How can founders maximize their chances of scaling their startup to a $50 million valuation and beyond? How can policymakers better bolster the startups in their ecosystem to increase the likelihood that they reach unicorn status? Since 2011 Startup Genome has dedicated its efforts to developing data-driven evidence about what factors contribute to individual startup and overall ecosystem success. Our research is based on interviews with thousands of startup founders and leaders around the world and is the most comprehensive primary global research available today. In 2011, we surveyed 50,000 founders and leaders in more than 40 countries. Since then, we have built on this foundation with deeper, more focused surveys and continue to conduct thousands of new interviews and surveys each year to ensure our data remains up to date.

We thank the global startup community for its support in making our research possible — the more than 100,000 global startup founders and leaders we have surveyed to date, as well as the governments, innovation agencies, startup support agencies, and ecosystem builders who have helped us understand the realities of building and scaling a startup and enabled us to create an unmatched wealth of data.

We have combined the insights gained from our surveys with additional data, and our research confirms a causal relationship between startup and ecosystem behavior, characteristics, and resources and the performance metrics of the ecosystem. As a result of this research, we have developed the Science of Ecosystem Assessment. We have created numerous research reports and articles based on this approach, including early research on startup Success Factors (“Why Startups Succeed 2011, and Why Startups Fail).

In this report, we are proud to review our startup and ecosystem Success Factor research and apply it in a new way, in a global longitudinal research study that examines factors that differentiate startups that scaled to $50 million and higher valuations from startups that didn’t.