global startup ecosystem report 2021

Toronto jumps 4 spots in prestigious ranking of best cities for tech startups

Toronto-Waterloo has placed 14th in a newly-released global ranking of startup ecosystems, rising four spots from the previous year and marking the highest the ecosystem has ever ranked in the history of the report.

The 2021 Global Startup Ecosystem Report (GSER), created by Startup Genome and the Global Entrepreneurship Network, launched Wednesday at London Tech Week, and it includes analysis of 280 entrepreneurial innovation ecosystems and three million startups.

"Despite a turbulent year for many, the top five global startup ecosystems maintain their reign at the top, with Silicon Valley in the #1 position, followed by New York City and London tied for #2 for the second year in a row," reads the report. "Beijing and Boston follow at #4 and #5, respectively."

The rankings are largely dominated by North American ecosystems, with 50 per cent of the top 30 ecosystems coming from this region. Asia meanwhile has 27 per cent of the top performing ecosystems globally, while Europe has 17 per cent.

Toronto-Waterloo is the only Canadian ecosystem to place in the top 20, representing a major achievement for the corridor. The report cites rich and diverse talent pools, data sovereignty and data privacy as the reasons a startup should move to Toronto-Waterloo.

Overall, the global startup economy is worth over $3.8 trillion in Ecosystem Value, according to the report, which is more than the individual GDP of most G7 economies (not including the value of exits prior to 2018).

The report indicates that there are now 79 ecosystems generating over $4 billion in value, which is more than double the number identified in 2017.  

Here are the top 20 global startup ecosystems according to the GSER:

  1. Silicon Valley
  2. New York City
  3.  London (tied for #2)
  4. Beijing
  5. Boston 
  6. Los Angeles
  7. Tel Aviv
  8. Shanghai
  9. Tokyo
  10. Seattle
  11. Washington DC 
  12. Paris
  13. Amsterdam-Delta
  14. Toronto-Waterloo
  15. Chicago (tied for #14)
  16. Seoul 
  17. Stockholm
  18. Singapore
  19. Shenzhen
  20. Austin

"I am pleased to see Toronto-Waterloo rising rapidly in the ranking of the Top 30 ecosystems globally," said Yung Wu, CEO of MaRS Discovery District, in a statement.

"The last two years have presented harsh conditions for everyone, but the upward trajectory of the Toronto startup scene has been a bright spot," he continued. 

"With increases in the number of venture deals, IPOs and some of the biggest ever global investments in Canadian technology companies, everything is lined up for a very strong rebound and Canada's most vibrant startup scene is playing a major role."

Lead photo by

Jack Landau

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