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The 20 Hottest Startup Hubs In America

Silicon Valley is the most famous place for startups to thrive, but it’s far from the only one. A
recent reportfrom the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation took a look at what areas of the United States had the highest density of high-tech startups.

It broke down which metro areas have seen a rapid rise in the number of startups, and which are coasting on a strong base. Silicon Valley’s dominance isn’t surprising, but perhaps more so is the rapid rise of places like Kansas City, Portland, and Salt Lake City.

Interestingly, the strongest influence on startup density isn’t a strong research university in the area, but a concentration of established companies that help spin them off.

19. New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner, La.

1990 rank: Outside of top 20

Top companies: iSeatz.com, Kickboard, Entergy

In the aftermath of Katrina, there's been a flood of young, ambitious, and driven people hoping to help reinvent the city. As a result, many more people are starting companies there than ever before, and an increasing infrastructure is being built to support them. There's still a long way to go though.

17. Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, Ga.

1990 rank: 20

Top companies: Cox, IBM, Earthlink, First Data, Pindrop

Atlanta's making a concerted effort to move past the one business fact everyone knows about it -- that it's the home of Coca Cola -- and build itself up as a technology hub. 70 per cent of the country's credit card payments are processed in the area due to a high concentration of payment centres.

16. Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach-Deerfield Beach, Fla.

1990 rank: 18

Top companies: Citrix, Heico

Fort Lauderdale is thought of as more of a vacation destination than tech hub, but leading software company Citrix has been based there for well over 20 years.

14. Dallas-Plano-Irving, Texas

1990 rank: 5

Top companies: Texas Instruments, AT&T, Genband

Dallas hosts the third-largest concentration of Fortune 500 headquarters in the country, and its 'telecom corridor' is home to nearly 6,000 companies.

12. Wilmington, Del.

1990 rank: Outside of top 20

Top companies: DuPont, Bank of America, AstraZeneca, Incyte

Delaware's one of the most business-friendly states, from a legal perspective, in the entire country, which is why it's the home of a huge variety of payment and financial firms. Many large companies who aren't based there at least maintain a presence.

11. Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton, Ore.

1990 rank: Outside of top 20

Top companies: Elemental Technologies, Jive Software, Puppet Labs, Intel

Portland has emerged as more than just an (occasionally mocked) cultural hub. It's also an increasingly vibrant startup hub, with companies that reflect the city's unique culture. Eleven startups in the area collaborated on a video highlighting a shared culture in the startup scene and are working together to recruit talent to the city.

10. Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos, Texas

1990 rank: 3

Top companies: AT&T, Dell, RetailMeNot, HomeAway, Bazaarvoice

Austin has a young, educated population, and has had a vibrant startup community for years with heavy VC funding, particularly in the software and semiconductor space. The relatively low cost of living, coupled with an excellent music and restaurant scene make it easy to convince people to relocate there.

9. Bethesda-Frederick-Rockville, Md.

1990 rank: 2

Top companies: Lockheed Martin, Westat, National Institutes of Health Headquarters

Bethesda benefits from proximity to both Washington D.C. and Baltimore, and is one of the country's most affluent and highly educated cities.

8. Raleigh-Cary, N.C.

1990 rank:11

Top companies: Red Hat, SAS Institute

The Raleigh area forms one corner of the Research Triangle, which is home to everything from tech startups to massive pharmaceutical companies like GlaxoSmithKline, Biogen, and Merck, as well as tech giants like IBM.

There's a huge concentration of education institutions in the area as well, including the University of North Carolina, Duke, and North Carolina State, which helps provide a steady stream of talent.

6. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, D.C./Va.

1990 rank: 10

Top companies: Living Social, Opower, Blackboard, Everfi

Let someone know you live in D.C., and they'll pretty much immediately assume you're an employee of the government or the massive apparatus that's grown up around it.

But there's actually a surprisingly vibrant tech scene, drawn from the broad base of resources, talent and potential customers, like the government's funding of high research, and the growing technological intensity of defence contracting and IT security.

5. Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, Wash.

1990 rank: 12

Top companies: Amazon, Microsoft, Redfin, Payscale

Seattle has one of the most robust tech foundations of anywhere outside of the Bay Area. Giants like Amazon and Microsoft mean that there's a large concentration of extremely bright people from a variety of fields who go on to start their own companies.

Many Silicon Valley companies open up offices there to take advantage of the talent.

4. Denver-Aurora-Broomfield, Colo.

1990 rank: 9

Top companies: Paysimple, Associated Content, Photobucket, Closely

Nearby Boulder was actually named as the No. 1 startup city in America in another recent ranking. The presence of a young, educated workforce helps, as does a state government that's put a particular emphasis on encouraging the local startup community.

The venture capital fund Foundry Group and its influential founder Brad Feld have been a significant booster of startups in the region as well.

3. Cambridge-Newton-Framingham, Mass.

1990 rank: 6

Top companies: HubSpot, uTest, Akamai, offices for Twitter, Google, Facebook, and Box

A lot of brilliant people come out of the Cambridge area from Harvard and MIT alone. More and more of them are starting companies right there rather than decamping for California, and the area has one of the strongest venture capital environments around.

Not on the list, but still great:

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