United States

Boston #5

Boston is home to a buzzing startup ecosystem across many sectors—cleantech, biotech, and robotics. We strongly believe that our regional community thrives because of all the stakeholders that are committed to supporting local, early-stage companies.

Dr. Emily Reichert
CEO at Greentown Labs
#4 Global Ecosystem: Talent & Experience
Top 5 Global Ecosystem: Funding
Top 5 Global Ecosystem: Performance


Boston is home to exceptional tech talent and a storied history of innovation, particularly in biotech, but what really sets the city’s startup ecosystem apart is its positive climate for women. In Massachusetts generally the number of women in tech grew at a 21.4% rate between 2009 and 2013, putting the state second nationally by this measure. In Boston specifically, 29% of startup founders are female, second only to Chicago, according to the Global Startup Ecosystem Ranking report. The leaders of several local ecosystem standouts such as Care.com are female, and when a local journalist recently attempted to pull together an exhaustive list of Boston startups led by women that raised venture funding in the previous decade, the crowdsourced effort came up with 164 women at 154 companies. The prominence of female founders shows up in the statistics on where VC dollars are going. According to Alice Rossiter, founder of live stream experience startup Alice’s Table, in Boston more than 10% of companies “invested in by some top venture capital firms are women founded.” Crunchbase puts the figure at 9%. Whichever number is correct, both favorably compare to a national average of 3% of VC dollars going to female founders. Boston is also home to several women-founded venture capital firms like Boston Seed Capital, Victress Capital, and Glasswing Ventures.

Ecosystem by the numbers

$6.4 bn
$548 m
$133 bn
$13.68 bn
$1000 k
$480 k
$6 m
$3 m
$90.8 k
$44 k

Sub-Sector Strengths

Life Sciences

Boston has more than 1,100 Life Sciences companies, seven teaching hospitals, and five of the top six NIH-funded independent hospitals in the U.S. MLSC runs a $1 billion Life Sciences Initiative, which provides research grants, accelerator loans, tax incentives, etc. Boston Biotech companies pulled in a little over $616 million in total in March 2021. Notable successes include cancer early detection startup Mercy BioAnalytics’s $27.3 million raise in January 2021, and machine learning based pharma company Reverie Labs’s $25 million Series A round in February 2021.

Advanced Manufacturing & Robotics

Boston has access to world-class talent from institutions like MIT and Harvard. Robotics companies employ more than 4,700 people. The city is also bringing more access to technology in classrooms through makerspaces and 3D printing facilities. The sub-sector had a strong start to the year, with Locus Robotics now a unicorn after its $150 million Series E raised in February, followed by another $50 million Series A round in September.

Reasons to move your startup to Boston

Tech Talent

The Boston region is home to around 60 colleges and universities, including world-leading institutions such as Harvard and MIT. 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 annual “Scoring Tech Talent” report. The particular focus on engineering at many of these universities produces a steady flow of highly qualified engineers for area startups.

Access to Venture Capital

Boston, just behind Silicon Valley, consistently ranks towards the top of lists of most venture capital invested per capita in the U.S. The city is also home to many angel and super angel groups, creating a broad range of seed stage funding options for founders.

Funding Research and 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.

Startup Community

Startup Genome

Cambridge Innovation Center
Capital network
Mass Challenge

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