), Denver (224 percent, from 415 to 1,345 start-ups), Dallas (223 percent, from 400 to 1,293), Austin (221 percent, from 756 to 2,426), and the Greater Boston area (220 percent, from 1,285 to 4,111).

The analysis also shows that 15 hubs gained more than 1,000 new start-ups between 2008 and 2018. The San Francisco Bay area experienced the largest increase, gaining 15,408 start-ups, followed by New York City (9,878), and the city of San Francisco. They were followed by Los Angeles (5,245), Greater Boston (2,826), Chicago (2,451), Austin (1,670), Seattle (1,570), San Diego (1,261), and Atlanta (1,174).

These regions have captured a significant share of the growth occurring in the innovation economy—a set of industries fueled by technology, creativity, and invention that is driving much of the nation’s high-wage job gains.

How Brooklyn Stacks Up: Tech Hubs Ranked by Growth Rate Since 2008
 CityStart-ups in 2008Start-ups in 2018Start-ups Added, 2013–2018Growth
1San Francisco1,8519,6427,791421%
2Brooklyn2641,205941356%
3NYC3,21113,0899,878308%
4Philadelphia194757563290%
5Los Angeles1,8807,1255,245279%
6San Francisco Bay Area*5,41020,45815,048278%
7Chicago9083,3592,451270%
8Washington, DC4011,344943235%
9Seattle6992,2691,570225%
10Denver4151,345930224%
11Dallas4001,293893223%
12Austin7562,4261,670221%
13Greater Boston**1,2854,1112,826220%
14Atlanta6301,8041,174186%
15San Diego7021,9631,261180%
16San Antonio116296180155%
17Houston5671,409842149%