The Global Startup Ecosystem Report 2022

Ecosystem Lifecycle Analysis

The evolution of startup ecosystems is a complex and multifaceted process. Like their ecological analogues, they evolve through different phases. Each phase has different features, resource characteristics, and needs. Following Startup Genome’s taxonomy, startup ecosystems go through four phases of development: Activation, Globalization, Expansion, and Integration. Each of them has very distinct characteristics and key triggers that allow them to develop from one stage to the next.

Lifecycle phases are valuable in determining which strategies to apply. Through our years of assessment and consulting, Startup Genome has found that fundamentally different strategies correlate with lifecycle phases (Norm Strategies). Ecosystems that don't sync their initiatives with their lifecycle phase may be doing the right thing but at the wrong time, inadvertently wasting time and money for no improvement in the startup ecosystem. Our ecosystem assessment services can help ecosystems determine the correct strategies for the stage they are at, and ultimately help them progress to further stages.


Activation Phase


i. Limited Startup Experience (founder know-how, experienced investors, advisors, and mentors, and community behaviors that support startup success)

ii. Low Startup Output of around 1,000 or fewer startups

iii. Challenges: lack of Startup Experience and resource leakages to later-stage ecosystems make it difficult to grow


Focus on increasing the Startup Output and Early-Stage Funding. Activate entrepreneurial-minded people and grow a more connected local community that helps each other. Pick one or two startup subsectors (e.g. Agtech) that build on local economic strengths and develop focused programs to accelerate ecosystem growth and develop pockets of success leading to sizeable exits.

Globalization Phase


i. Trigger to this phase: increased Startup Experience led to the production of a series of regionally impressive triggers, usually above $100 million (higher in leading nations)

ii. Output of 800 to 2,000 startups (depending on population)

iii. Series of exits trigger national (or regional) resource attraction (startups, entrepreneurs, talent, investors) from earlier-phase ecosystems, but still leaks resources to top ecosystems globally


Focus on increasing Global Connectedness with founders of top ecosystems, the Success Factor that defines an ecosystem’s scaleup potential, and supporting startups to increase their early Global Market Reach, which realizes an ecosystem’s scaleup potential. Urgently address remaining Success Factor gaps.

​​Attraction Phase


i. Usually more than 2,000 startups (depending on population)

ii. Trigger to this phase: a series of globally impressive triggers, usually unicorns and exits above $1 billion (higher in leading nations)

iii. Billion-dollar triggers produce Global Resource Attraction

iv. Very few Success Factor gaps remain


Use Global Resource Attraction to significantly expand the size of the ecosystem and fill remaining gaps, removing barriers to immigration and directing attraction through well-designed policy programs.

Integration Phase


i. More than 3,000 startups

ii. Global Resource Attraction produces a high and self-sustainable degree of Global Connectedness and flow of knowledge into the ecosystem that sustainably keep its startups integrated in the global fabric of knowledge. It is able to produce leading-edge business models and the skills necessary to achieve high Global Market Reach


Integrate the ecosystem within the global, national, and local flows of resources and knowledge inside and outside of the startup ecosystem, optimizing laws and policies to sustain its competitiveness and growth, and spreading its benefits (e.g. culture, source of competitiveness, capital, innovation) to other sectors of the economy and parts of the nation.