Tapping into the startup ecosystems throughout the country is critical to understanding what’s on the horizon for lean approaches and entrepreneurial mindsets. Recently our team dug into the Midwest startup ecosystem, including Minneapolis, Chicago, Cincinnati, Detroit, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, Columbus, and Cleveland, to pulse check on the state of our ecosystem. See below for a snapshot of each city’s unique value proposition, and download the report for a deep-dive into its history, value props, and success stories.
Download the full report.
Chicago is known for its tech presence, diverse economy, and female founders.
- Tech Hub: Chicago has invested in a strategy to continue to grow the tech scene. Currently, they rank 6th in the nation.
- Female-Founded: Chicago is the number one startup ecosystem for female founders and has the largest percentage of women-founded startups in the world. Chicago’s startups consist of 25% female founders, which is remarkable compared to the global average of 14.1%.
- Diverse Economy: Chicago is home to a diverse set of industries such as financial services, insurance, food and bev, consumer packaged goods, manufacturing, and more, acting as a healthy customer base for B2B tech companies.
Salesforce’s presence in Indianapolis has created major opportunities for startups.
- Emerging B2B Tech: In 2016, Forbes called Indianapolis an emerging tech hub on the move, while a 2017 New York Times feature noted that the city has steadily become a center for new technology, particularly B2B software.
Startups thrive in Cincinnati by leveraging partnerships with local BigCos.
- BigCo Presence: Cincinnati’s startup ecosystem, known as #StartupCincy, has found success largely through the connection of startups and BigCos. With corporations such as Procter & Gamble, Kroger, Fifth Third, GE, and Synchrony Financial calling Cincinnati home, there has been a successful intersection between BigCo resources and startup innovation.
Increased funding has catalyzed growth for startups in Columbus.
- VC Funding: Since 2013, Ohio-based venture capital funds have raised nearly $1 billion in new capital, and over 70 percent of those dollars were raised by Columbus-based investors. More VC funding is currently flowing through Ohio than at any point in the state’s history.
- Company Growth: Columbus has a 2.5% share of scale-ups, meaning 25 of every 1,000 businesses grow to employ 50 or more people in their first 10 years
- Finance & Insurance: Financial and insurance-related activities comprise the top sector of economic output in the Columbus Region. This is due to a concentration of 15 Fortune 1000 headquarters that include Huntington and Nationwide, as well as major operational centers for State Farm, Aetna, and JPMorgan Chase. Also home to emerging fintech and insurtech companies.
Cleveland’s history of manufacturing and healthcare offer B2B tech opportunities.
- B2B Technology: The city’s industrial history has pushed Cleveland’s technology sector toward B2B and big data startups.
- Healthcare: Cleveland is known around the world for excellence in healthcare, making it an obvious location for innovative hub for healthcare solutions and med-tech, including companies like CardioInsight, Explorys, and Cleveland Heart Lab.
- Resources: The city has several startup support resources to help with mentorship and scaling such as Jumpstart, Start in CLE, and BioMotiv.
Pivoting from steel and soot, Pittsburgh’s ecosystem leans on research and innovation.
- Research & Development: Pittsburgh’s world-class research and development centers (Learning Center, Westinghouse, iLab, etc.) create technology for startups who can find in-market applications to succeed. Specifically, this technology focuses on innovation in the following fields:
- Advanced Manufacturing & Robotics
- Financial & Business Services
- Healthcare & Life Sciences
- Information Technology
A strong talent pool and history with the auto industry enables Detroit’s startup ecosystem.
- Mobility: With 75 percent of the automobile industries R&D facilities located in Michigan, the city is uniquely positioned to lead the way for the future of mobility. With resources and startups dedicated to just that, the city is hoping for economic growth and stability.
- Engineer Talent: The state of Michigan has the highest density of engineers in the US —1,400 per 100,000 residents, according to EntryPoint. The city of Detroit itself is within a 100-mile radius of six of the top 20 engineering schools
- Entrepreneur Culture: Detroit prides itself with an attitude of grit and resilience, having to overcome many challenges.
Minneapolis differentiates its innovation through science.
- Life Sciences: Not all of the startup activity in Minneapolis is related to tech. There is a heavy Life Science bent, driving differentiation when it comes to innovation and entrepreneurship.
- Tech Salary: Although not well known as the best city when it comes to cost of living, Minnesota’s tech pay is almost twice as high as the average state wage, offering major appeal to talented tech professionals looking for a comfortable lifestyle.
- Strong Talent Pool: The population is among the highest educated of its counter cities, including many PhDs, professors, and live patents, resulting in an audience ripe for tackling entrepreneurship.
- Food/Bev BigCo Presence: Large companies like General Mills and Land o’ Lakes provide strong community backing, especially among local accelerators.
Download the full report.