The Global Startup Ecosystem Report Climatetech Edition

Global Blue Economy Ranking: Top 25 + Runners-Up

Key Findings

  • Singapore remains the world-leading startup ecosystem for the Blue Economy thanks to its high number of relevant startups and its strong support for Blue Economy innovation in local universities.
  • Oslo has surpassed Silicon Valley to become the #2 Blue Economy ecosystem, up from #3 last year.
  • North America is home to 10 of the world’s top 25 Blue Economy ecosystems, with 8 in the U.S.
  • Tel Aviv has moved from #20 to #7 thanks to large exits and early-stage funding deals.
  • Autonomous maritime solutions startup iXblue’s $407 million exit helped boost Paris from #22 to #11.
  • Western Denmark, Helsinki, Houston, and Hong Kong have all entered the top 25 for the first time.

Global Top 25

Like Cleantech, the United States has the highest number of ecosystems in the 2023 top 25 Blue Economy rankings, leading with a 32% share of all ecosystems. Four countries each have two ecosystems in the top 25: Canada, Denmark, Germany, and the U.K. The inclusion of Canada and Denmark on this list is notable given those countries’ smaller populations and market size relative to Germany and the U.K.

Both Europe and North America have 10 Blue Economy ecosystems in the top 25 ranking. Together, the two regions represent 80% of the ranked ecosystems. The strong representation from Europe and North America is largely due to the fact that the Blue Economy sub-sector is relatively new and can be capital-intensive. Therefore, it is more likely to emerge in larger, established ecosystems before entrepreneurs in other markets spot opportunities and investors learn about its potential. 

Singapore remains in the top spot for the second year in a row. This is thanks to its high number of Blue Economy startups, several of which have obtained a Series A round, as well as its strong support for Blue Economy innovation in local universities. However, Asian ecosystems only make up 16% of the top 25 compared to a 32% share in this year’s Cleantech rankings. Given the strong overlap between these two sub-sectors, it stands to reason that more top Blue Economy ecosystems should soon emerge in Asia.

Oslo has surpassed Silicon Valley to become the #2 Blue Economy ecosystem, up from #3 last year. This is in large part due to the 11 exits occurring between 2018 and 2022, including Ocean Sun, a floating solar production firm that went public in 2020 at a valuation of $87 million.

Tel Aviv has moved from #20 to #7, with Windward’s listing on the London Stock Exchange in 2021 at a valuation of $169 million contributing to the improvement in ranking. Additionally, orca-ai raised a $13 million Series A round in 2021.

In Paris, the autonomous maritime solutions startup iXblue was acquired in late 2022 for $407 million, helping take the ecosystem from #22 to #11. This exit will boost local Blue Economy knowledge and experience as the team shares its understandings with other Blue Economy startups.

Several ecosystems made their first appearance in the top 25. These include the advanced-manufacturing hub of Western Denmark at #20 and Helsinki at #22. Additionally, the large shipping port cities of Houston and Hong Kong cracked the top 25, leveraging their corporate and logistical expertise in maritime technologies.