- About Startup Genome
- Our Services
- About Our Global Partners
- About Entrepreneurship for Climate
- About Foresight Canada
- About Innovate BC
- The Problem in Cleantech Isn’t Innovation — It’s Scaling
- Global Startup Sub-Sector Analysis
- Global Cleantech Ranking: Top 25 + 10 Runners-Up
- How Building High-Performance and Interconnected Climate Tech Entrepreneurial Communities Will Slow Climate Change
- The Opportunity That Corporations Can't Afford to Miss
- Global Funding & Performance Trends
- Deployment-Led Innovation: An Algorithm for Green Growth
- In Search of the Elusive Political Entrepreneur
- Top Five Ecosystems by Region & Ecosystems to Watch
- Cleantech Top Ecosystem Players
- Cleantech Ecosystem Pages
- Individuals Can’t Solve the Climate Crisis, But Clusters Can
- Collaborating to Accelerate Canadian Cleantech
- Methodology & References
- Acknowledgments & Partners
Global Startup Sub-Sector Analysis
- Deep Tech (Advanced Manufacturing & Robotics, Blockchain, Agtech & New Food, AI & Big Data) remains the fastest growing group globally. Fintech also has experienced substantial growth in the last five years.
- Startup sub-sectors in the Growth Phase are increasing Series A funding deals at the impressive rate of 107% over five years. Mature Phase sub-sectors have grown 33% over the same period. Decline Phase sub-sectors have declined by 28%.
- Fintech, which was in the Mature Phase in 2019, is demonstrating a resurgence in Series A funding that is more characteristic of the Growth Phase, indicating new investments and innovation in this sub-sector.
- Similarly, Edtech and Gaming, both on the edge of the Decline Phase in 2019, have experienced an increase in Series A funding that returned them to the Mature Phase.
- Series A growth rates are higher than in 2019. Exit growth rates slowed in the five-year period ending in 2020.
Global Trends in Startup Sub-Sectors
The COVID-19 pandemic has created shifts in some sub-sectors, and also revived several that were previously in decline, such as Gaming and Edtech. It caused deviations from typical lifecycle patterns, as seen in the growth of Life Sciences and — in Fintech — of insurance and lending. As sectors that directly related to tackling the pandemic grew, others, including Cleantech, experienced a decline in investment. However, Cleantech has since bounced back, a reflection of the growing recognition of the importance of tackling climate change.
Figure 1 illustrates the current view of sub-sector phases based on our 2019 methodology. It provides a summary of global exit and funding event counts and shows the relative share of each sub-sector as a percentage of the global startup population. Figure 2 offers an alternate perspective on the impact of sub-sectors globally: it measures their growth based on the amount of investment and exit value in each sub-sector. This second graph largely reflects the growth of sub-sectors in ecosystems with higher amounts of dollar investment and the impact of large exit events on growth. The bubble size in Figure 2 represents the ecosystem value added by a given sub-sector and indicates how attractive it is for global investors.
Interestingly, measured by both number of events and amount of funding, certain sub-sectors continue to stand out. AI & Big Data, for example, and Advanced Manufacturing & Robotics are experiencing high growth by both metrics. These two lifecycle views also reveal which sub-sectors are generating outsized ecosystem value compared to their peers. For example, Life Sciences, which comprises just 8% of global startups, added $183 billion in ecosystem value in 2020 — the second highest amount after AI & Big Data.
Figure 2. Global Sub-Sector Lifecycle by Amount of Series A Deals and Exits