Top 10 U.S. Cities To Launch Your Startup In 2016

Access to capital, technical talent, affordable living and office space are all important factors to entrepreneurs looking to start their own business.

Access to capital, technical talent, affordable living and office space are all important factors to entrepreneurs looking to start their own business. The right mixture of these resources can create the perfect startup city haven.

To find the top ten startup cities in the United States, my team at ROKO Labs compared and weighted recent publicly available data for each of the above factors, in cities with a population over 500,000.

Here’s a look at 10 U.S. cities that made the cut.

 

#1: San Francisco, CA

The Bay Area is home to Silicon Valley, the tech capital of the world. San Francisco is famous for turning small startups into market giants, because of the large amount of investors.

  • Pros: Highest number of VC Private Placements in the U.S. over the last 12 months

  • Cons: Low number of schools in the city center and very high cost of living

 
Investment: Over the last 12 months, there were 594+ private placements to local startups and 520 investment firms.

Cost: A one bedroom (1 BR) apartment will cost $3,560 a month on average, and if you’re not working out of it, a single desk at a co-working space will cost you anywhere between $250 and $500 a month.

Talent: San Francisco State University is one of the only colleges in the area recognized as a top engineering school.

 

#2: New York, NY

The Big Apple is home to big dreamers and long standing enterprises with old money to start your next venture.

  • Pros: Largest number of investment firms of any U.S. city

  • Cons: High cost of living and co-working space

 
Investment: 1,050+ investment firms in the area

Cost: $3,400/month for a 1 BR apartment, $299 to $625 per month for 1 desk at a co-working space.

Talent: NYU, Cornell, Cooper Union, Columbia and Manhattan College.

 

#3: Boston, MA

While Boston is certainly not the largest city with around 650,000 people, the population booms each year when students resume studies at one of the city’s many schools.
 

  • Pros: Many top schools in the area with qualified talent

  • Cons: Small population

 
Investment: Over 250 venture capitalists, angels, and other investment firms.

Cost: $2,500/month for a 1 BR apartment, $375/month for 1 desk at a co-working space.

Talent: Boston University, Northeastern University, Suffolk University, Wentworth Institute of Technology, Massachusetts Institutes of Technology and Harvard University.

 

#4: Dallas, TX

Dallas is the first of many booming Texas cities.

  • Pros: Low price for co-working spaces

  • Cons: Low amount of venture capital investments

 
Investment: Dallas is the city with the most amount of investment firms in the state: over 130.

Cost: $1,220/month for a 1 BR apartment, $200/month for 1 desk at a co-working space.

Talent: Southern Methodist University and University of Texas at Dallas.

 

#5: Houston, TX

Many famous entrepreneurs hail from Houston such as Michael Dell and Jeff Bezos. Houston is the biggest Texas city on our list with 2.2M people.

  • Pros: Lowest price for co-working spaces

  • Cons: Low amount of investment firms for venture investment

 
Investment: 79 startup investment firms, 74 private placements over the last year.

Cost: $1,220/month for a 1 BR apartment, $175/month for 1 desk at a co-working space.

Talent: Rice University, University of Houston and University of Houston-Clear Lake.

 

#6: Chicago, IL

Smack dab in the midwest, Chicago is a sprawling city reaching far and wide in Northern Illinois, home to over 2.7M people.

  • Pros: Low cost of living, great talent

  • Cons: Moderate co-working space cost and available investment

 
Investment: 230 startup investment firms, 110 private placements over the last year.

Cost: $1,500/month for a 1 BR apartment, $432/month for 1 desk at a co-working space.

Talent: Illinois Institute of Technology, University of Illinois at Chicago and Northwestern University.

 

#7: Austin, TX

Everything’s bigger in Texas, and Austin is no exception as the third haven from the state to make our list. It’s also home to one of the largest tech conferences, SXSW.

  • Pros: Lowest cost for a 1 BR apartment

  • Cons: Higher prices for a co-working space

 
Investment: 85 startup investment firms, 125 private placements over the last year.

Cost: $1,190/month for a 1 BR apartment, $475/month for 1 desk at a co-working space.

Talent: Cockrell School of Engineering at the University of Texas.

 

#8: Los Angeles, CA

While LA might be known for the TV and movie industries, they’re not the only industry in town.

  • Pros: Good investment opportunity, large amount of available talent

  • Cons: Traffic, above average rent cost

 
Investment: 154 startup investment firms, 113 private placements over the last year.

Cost: $2,000/month for a 1 BR apartment, $443/month for 1 desk at a co-working space.

Talent: California State University, Loyola Marymount University, University of California Los Angeles, University of Southern California, California Institute of Technology.

 

#9: San Jose, CA

Known as the “unofficial” capital of Silicon Valley, San Jose is home to companies like Adobe, Ebay and Cisco.

  • Pros: Huge population and close access to #1 hub, San Francisco

  • Cons: High cost of living

 
Investment: 30+ startup investment firms, 67 private placements over the last year.

Cost: $2,240/month for a 1 BR apartment, $343/month for 1 desk at a co-working space.

Talent: San Jose State University.

 

#10: Portland, OR

Portland is a burgeoning location for entrepreneurs of many types – known for its “Hipster” culture, made satirically famous by Portlandia.

  • Pros: Opportunity to become part of a relatively new startup city

  • Cons: Least number of private placements

 

Investment: 38 startup investment firms, 35 private placements over the last year.

Cost: $1,440/month for a 1 BR apartment, $362/month for 1 desk at a co-working space.

Talent: Portland State University and the University of Portland.

 

We Choose… Texas!

With three startup havens – Dallas, Houston and Austin – consider the Alamo State for the home of your next venture. The state features low prices for living and workspaces, steady access to capital and a large pool of qualified talent.

To view the top 20 cities as well as the study’s methodology and data sources, click here.

 

This article has been edited and condensed.

Dima Rakovitsky is CEO and Founder of ROKO Labs, a New York-based mobile platform that allows you to get, understand and keep users. Dima has over 20 years of entrepreneurial and operations experience in the mobile, web and financial services industries. Connect with @rokolabs on Twitter.

 

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