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Philadelphia’s startup ecosystem climbs 15 spots into the top 30 worldwide, report says

From PHL Inno/Business Journal

Philadelphia’s startup ecosystem ranks among the best in the world, reaching No. 28 globally, according to the latest report from research firm Startup Genome.

Startup Genome’s Global Startup Ecosystem Report ranked more than 275 regional ecosystems based on factors like startup growth and activity, innovation and research, capital availability, talent and support for companies. Silicon Valley, London and New York topped the 2021 rankings.

Philadelphia climbed 15 spots in the last year, from No. 43 to No. 28, marking one of the largest jumps on the list. In North America, Philadelphia ranks at No. 13 overall, behind Atlanta and Denver-Boulder — ranked at No. 11 and No. 12, respectively.

Startup Genome uses sources like Crunchbase, Pitchbook, Glassdoor, survey data from 10,000 startup executives, information from local startup accelerators and investors, as well as interviews with more than 100 experts to make its determinations.

The region was highlighted for a high concentration of talent, research, experienced investors and local market reach. The life sciences industry was also touted as an area of significant growth in Greater Philadelphia, as were startups specializing in artificial intelligence and data management.

Philadelphia’s ecosystem saw $994 million in early stage funding over the last two-and-a-half years, according to Startup Genome.

The new ranking comes just a year after Philadelphia was named the top emerging startup ecosystem in the U.S., and a few months after the region smashed its annual venture capital funding record.

“We're finally doing a little better job of letting the world know what we do and what we've done for a long time,” said Scott Nissenbaum, CEO of Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania, a state-backed seed fund.

Philadelphia has long been regarded as an “understated overachiever” when it comes to startups and innovation, Nissenbaum said. Now the region has major strength in technology and cell and gene therapy startups. Spark Therapeutics, for example, was acquired by Roche for $4.3 billion in 2019.

Fast-growing startups and entities like Ben Franklin, the University City Science Center and local universities, are driving recognition and attention to Greater Philadelphia. The region ranked high in Startup Genome’s connectedness category, which takes into account the number of accelerators and incubators, research grants and research and development centers available to startups.

“We’ve always been rowing the boat in the same direction, we just haven’t been rowing the boat in the same boat together,” Nissenbaum said.

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