If You Build It, Will They Come?

The discussion surrounding what it takes to create an innovation hub / field of dreams, where entrepreneurs will flock and startups will be created and grow, has been ongoing within the innovation ecosystem.  We’ve written about it here and here.

The Kauffman Foundation recently published a paper comparing and ranking performance in U.S. metro locations, by startup density.  For this post, we’ll focus on the main question the report’s author was trying to answer:  “What metro areas saw the biggest increases or decreases in high-tech startup density?”

The chart below showing the top 20 metro locations by high-tech startup density, didn’t contain many surprises.  These locations have long been hubs for innovation.

As a long term investors, the chart below was of greater interest.  This shows the largest increases and decreases in startup density in the last twenty years.  This data makes us ask the following:

  • What are these cities doing well to attract entrepreneurs?  Why do they stay there?

  • What isn’t working?  Why are entrepreneurs leaving?

The report’s conclusions are quite interesting and some rather unexpected.  We encourage you to read the entire report, found here.  Later this week, we’ll take a look at whether these metros with the largest startup density are attracting venture capital investment.  Check back!