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  • Writer's picturePhiladelphia Business Journal

Philadelphia on the cusp of becoming a top 10 startup ecosystem in the U.S., report finds

Philadelphia's University City has become a hub for startup growth in the region
Philadelphia's University City has become a hub for startup growth in the region. 📷: University City District

By Ryan Mulligan - Digital Producer June 15, 2022, 03:06pm EDT Updated 19 hours ago

Philadelphia has the world's 27th-best startup ecosystem and ranks at No. 11 in the U.S., according to an annual report by Startup Genome.

The city inched forward one spot in both the international and national rankings after coming in at No. 28 and No. 12, respectively, in 2021. This year, the report lauded Philadelphia for being "a vibrant Life Science hub and a particularly attractive home base for female entrepreneurs."

Startup Genome’s Global Startup Ecosystem Report ranked more than 280 regional ecosystems based on factors like startup growth and activity, innovation and research, capital availability, talent and support for companies. Silicon Valley topped the 2022 rankings, with London and New York City tying for second.

The report comes as Philadelphia's startup scene is taking major strides nationally. The region shattered its record for venture capital funding last year, hauling in $8.1 billion. That was the fifth-highest total in the nation. Philadelphia-area startups followed that up with a first quarter of 2022 that saw a 71% increase in funding over Q4 2021, by far the highest increase in the U.S.

Startup Genome gave Philadelphia high marks for research infrastructure, which measures the number of accelerators and incubators, research grants, and research and development anchors, like hospitals and research labs. Philadelphia scored a nine out of 10 in infrastructure, putting it in the top 10 in the world in the category.

Besides being a "leader in innovation" and a research hub, Startup Genome adds that the city's diverse talent pool is a reason for startups to move to Philadelphia. Philadelphia was the fourth-best place to raise capital as a woman in the nation, according to PitchBook data.

Total VC funding and median size of Series A rounds in Philadelphia both outpaced global averages. The city's $10 billion in funding since 2017 more than doubled the international average of $4.5 billion. The region's median Series A raised $5 million compared to an average of $4.7 million globally.

Deals like dbt Labs' $222 million Series D round in February, Houwzer’s $100 million debt financing round the same month and GoPuff's $1.2 billion Series G in March 2021 have helped boost Philadelphia's funding numbers and recognition in the startup space.

Genome valued Philadelphia's startup ecosystem at $46 billion, well above the worldwide mean of $28.6 billion.

"Philadelphia’s ranking in this year’s GSER supports what we know and feel: this place is thriving,” said Scott Nissenbaum, CEO of Ben Franklin Technology Partners, a state-backed seed fund. “The steady growth of opportunity within Philadelphia’s life sciences and technology communities gathers increasing interest throughout the world, while our ecosystem keeps making strides for lasting impact.”

Pennsylvania is also home to one of the top up-and-coming startup ecosystems, according to the report. Pittsburgh was ranked at No. 13 among the world's emerging startup ecosystems and No. 5 in North America.

Ben Franklin Technology Partners, University City Science Center and Drexel University worked with Startup Genome to help produce Philadelphia's startup report.

Here are the 15 top startup markets in the U.S., according to Startup Genome’s Global Startup Ecosystem Report:

  1. Silicon Valley

  2. New York City

  3. Boston

  4. Los Angeles

  5. Seattle

  6. Washington D.C.

  7. San Diego

  8. Chicago

  9. Denver-Boulder

  10. Austin

  11. Philadelphia

  12. Salt Lake-Provo

  13. Atlanta

  14. Dallas

  15. Miami


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