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June 12, 2024 | Tom Ballard

Nashville is highest ranked Tennessee city in latest rankings from StartupBlink

Music City is #68 in the world. Next closest are Chattanooga (#247) and Memphis (#248). Knoxville ranks #334.

StartupBlink, a global entrepreneurial ecosystem map and research center, has released its annual Global Startup Ecosystem Index 2024.

The document features the latest research on the global start-up economy and showcases the rankings of 100 countries and 1,000 cities. The Index is released in partnership with more than 100 government and international organizations including the United Nations Development Programme and Siemens along with global data partners Crunchbase, Statista, and SEMRush.

The 364-page document, which is available for downloading at this link, is full of interesting information and insights.

“As we navigate through 2024, it is undeniably a challenging year for the global start-up ecosystem,” writes Elia David Rokah, Chief Executive Officer of StartupBlink. “The funding landscape has entered deeper into a ‘winter,’ signaling a significant tightening in capital availability for start-ups. This financial constriction coincides with heightened geopolitical tensions and a noticeable retreat from globalization. These factors collectively mark a stark departure from the previously more integrated global ecosystem, bringing us into an era characterized by distinct clusters and shaped by regional geopolitical dynamics.”

While the report looks at the world and trends in every country, our interest is in the United States. StartupBlink makes these observations:

  • The U.S has further solidified its position as the leading start-up nation, forming a league of its own. Between 2020 and 2022, the organization observed a trend of decreasing gaps with other contenders, but this trend halted in the last two years. In 2020, the U.S. led by five times the score of others, which decreased to 4.3 times in 2021 and 3.7 times in 2022. Since then, the lead has stabilized at almost four times. ­
  • The U.S. remains the most business-friendly country in the world, as indicated by its business environment score. ­
  • For the first time, the number of U.S. cities in the top 1,000 has fallen below 25 percent, consistent with the continuous annual decline. However, 16 new cities have joined the Index.
  • San Francisco outclasses all other start-up ecosystems worldwide, and New York remains the undisputed runner-up for another year.
  • Austin achieved the biggest jump among U.S. cities in the global top 40 by climbing four spots to rank among the world’s top 20 cities.
  • Wilmington, NC’s jump of 10 spots to #22 in the U.S. and 32 spots to #61 in the world was dubbed “truly remarkable.”
  • Nashville recovered from two years of negative momentum, during which it lost 21 spots globally. In the latest report, Music City climbed two spots to break into the country’s top 25 and rising another 16 spots globally to rank #68.

StartupBlink explains its methodology as follows:

To ensure that the rankings are as accurate as possible, we have based our algorithm on objective, quantifiable data that can be comparatively measured across regions, countries, and cities. We refrained from using subjective tools such as surveys and interviews, and instead utilized data that was either accumulated directly from the StartupBlink map or has arrived from integration with a reliable global data partner. We allow as few assumptions as possible regarding cause and effect and focus on one thing: measuring results. We avoid relying on any theoretical models assuming the causes of success for startup ecosystems. Our experience in ecosystem consulting shows that no two ecosystems are alike; policies and practices that are successful in one ecosystem can be disastrous in another. It should be noted that the Index does not measure urban innovation or implementation of advanced policies related to city development. Instead, it focuses on the output of entrepreneurial innovation developed in each location.

How did other nearby cities rank in the top 400?

  • Atlanta, GA (#29).
  • Raleigh-Durham, NC (#41).
  • Charlotte, NC (#78).
  • Tampa Bay, FL (#87).
  • Columbus, OH (#88).
  • Orlando, FL (#91).
  • Indianapolis, IN (#110).
  • Louisville, KY (#114).
  • Louis, MO (#115).
  • Cincinnati, OH (#118).
  • Richmond, VA (#142).
  • Lexington, KY (#150).
  • New Orleans, LA (#165).
  • Birmingham-Hoover, AL (#175).
  • Columbia, SC (#177).
  • Charleston, SC (#187).
  • Jacksonville, FL (#199).
  • Greenville, SC (#208).
  • Bentonville, AR (#215).
  • Chattanooga (#247).
  • Memphis (#248).
  • Virginia Beach, VA (#270).
  • Charlottesville, VA (#272).
  • Fort Myers, FL (#274).
  • Greensboro, NC (#278).
  • Little Rock, AR (#292).
  • Huntsville, AL (#321).
  • Knoxville (#334).
  • Gainesville, FL (#386).
  • Winston-Salem, NC (#387).

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