Report: Dallas Makes List of Top-Ranked Global Startup Ecosystems for Second Straight Year

The 2021 Global Startup Ecosystem Report from Startup Genome and the Global Entrepreneurship Network notes that unicorns emerged for the first time last year in Dallas and five other global cities. Dallas tied for No. 31 overall on this year's global list, its same ranking as in 2020.

From Mumbai to Montevideo, Busan to Bern-Geneva, and Sao Paulo to Shenzhen, the global startup rankings are out once again. The 2021 Global Startup Ecosystem Report (GSER) from Startup Genome and the Global Entrepreneurship Network was released last week at London Tech Week, with Dallas ranking as a leading startup ecosystem for the second straight year.

Dallas ranked No. 31 overall—tying with Hong Kong, Munich, Montreal, and Sao Paulo—after debuting at the same No. 31 ranking in 2020. Austin came in this year at No. 20 overall, one notch below its No. 19 ranking last year.

You can download the full report here.

Dallas debuted on the GSER list last year

Dallas debuted on the GSER list last year assisted by its “above average market reach score.” On a 1 to 10 scale, Dallas scored a 10 in both “local market reach” and “market reach quality” on the 2020 report.

Dallas also earned a 10 in 2020 for “research knowledge.”

Dallas cited in 2021 for its ‘impressive growth’

On this year’s GSER report, Dallas is cited as having experienced “impressive growth,” along with two other ecosystems among the No. 31 to No. 40 “runners-up” list. The two others were Montreal and Delhi.

The report says Dallas, Montreal, and Delhi “have seen an increase in early-stage funding, positioning them to become top performers.”

Here’s how Dallas measured up on the 1 to 10 score ratings on this year’s list:

  • Market Reach: Once again, Dallas scored high in market reach with a 10 for size of its local market and quality of reach. 
  • Success Factors: On success factor performance, Dallas scored 5 for exits  (number of exits over $50 million and $1 billion, as well as growth in the number of exits), 2 for ecosystem value (the economic impact of the ecosystem, calculated as the total exit valuation and startup valuations over two-and-a-half-years), and 3 (the number of successful startups in an ecosystem, which includes metrics on early- and late-stage success, as well as speed to exit.)
  • Connectedness: Dallas scored 3 and 4 for local connectedness based on meetups in the regions and infrastructure. Infrastructure is a Life Sciences-focused metric that considers the number of accelerators and incubators, research grants, and R&D anchors (for example, top research hospitals and corporate R&D labs) in the ecosystem.
  • Funding: Dallas scored 1 for access and activity.
  • Talent: Dallas scored 4 for cost and quality of tech talent and 3 for access to life science talent.
  • Knowledge: Dallas scored high—earning a 10—for the impact of Life Sciences research production. Dallas ranked 4 for volume, complexity, and potential of Life Science patents generated in the ecosystem. Startup Genome notes the difference in up-and-coming ecosystems “likely indicates a focus by founders on business model innovation rather than on leveraging tangible IP production.”

Dallas was one of six cities to debut a unicorn in 2020

Dallas was one of six ecosystems to create at least one unicorn for the first time, noted Jonathan Ortmans, founder and president of the Global Entrepreneurship Network, in the report.

In April 2020, Dallas-based software company 09 Solutions earned unicorn status after a $100 million investment from private equity company KKR gave it a valuation of more than $1 billion.

In April 2021, Plano-based banking software firm Alkami Technology raised $180 million in its IPO, with a market capitalization surpassing $3 billion—more than tripling the definition of a billion-dollar unicorn deal.  

Dallas Innovates saw the unicorns coming. In March 2020, we wrote about why Dallas-Fort Worth is fertile ground for tech startups: Our region’s strength in diverse industry hotspots such as fintech, AI, and life sciences make it a seedbed for billion-dollar players to emerge.

The other cities on the GSER list who debuted unicorns in 2020 were Houston; Mexico City; Montevideo, Uruguay; Busan, South Korea; and Pune, India. The GSER report says 91 ecosystems worldwide created at least one unicorn in 2020.

Top 5 rankings hold fast

Despite a turbulent year worldwide amid a struggle toward pandemic recovery, the top 5 rankings on the list remained the same: Silicon Valley retains its No. 1 position, followed in order by New York City and London (tied for #2 as they were in 2020), Beijing, and Boston.

North America dominates

North America continued its solid hold over the global rankings, boasting 50 percent of the Top 30 global ecosystems. Asia followed with 27 percent and Europe with 17 percent.

The global startup economy is worth more than $3.8 trillion, the GSER report estimates. That surpasses the individual GDP of most G7 economies, the report says, not including the value of exits prior to 2018.

Get on the list.
Dallas Innovates, every day.

Sign up to keep your eye on what’s new and next in Dallas-Fort Worth, every day.

One quick signup, and you’re done.
View previous emails.

R E A D   N E X T