Building a high-growth company does take a village. And for women entrepreneurs, Chicago looks like a pretty good one to live in.
That city had the highest percentage of female founders—30%–in the newly released 2015 Global Startup Ecosystem Ranking. Boston, Silicon Valley and Los Angeles followed.
Overall, there’s good news for women-led startups. The number of female entrepreneurs worldwide has risen significantly—80%–over the last three years. But the numbers are still low. Of startups worldwide, 18% had a female founder, compared to 10% of startups in 2012.
Here’s the percentage of women founders in the top ten cities for startups overall:
- Silicon Valley/Bay Area 24%
- New York 16%
- Los Angeles 22%
- Boston 29%
- Tel Aviv 20%
- London 18%
- Chicago 30%
- Seattle 9%
- Berlin 9%
- Singapore 19%
The report, from software company Compass, looked at a broad set of factors including founder profiles, seed funding, exit growth and startup density to rank locations on the robustness of their startup ecosystems. Those environments can be crucial for entrepreneurs who want to bring their companies to the next level. After all, it is much easier for entrepreneurs to get advice and share war stories with other founders, build networks of mentors, partners and investors if they are based in an area in which those folks are easy to find.
For founders thinking about where to launch, relocate or expand their companies, it pays to consider the strength of the ecosystem as well as specific aspects of it that address the key areas your business needs and will need to thrive, such as access to engineers or a mix of international companies. The report suggest some questions to ask as jumping off points that might be helpful:
- Have your executive team headquartered, or at least spend a lot of time, in a well-capitalized ecosystem like Silicon Valley.
- Work in a smaller, and cheaper startup ecosystem when your startup is pre-product market fit. Then move your headquarters to a larger startup ecosystem after product market fit is reached and you’re ready to raise a big financing round.
- Set up a second office focused on engineering in an ecosystem with a lot of inexpensive and plentiful tech talent, such as Austin, Tel Aviv or Sydney.
- Set up a second sales office in NYC to get access to the US Market and many big potential customers.
It may be that much of business is now virtual, but there’s nothing like having a group of peers to grab a drink with or chatting with someone at a coffee shop who becomes your next angel investor.