The importance of depth in a tech startup ecosystem

Kauffman Foundation, SURGE, Blink, Global Entrepreneurship Network (Startup Genome), among others all offer individual rankings for the entrepreneurial ecosystems across various regions. Each includes a measure of the density of either high-growth companies or mature ones. The fact is both are important indicators that can also influence another metric — the quality and strength of the workforce.

Given that workers currently spend a median of 4.6 years at a given job (and for ages 25-34 only 3.2 years), in deciding to relocate for a specific opportunity, people often look at what their next jobs may may be within that market. A tipping point occurs for many growing ecosystems such as Chicago and Austin such that there are so many opportunities that attracting talent becomes easier and the population growth accelerates. These opportunities need not only be within startups but often include more mature businesses as well. The transference of work talent spills over in both directions and they catalyze each other.

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Building World-Class Startup Ecosystems by Focusing on Needs

Nashville Startup Hub

As the managing partner at Beta Boom, a high-touch seed fund that focuses on emerging tech hubs, I have had the great fortune to speak to scores of entrepreneurs, tech workers, investors, and civic leaders in over a dozen emerging startup ecosystems in the United States as well as in regions such as Indonesia, Uruguay, and Nigeria. Through these conversations and numerous visits, I noticed that some ecosystems that seem replete with resources fail to meet the needs of local startups while others with smaller communities and fewer programs have thriving, successful tech scenes.

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