United States

Boston #4

"Boston has an incredible density of talent from veteran entrepreneurs, universities, investment capital, pillar companies, and a supportive ecosystem. It's a magical combination of the key ingredients to fuel startups."

David Chang
General Manager of Expert Network, Hunt Club, Founding Member, TBD Angels
Top 10 Global Ecosystem in Talent & Experience
Top 5 Global Ecosystem in Funding
#4 Global Ecosystem in Performance

Highlights

With its incredible strength in Life Sciences and Robotics and world-leading universities, Boston is a startup powerhouse. The ecosystem is consistently in the top five global leaders in the GSER rankings, a result of its strong talent, funding, and experience, among other factors.


In 2021, the top 10 funding events in the ecosystem alone added up to more than $7 billion, more than double 2020’s total. Amazon aggregator Thrasio led the way, raising $1.85 billion overall in 2021, and Devoted Health raised $1.15 billion in October. VC deal sizes are also ballooning in the ecosystem — 2021 saw $28 billion raised from 133 VC deals in Massachusetts.


The Boston ecosystem is particularly welcoming to women, with several local ecosystem standouts headed by female leaders, including Care.com. Around 10% of startups here are founded by women, which compares favorably to a national average of 3% of VC dollars going to female founders. Boston is also home to several women-founded venture capital firms including Boston Seed Capital, Victress Capital, and Glasswing Ventures.


Standout events in Boston’s business event calendar include Startup Week, an annual celebration of entrepreneurship and innovation, and the ecosystem is home to a large number of support organizations, including nonprofit accelerator MassChallenge and seed-to-Series A incubator TiE ScaleUp.

Ecosystem by the Numbers

TOTAL EARLY STAGE FUNDING
(2019H2-2021)
$8.7 bn
GLOBAL AVG.
$687 m
ECOSYSTEM VALUE
(2019H2-2021)
$266 bn
GLOBAL AVG.
$28.6 bn
MEDIAN SEED ROUND (2019H2-2021)
$1.5 m
GLOBAL AVG.
$671 k
MEDIAN SERIES A ROUND (2019H2-2021)
$8.3 m
GLOBAL AVG.
$4.7 m
SOFT. ENGINEER SALARY (2021)
$90 k
GLOBAL AVG.
$46 k
113 bn
GLOBAL AVG.
11.3 bn
715
GLOBAL AVG.
101
Amount ($)
Count (#)

Exits

(2017-2021)
EARLY-STAGE FUNDING GROWTH TIER (2018/19 VS. 2020/21)
5
Calculated on a scale of
1 (lowest) to 10 (highest)
TOTAL VC FUNDING (2017-2021)
$51 bn
GLOBAL AVG.
$4.5 bn
TIME TO EXIT (2017-2021)
8.9 years
GLOBAL AVG.
9.4 years

Sub-Sector Strengths

Life Sciences

Home to over 1,000 Life Sciences companies, Boston is among the world’s top Life Sciences hubs. The greater Boston area is home to five leading National Institutes of Health-funded hospitals and boasts the highest per-capita government biotech funding in the country. Life Sciences companies in Massachusetts raised a record high of more than $13 billion in 2021. The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center offers a tax incentive program and has awarded more than $241 million to relevant companies in the state.

Advanced Manufacturing & Robotics

Robotics companies employ more than 4,700 people. In July 2021, accelerator The Founder Institute announced partnerships with NASA Ames Research Center and MassRobotics for a Founder Institute AI & Robotics Accelerator program in Boston. Digital surgery company Activ Surgical has raised a total of $85.4 million over five rounds, and Realtime Robotics raised a total of $47.2 million over five rounds. In September 2021, Locus Robotics raised a further $50 million, taking its total funding to around $300 million and making the company a unicorn.

Reasons to Move Your Startup to Boston

Funding Research & Development

Several institutions outside of the universities also invest heavily in R&D in the Boston area. CARB-X pledged to invest up to $550 million in antibacterial R&D between 2016 and 2021, while restaurant technology company Toast is set to invest $1 billion in hardware and software R&D over five years.

Support and Mentorship

Boston’s strong track record of success means newer founders can access abundant support and mentorship from experienced entrepreneurs. Established ecosystem members are willing to share advice on what it takes to grow a company, as well as connect founders to suppliers, financing, employees, and more.

Tech Talent

The Boston region is home to around 60 colleges and universities, including world-leading institutions Harvard and MIT. The particular focus on engineering at many of these universities produces a steady flow of highly qualified engineers. It’s no surprise then that Boston made the top 10 markets in the U.S. and Canada for technology talent, according to CBRE’s 2021 Scoring Tech Talent report.


Selected Startup Organizations

Startup Genome
Partners

4GenNow
Cambridge Innovation Center
Capital network
Mass Challenge
Pitchfull

Get connected

Are you interested in diving deeper into this ecosystem? Drop us a message. Our Ambassadors and Partners can plug you in.