Top Startup Ecosystems in 2020: Ranking 1,000 Cities and 100 Countries

StartupBlink, a global startup and innovation research centre, has launched the Startup Ecosystem Rankings Report 2020. The 2020 version ranks 1,000 cities and 100 countries worldwide, tracking both momentum and trends within the startup ecosystem from 2017 onwards. This year’s report also features a section ranking the different cities and countries responding to COVID-19 through innovation.

The algorithm used to generate the rankings analyzes tens of thousands of data points powered by our global partners such as Crunchbase, alongside data gathered from more than tens of thousands of registered members on the StartupBlink Global Map.

Startup Blink’s partnership with Crunchbase has allowed it to feature and rank hundreds of ecosystems – highlighting data on thousands of startups in order to understand the quality and frequency of innovation, as well as trends, of ecosystems around the world.

Our country and city rankings have a total score, which is the sum of 3 columns measuring the following:

Based on the total score, we have put the ranking results into the tables covering the crucial information on each country and city that was ranked.

The Top Country Rankings

When compared with 2019, this year has seen no new countries enter the top ten, and yet, Germany has made a significant jump of 4 places to 5th, while Spain has moved 1 spot to 9th. The Big 4 club of countries (US, UK, Israel, and Canada) has held its ground since 2017, showing that there is a real gap between these 4 countries and those below that will be hard to narrow.

Top City Ecosystems

2020 has seen the top 5 cities follow a similar trend to the Big 4 countries, with the top 5 in this year remaining the same as in 2019 – San Francisco (1st), New York (2nd), London (3rd), Boston (4th) and LA (5th).

Though the gap is very large between these cities and 6th position, we do believe that if current trends hold there is a good chance Beijing and Shanghai will challenge for a position in the top 5 in 2021. Beijing (6th) has made a substantial leap by 11 places, while Shanghai (10th) has made a huge jump of 21 places from outside the top 30 in 2019. The rise of Beijing has pushed down both Tel Aviv (7th) and Berlin (8th), while Moscow, the center of the Russian startup ecosystem has grown by 1 place to 9th globally.

The Coronavirus Innovation Rankings

As the implications of the Covid-19 pandemic became clear, StartupBlink decided to create the Coronavirus Innovations Map with the intention of helping innovators around the world to cooperate and build solutions faster. This would not have been possible without the help of the founding partners of the project, The Health Innovation Exchange by UNAIDS and Moscow Agency of Innovations – both knowing how big of a challenge COVID–19 posed from an early stage and the value in our project.

The Rankings

Of the top 10 countries ranking, the success of Belgium, Switzerland, Estonia, Italy, and Ireland has been particularly impressive, where local entrepreneurs have mobilized in the face of the pandemic.The United States leads global coronavirus innovation efforts, while Israel and Canada, ranked 2nd and 3rd, both beat their own positions in the global startup ecosystem rankings.

As for the cities, San Francisco (1st) is followed by two other US cities on the podium: New York and Boston. The response and adaptation of New York to the effects of the Coronavirus crisis have been outstanding considering that it has been one of the worst-hit areas in the world. Boston, on the other hand, is historically known for having great health-related startups. This tendency shows, as it closely follows New York to take third in the rankings.

The rankings show that some of those badly hit by the pandemic; such as New York, Milan, Brussels, and Barcelona have been over-performing in the charts. This is counterintuitive, since these cities faced a major crisis, but still managed to excel and innovate. 

For the full report and more information, visit:

Eli David, CEO StartupBlink

Joshua Mitcham, Marketing and Content Manager StartupBlink

  • Originally published June 12, 2020, updated July 24, 2020