The Global Startup Ecosystem Report 2022

North America Insights, Rankings & Ecosystem Pages

With Silicon Valley, New York, and Boston located here, North America is the global leader in producing startups, making up 47% of the share of global leaders. But as in other regions, North American founders are increasingly choosing to set up outside of established leading ecosystems and are creating new thriving hubs of innovation. Silicon Valley’s global share of dollar amount in early-stage investment has declined from 25% in 2012 to 13% in 2021. As early-stage funding is a leading indicator of the future of tech, this trend suggests that the growth of tech elsewhere will continue to be faster than in Silicon Valley.

More than 300 North American tech startups achieved unicorn status in 2021, an impressive leap from fewer than 100 in 2020 and a large proportion of the 540 total global tech unicorns. The region saw 105% growth in $50 million+ exits from 2020 to 2021. Early-stage funding increased 43% since 2020, but Series B+ saw a much bigger increase at 140% in the same period.

The region’s largest exit was cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, which was valued at $85 billion when it posted shares directly on the Nasdaq in April 2021. Databricks, the developer of a unified data analytics platform, secured the region’s biggest deal when it raised $1.6 billion in an August 2021 Series H round.

Toronto-Waterloo is Canada’s leading ecosystem, ranking at #17. The area has the highest concentration of AI startups in the world, including genetic therapy company Deep Genomics and AI chip manufacturer Tenstorrent. Vancouver and Montréal are thriving startup ecosystems, with Vancouver producing five unicorns in the GSER 2022 time range, including online identity marketplace Trulioo, legal software startup Clio, and NFT company Dapper Labs, and Montréal producing four, including travel app Hopper.

U.S. investors were holding an average of 101% more dry powder in 2021 than 2020, from $252 million to $507 million. The total dry powder for active investors was up by 20% in terms of amount from 2020 to 2021. Later-stage funding increased 137% in amount and 39% in the number of rounds in the same period, and early-stage funding saw a 43% growth in amount.

Key Findings

  • North America remains the world’s leading region, making up 47% of the share of global leaders.

  • Silicon Valley’s global share of dollar amount in early-stage investment has declined from 25% in 2012 to 13% in 2021, suggesting that the growth of tech in the rest of the world will continue at a faster pace than in Silicon Valley.

  • Of the 540 unicorns created globally in 2021, more than 312 were North American. In 2020, North America produced 83.

  • Denver-Boulder moved up three places from 2021, taking #24. The Colorado ecosystem is increasing in both value and count in early-stage funding, and has shown significant growth in Connectedness.

  • Miami moved up into the runners-up category, at tied #31. Eleven $50 million+ exits took place here, as well as two $1 billion+ exits. Miami can also attribute some of its rise in the rankings to early-stage funding — it experienced a 15% increase in early-stage funding deal count and an impressive 149% in deal amount. For context, the median early-stage deal amount increase for U.S. ecosystems is 19%.