The Global Startup Ecosystem Report Blue Economy Edition

Methodology & References

The Startup Genome quantitative data infrastructure includes data on over 3 million companies, 280+ ecosystems, and survey data from more than 10,000 startup executives across the globe.

These are the main datasets that make up this data science infrastructure:

  • Startup Genome proprietary data:
    • Interviews with 100+ experts
    • 2017–2022 Startup Ecosystem Survey with more than 10,000 participants per year
  • Crunchbase: global dataset on funding, exits, and locations of startups and investors
  • Dealroom: global dataset on funding, exits, and locations of startups and investors
  • PitchBook: private capital market data provider
  • Local partners (accelerators, incubators, startup hubs, investors):
    • list of startups
    • list of local exits and funding events
  • CB Insights: global dataset on unicorns

Sub-Sector Definition

Definition: The Blue Economy is the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and job creation while preserving the health of the ocean ecosystem. It is a sector that seeks to promote economic growth, social inclusion, and the preservation of livelihoods while at the same time ensuring environmental sustainability of the oceans and coastal areas.

The following sub-verticals are included in the Blue Economy:

Marine Energy

Marine energy (or ocean energy) encompasses wave, tidal stream, tidal range, ocean thermal, ocean current, run-of-river, and salinity, etc., through which energy can be harnessed from oceans. Oceans are the source of enormous untapped energy that is accessible to most coastal countries.


The farming of aquatic organisms including fish, molluscs, crustaceans, and aquatic plants. Farming implies some sort of intervention in the rearing process to enhance production, such as regular stocking, feeding, protection from predators, etc. Farming also implies individual or corporate ownership of the stock being cultivated, the planning, development and operation of aquaculture systems, sites, facilities and practices, and production and transport.

Maritime Transport

Maritime transport refers to a means of transport where goods or people are transported via sea routes. In some cases, maritime transport can encompass pre- and post-shipping activities.


Tourism is a growth industry in many coastal communities and is based on the natural and cultural heritage of local communities. There are a number of ocean-based tourism activities, such as sailing, diving, fishing, and whale watching. Growing numbers of tourists are putting greater pressure on the environment, resources, and coastal communities.

Waste Management

Plastic marine litter has the potential to persist in the marine environment for long periods, to travel considerable distances, and to accumulate in habitats far from its point of origin. This makes it a growing transboundary global problem that recognises no national borders and spreads from coasts to open oceans. Companies that develop and scale technologies to get rid of the world’s oceans of plastic fall under this category.

Data Sources

Primary Data Sources

  • Startup Genome LLC (2017–2022). Database
  • BV. (2017–2022). Database
  • Crunchbase (2017–2022). Database
  • CB Insights (2019–2022). Database
  • PitchBook (2018–2022), a private capital market data provider Database

Secondary Data Sources

  • Shanghai Rankings
  • WIPO
  • Clarivate

Blue Economy Sub-Sectors Ranking Methodology

Overall Ranking

The overall global ecosystem ranking is a weighted average of the following factor scores:

  • Performance: 25%
  • Funding: 20%
  • Startup Experience: 10%
  • Knowledge: 20%
  • Talent: 5%
  • Focus: 15%
  • Legacy: 5%

The success factors are weighted by the above percentages to establish the overall rank of each ecosystem.

The weights of the factors were determined from research and experience. This method takes into account what is deemed to be of importance in ecosystem mapping and analysis overall and across all ecosystem sizes. We have used our research in the period 2009–2020 and correlation analysis and modeling work based on linear regression analyses, using factor indexes as independent variables with the performance index as dependent variable.

Adding the actual Performance Index to the ranking formula serves to include the influence of unobserved factors on the performance of an ecosystem.

Ranking Details


Captures the actual leading, current, and lagging indicators of ecosystem performance.

  • 40% number of $50 million+ exits Apr 1, 2017–Mar 31, 2022
  • 20% number of all exits Apr 1, 2017–Mar 31, 2022
  • 30% log of output (number of startups in the Blue Economy ) Jan 01, 2012–Dec 31, 2021)
  • 10% number of founders with an active role in the Blue Economy


Quantifies funding metrics important to the success of early-stage startups.

  • 90% log of number of early-stage funding deals Apr 1, 2017–Mar 31, 2022
  • 10% log of number of Series B funding deals Apr 1, 2017–Mar 31, 2022


Quantifies the activity of technology knowledge space by measuring the published innovation.

  • 20% number of patents (log of number of patents related to the sub-sector) Jan 1, 2011–Dec 31, 2020
  • 20% Technology Potential, a measure calculated at the technology class level globally and calculated for each ecosystem based on the technologies it produces Jan 1, 2011–Dec 31, 2020
  • 20% Ecosystem Complexity, a measure of the capacity of the ecosystem for producing patents in complex technology classes, calculated by measuring the diversity and commonness of the published patents globally
  • 40% number of published research and journal papers related to the Blue Economy Jan 1, 2017–Dec 31, 2021


Assesses the talent that relevant startups have access to. We analyzed all subjects included in Shanghai Rankings and matched to the relevant startup sub-sectors to calculate the following metrics:

  • 35% Average of TOP score from Shanghai Rankings
  • 30% Average of CNCI score from Shanghai Rankings
  • 30% Average Q1 Score from Shanghai Rankings
  • 5% number of programs

  • 20% Venture A funding (log of number of historical Series A funding deals, as a proxy for number of teams that raised funds in the ecosystem Apr 1, 2012–Mar 31, 2022
  • 20% exits (log of number of historical exits over $50 million, as a proxy for number of scaled teams in the ecosystem Apr 1, 2012–Mar 31, 2022
  • 60% startup creation, all time


Quantifies the concentration of early startups and the availability of infrastructures to support their mentorship and scaling.

  • 60% share of startups in the sub-sector, shows the concentration of startups in the sub-sector Jan 1, 2012–Dec 31, 2021
  • 40% number of Blue Economy-focused accelerators and incubators Jan 1, 2017–Dec 31, 2021


Quantifies the backbone and large companies in the ecosystems, which are important sources of networks, partnerships, and mentorship and attract investor attention.

  • 30% log sum of market value for public companies in Marine Transport, Ocean Energy, and Aquaculture
  • 30% log normalized market value for Marine Transport, Ocean Energy, and Aquaculture public companies by population
  • 40% log of number of Marine Transport, Ocean Energy, and Aquaculture public companies with more than 250 employees

Key Concepts and Definitions

Ranking Score

The ranking is primarily driven by one question: In which ecosystems do early-stage startups have the best chance of building global success?


A technology-enabled business that is less than 10 years old. Steve Blank defines a startup as a “temporary organization in search of a repeatable and scalable business model. We use this definition to look across sectors and sub-sectors, including software, hardware, health, energy, and others, and we use these parameters for data collection purposes.

Startup Ecosystem

A shared pool of resources, generally located within a 60-mile (100-kilometer) radius around a center point in a given region, with a few exceptions based on local realities. Resources typically include policymakers, accelerators, incubators, coworking spaces, educational institutions, and funding groups.

Ecosystem Success Factors Model

Our principal analytical tool, this measures different dimensions that support the performance of local startups. We look at multiple factors for our rankings: one measuring actual performance, with other Success Factors associated with performance, each comprising sub-factors and metrics. These factors are highlighted in our Ranking Methodology section, as well as in each rankings section.

  • Performance: A combination of leading, lagging, and current indicators that capture economic outcomes in a startup ecosystem.
  • Funding: The level and growth of early-stage funding, looking at both access and quality.
  • Startup Experience: The depth and diversity of the pool of prior startup experience in an ecosystem.
  • Talent: Measures the accessibility, quality, and cost of software engineering expertise.



United Nations. (n.d.). How is climate change impacting the world’s ocean.

Collaborating to Drive Change: Discover Novarium’s Innovation Campus

Foresight Future of the Sea. (2018). Government Office for Science.

Insights & Rankings

Here's how we fulfil the economic promise of a blue economy. (2022, August 5).

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on a new approach for a sustainable blue economy in the EU. Transforming the EU's Blue Economy for a Sustainable Future. (2021, May 17).

The Vast Potential for AI in the Blue Economy

How much oxygen comes from the ocean? (2021, February 26).

Ocean shipping and shipbuilding - OECD. (n.d.).

Revitalization: collective action for the ocean. (2022, June 8).

Meet GCE Ocean Technology, the Norwegian Cluster Helping Startups Unlock the Potential of the Blue Economy (2018, August 27). The ocean.

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New $60 million fund to support transformation and growth of local agri-food sector,

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Yonit Wiseman. (2022, January 4). Israel’s cybersecurity startups post another record year in 2021 – TechCrunch,

Ricky Ben-David. (2022, January 20). Israeli cybersecurity firms raised record $8.8b in 2021, exports reached $11b,


Young Enterprise Initiative (YEi) | Why France,

Regis Leleu. (2021, August 2). Why investing in France tops the agenda for foreign businesses

Moritz Zimmermann. (2021, June 16). Digital SME joins president Macron in Paris to launch scale-up Europe,

Romain Dillet. (2021, October 21). Station F adds an online program to educate the next generation of entrepreneurs – TechCrunch,


Marie Mawad, Adam Green. (2021, February 18). France’s deeptech opportunity,


Nick Bonyhady. (2022, February 28). $10 billion flows to Australian start-UPS in banner year,

Iris Energy Pty Ltd.,

Harrison-AI Pty Ltd.,

Employment Hero Pty. Ltd.,

Catherine Shu. (2021, June 15). Early-stage venture firm the fund launches in Australia,

Network Readiness Index 2021 Australia,

Clovis Freire, Bob Bell, Daisuke Maruichi and Laura Cyron. Technology and Innovation Report 2021 |,

Özgür Töre. (2021, February 17). Sydney Wins to Host A Tech Event in 2023,

FinTech Startups in Sydney. (2022, April 9),

Sydney as a global fintech hub showcased at world fintech festival 2021. (2021, November 9),

Edmund Tang. (2021, August 16). Global Fintech rankings 2021: Australia now ranks 6th in the world,

Daniel Teper, Grant Wardell-Johnson, Stuart Fuller. (2022, January 28). KPMG recommendations for a vibrant Financial and Regulatory Tech sector,

Stephen Withers. (2021, July 6). Airwallex plans Sydney engineering hub,

Jobs Plus Program | NSW Government. (2022, April 12),

Sydney facts. (2019, July 5) | NSW Government,

Talented workforce | NSW Government. (2019, July 5),

Affordable rentals set to increase in Sydney. (2022, May 24),


Paige Gross. (2021, February 22). The Philly region ranked 13th on this 2021 list of best cities for women in tech,

Paige Gross. (2022, January 14). Let's take a look at Philly's $8B year: Q4 2021 venture capital data is in,

S.E. Slack. (2021, January 22). Women in Tech Summit: Dates, News, Rumors, and Everything Else To Know,

Gloria Bell. (2021, October 27). Why women in tech summit's 10th anniversary is a Philly startup success story,

Taylor Allen. (2022, January 20). Philly's venture capital boom sees new heights,



Science Center | Launch Lane. (2020, October 20),

1 Million Cups (1MC) Philadelphia | PA event for entrepreneurs,

Philly Tech Week (PTW) 2022. (2022, May 6),

Women in data science @ Penn conference 2022 | Wharton Customer Analytics. (2022, April 27),

Dbt Labs,



Michael Butler. (2021, October 5). 20+ resources to boost Philly health startups,

Paige Gross. (2021, July 21). University City Science Center is launching a VC arm to invest in health equity startups,

Passage Bio,

Aro Biotherapeutics,

Paige Gross. (2020, November 24). City Gov is pumping half a million dollars into diversifying Philly's tech talent,

Sam Markowitz. (2021, May 19). Philadelphia aims to become the 'Most diverse tech hub' in the country,

New Zealand

New Zealand’s Startup Partnership, (2022, March 31)

Overview of the New Zealand technology sector. (2020, November 22),

HON DR DAVID CLARK. (2021, December 13). New border exception to support rapidly growing tech sector,

Rebecca Bellan. (2021, December 28). Sectors where New Zealand startups are poised to win – TechCrunch,

PWC, Startup Investment, Autumn 2022 (AANZ, NZGCP)

Electrify accelerator announced, NZ’s only accelerator for women-led startups. (2022, March 10),

Alimetry Ltd,

ArchiPro Ltd,

Rob O'Neill. (2022, January 19). Gartner forecasts strong growth for NZ ICT, led by enterprise software and devices,


Budget 2021: Farming groups react to agriculture spend. (2021, May 20),

New Zealand expertise serves up new agri-food-tech event. (2021, August 5),

Farmote Systems,

Quality of life index by city 2020 mid-year,

OECD better life index,

Will Elton. (2017, October 26). 5 reasons to start a business in New Zealand,


Michael Mazerov. (2022, February 16). Commentary: Mississippi Should Invest in Its People, Not Chase the False Promise of Tax “Competitiveness”,

"CoBuilders" statewide accelerator initiative underway in Mississippi. (2022, February 12),

CoBuilders | Home,

Nineteen Mississippi small business owners complete women and minority entrepreneurial development program. (2021, December 14),

Dustin Cardon. (2022, February 16). JSU women’s business center and FedEx program, MSU COVID-19 pandemic funding,

Ron Starner. (2021, November). How Mississippi became a thriving hub for startups: Dig beneath the surface and you’ll find innovation popping up all over the state.: | Site selection magazine,

Local investors form south Mississippi angel fund. (2021, August 5),

Local investors form south Mississippi angel fund • Innovate Mississippi. (2021, August 4),

COTI | About,

Accelerate: 2021 conference on technology innovation - Innovate MS,

REDe entrepreneurship summit,


Mississippi State University | Startup summit 2022,


Spectra laboratories opens new facility in Mississippi. (2021, August 19),

Nitrase Therapeutics,

Nicole Cornett. (2021, December 6). Mighty Mississippi: Where innovation powers advanced manufacturing,

Milwaukee tool to expand manufacturing presence in MS. (2021, April 21),

Mississippi: Milwaukee tool expands in Grenada and Clinton. (2021, November 29),


Employment incentives: State of Mississippi incentives,


Digest Africa briefs: The most funded startups in Tunisia,

Startup Tunisia | Deal,,stabi...

Smart Capital and CDC, (2022, March 18),

Expanding its footprint in Africa: Flat6Labs announces second close of its Tunisia seed fund with the participation of Sawari ventures. (2021, September 29),

Zubair Naeem Paracha. (2021, May 2). Tunisia's Expensya raises $20 million to grow its expense management software,

Tunisia: Startup Wattnow secures $1.3M in pre-series a round. (2022, March 11),

OECD AI policy observatory Portal,

Mohamed Alaa El-Din. (2021, July 6). Africa IoT, AI challenge further expands in continent,

Tage Kene-Okafor. (2022, January 25). Tunisian enterprise AI startup InstaDeep raises $100M from AI capital, BioNTech, Google – TechCrunch,

Tunisia-founded enterprise AI startup InstaDeep raises $7 million series a. (2019, May 12),

Startup Tunisia official partners,

Tunisia: Sfax technopark-based "Healthtech" Represents Tunisia in "Betterehealth. (2021, March 19),

Tunisia, Britain to strengthen cooperation in biotechnology industries - Xinhua |,

Entrepreneurship, SMEs and Local Development,