When most people think of startup hubs, a few common places come to mind. Even the average non-tech enthusiast knows that Silicon Valley and New York City are startup hubs thanks to stories about Google and movies like The Social Network. And while these places are certainly at the heart of technology, plenty of new startup hubs are blossoming around the world.
1. Delhi, India
India is rapidly emerging as a major world startup hub. In a January 2011 article on five red-hot Indian tech startups, Memeburn notes that India has an advantage over China (another up-and-coming startup hub) in its relatively free, open economy. Additionally, 'its high percentage of English speakers and its highly educated new caste of IT whiz kids' make India the 'perfect breeding ground' for game-changing technology entrepreneurs.
2. Omaha, Nebraska
Few would list Nebraska as a startup hub, given that even the state's airports sell t-shirts emblazoned with the slogan 'We Got Nothin.' Yet in recent years, Omaha has become a hotbed of entrepreneurial activity. In fact, the city played host to two large events in the startup community. Each May, more than 500 entrepreneurs and investors gather in Omaha for Big Omaha, a two-day event featuring prominent entrepreneurs who have set awesome examples on both a national and even international scale. Startup Weekend also takes place in Omaha with the goal of, as NebraskaEntrepreneur.com explains, successfully launching a brand new business in 54 hours.
3. Shanghai, China
It tends to get downplayed here in America, but China has already made substantial contributions to the tech world. In Asia, Baidu is actually a more popular and widespread search engine than Google, and Tudou.com is China's rough equivalent to YouTube. China's only weakness as a startup hub, as Tudou co-founder Marc van der Chijs told TheNextWeb, may be that its companies are 'too focused on the Chinese market.' While American startups often try to spread their products around the globe, many Chinese startups are content to corner the local markets alone.
4. Chicago, Illinois
The Windy City has slowly but surely begun developing a startup-friendly business climate. Per ReadWriteWeb:
"Though the city is often passed over for Silicon Valley and New York in terms of startup cultures, Chicago has a expanding repertoire of companies, entrepreneurs, investors and organizations helping put the city on the startup map."
Like Ohama, Chicago also hosted its own Startup Weekend in 2010 thanks to sponsors like ShareASale, Flyover Geeks and the Illinois Technology Association. Among the startup participants were Shave-O-Matic (a subscription service for razors and blades) NomSum.com (a localized search engines for restaurants) and Intourage (an application for organizing group activities.)
5. Toronto, Canada
Although not historically known as a nexus of entrepreneurship, Toronto has come onto the scene as a fast-moving startup city. As the Toronto page of AreaStartups.com explains, the city now possesses a 'vibrant and quickly growing startup ecosystem' comprised of nearly 400 companies. Well-known local startups include NetShelter Technology Media, Casale Media and Macrae's Blue Book. BlogTo lists 10 of the top Toronto startups of 2009 - many of which are still thriving today.
6. Dallas, Texas
Among states, Texas has fared better during the recession than almost any other. Could part of this be due to the area's slowly blossoming startup culture? Perhaps. Dallas, in particular, is beginning to attract attention from entrepreneurs and investors (both angels and VC.) One especially prominent force for startups in Dallas is Tech Wildcatters, a 'mentorship-driven microseed fund and startup accelerator' that runs as a 12 week 'bootcamp' every fall and spring.
7. London, England
Sometimes the best way for a city to become a startup hub is by creating ties to an existing one. That appears to be the approach London is taking. In a December 2010 article, TheNextWeb notes that a number of UK startups have forged the 'London to NYC' initiative 'aimed at promoting trade and investment between the two cities.' The visit received NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg's blessing and was hailed as a major step forward for London's growing startup culture.
8. Boulder, Colorado
In April 2010, BusinessWeek boldly stated that Boulder, Colorado was America's best town for startups and the 'top U.S. destination for new tech companies.' The city is now said to have the highest concentration of software engineers per capita in the country, and outranks everywhere but Silicon Valley in percentage of tech workers. Best of all, the startup culture was created not by government mandate, but by a 'bottom-up revolution led by entrepreneurs.'
9. Vienna, Austria
Like other cities discussed today, Vienna, Austria was the site of a Startup Weekend event in 2010. At these events, programmers, businesspeople, graphic designers and marketers meet for an intense 54 hour session of pure creation. Unlike typical conferences, which feature lengthy lectures and presentations, participants at Startup Weekend are solely focused on building the ideas out and running with them.
10. Brooklyn, New York
Who says every New York startup has to work in Manhattan? According to BusinessInsider, Brooklyn ranks directly behind Manhattan as the borough with the most startup activity (including two from 2010's 25 Hot New York Startups You Need To Watch list.) Recently, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian announced that he was moving to Brooklyn specifically to find and fund early stage startups in the area.
Are any of these startup hubs a surprise to you?