The Global Startup Ecosystem Report 2020 (GSER 2020)

Note from a Founder

A few months ago, we all woke up to a new reality as COVID-19 changed everything. Personally, I shut down one of my startups while one of my portfolio’s startups boomed and a close friend — who had closed a large Series B in January — fired a third of her employees. 

Then I saw community members rise to the occasion, taking action to help others, and governments acting faster than ever to enact bold and effective policy. Clearly, we are the ones we’ve been waiting for. It’s in our hands as a global community to shape how this will play out.

During the first week of lockdown, the Startup Genome Advisory Board (now called the Global Senior Policymaker Forum) — with leaders from NYC, London, Singapore, Africa, South America — met to discuss the crisis, and to share and learn from each other. We realized that while we enacted policy at an accelerated speed locally, we were going to do much better if we learned from each other — our global peers — and candidly discussed what policy worked and what was failing.

Startup Genome sprung to action by launching new global research to quantify the impact on startups (here), collecting global policies enacted across more than 50 countries (here), developing in-depth policy recommendations with clear arguments based on a practical analysis of the 2008 crisis (here), and continuing research to show what policies have had the most impact vs. what had failed.

Since 2011, if there’s one thing we learned as we went from the largest global startup research firm to becoming the world’s leading startup policy advisors, it is that most startup policies fail. They fail to have an impact despite the deep expertise and drive of the local public and private leaders. They fail because when we don’t learn from others, we repeat the mistakes of others and waste literally millions of dollars.  

It has been central to the mission of Startup Genome to build a global knowledge platform for you to learn from others, where we discuss real outcomes — including policies that failed and why they failed — behind closed doors.

From research to policy we have now created a global movement, working with The Global Entrepreneurship Network, The World Economic Forum, The World Bank, and other like-minded teams.

This movement provides an offer to help you, and it is also an offer for you to help and to spread the benefits of the global startup revolution to more countries. It will have an increasing impact on our economies and our lives. The COVID-19 crisis has only accelerated the transition to a digital economy and, like every crisis, has called entrepreneurs to innovate faster and in new ways.

But as I wrote in last year’s GSER, the global startup revolution is not without problems. As a community we need to step up to our responsibilities, as we have become a driving force in nearly every aspect of life. We create wealth but also produce disparity rather than shared benefits. Our platforms can support democracy in countries while hurting it in others. We can only solve these issues by working together. 

I also know that entrepreneurship and innovation can provide and have been providing solutions to many problems. And it is unstoppable. The economic recovery of 2009 was built not in small part upon technology entrepreneurship. In 2020, most political leaders know the recovery depends on our startups, as much as solutions to the climate crisis do.

Join our global knowledge platform to learn the proven policies and programs that will accelerate the growth of your ecosystem, produce scaleups and be an engine of economic recovery and growth for your population for the next decade. It is time to invest in the right way.

To coincide with our launch of the GSER 2020, on June 25, 2020, we are bringing together the leading policymakers and ecosystem leaders in the world to talk and share during the Ecosystems Couch Conference we produced with The Financial Times, The Next Web and FDI Intelligence.

Next, we will be organizing a set of policy workshops that will go deeper, where a global community of policymakers and ecosystem leaders will discuss policy and learn from one another. Reach out to join us and your peers, and let’s work to achieve a much bigger impact together.


JF Gauthier
Founder and CEO of Startup Genome