Northern California is still the centre of the start-up world but a number of cities outside Silicon Valley are rapidly growing their ecosystem by helping new companies to launch, grow and succeed

tech start ups

When it comes to starting a company, there’s no place outside Silicon Valley that can truly match the world’s most prolific tech hub, which is home to the likes of Google, Amazon and Facebook.

But a new study has shown how that could be changing, with a number of cities around the world rapidly staking a more compelling claim as the right place for start-ups. has analysed the various ingredients which make up the recipe for a perfect tech hub, from internet speeds to the number of investors, and identified the top 22 locations.

No cities from the UK, Germany or France feature, while Israel has two out of the top ten and the US is home to the top three, but not in the places you might expect.

The best places to start a business outside Silicon Valley

Boulder, Colorado (1st – Total score: 7.39)


  • Average speed: 51mbps
  • Number of people per WiFi hotspot: six
  • Unique IP addresses per 1,000 people: 4,911.96


  • Start-ups: 859
  • Average valuation: $4.3m (£3.25m)
  • Number of investors: 5,375


  • Cost of living: 83.19/100
  • Average rent: $1250 (£944) pcm
  • Infrastructure score: 4.15/5
outside silicon valley
Boulder, Colorado (Credit: Flickr, Pedro Szekely)

Boulder has the second best internet of the cities on the list, second only to Houston, Texas, but also ranks high for cost of living.

Notable start-ups in the city include Audienced, which goes by the maxim “Kickstarter meets Ticketmaster”, and attempts to eliminate the financial costs associated with event organising of any kind.

Johannesburg, South Africa (20th – Total Score 2.9)


  • Average speed: 4mbps
  • Number of people per WiFi hotspot: 50
  • Unique IP addresses per 1,000 people: 417.67


  • Start-ups: 408
  • Average valuation: $3.6m (£2.67m)
  • Number of investors: 1,234


  • Cost of living: 50.02/100
  • Average rent: $416 (£132) pcm
  • Infrastructure score: 3.78/5
outside silicon valley
Johannesburg, South Africa (Credit: Wikipedia)

Johannesburg’s poor internet speed cost the city a higher place on the list, with an otherwise cheap cost of living, high infrastructure score and considerable average start-up valuation.

It is home to Quainted, a start-up that serves as a corporate social network and measures leadership styles, trust, culture and engagement to help companies visualise the “social web” of their business and maximise productivity.

Bangalore, India (11th – Total score 4.67)


  • Average speed: 11mbps
  • Number of people per WiFi hotspot: 137
  • Unique IP addresses per 1,000 people: 28.78


  • Start-ups: 7,504
  • Average valuation: $3.4m (£2.6m)
  • Number of investors: 6,236


  • Cost of living: 30.34/100
  • Average rent: $230 (£174) pcm
  • Infrastructure score: 3.34/5
outside silicon valley
Karnataka State Assembly, Bangalore, India (Credit: Wikipedia)

Bangalore has among the highest number of start-ups and investors outside Silicon Valley, in addition to an ultra-low cost of living, but suffers for internet speed.

One of its many new companies is Venturesity, which acts as a new age online university aimed at solving the global talent shortage by creating a talent pool using specialised faculty and curricula.

Santiago, Chile (19th – Total score: 3.28)


  • Average speed: 8mbps
  • Number of people per WiFi hotspot: 49
  • Unique IP addresses per 1,000 people: 433.02


  • Start-ups: 1,201
  • Average valuation: $3.4m (£2.6m)
  • Number of investors: 3,111


  • Cost of living: 56.83/100
  • Average rent: $613 (£463) pcm
  • Infrastructure score: 3.11/5
outside silicon valley
Santiago, Chile (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

The benefits of Santiago’s low living costs are mitigated by it’s relatively poor infrastructure score, but it boasts a large number of start-ups and investors.

One such company is Lean Train, which creates employee training lessons “as easy to use as Powerpoint”, which can be used on-the-go with smartphones.


Stockholm, Sweden (5th – Total score: 6.31)


  • Average speed: 42mbps
  • Number of people per WiFi hotspot: 11
  • Unique IP addresses per 1,000 people: 3,336.36


  • Start-ups: 836
  • Average valuation: $3.7m (£2.8m)
  • Number of investors: 3,109


  • Cost of living: 90.85/100
  • Average rent: $1,248 (£942) pcm
  • Infrastructure score: 4.27/5
outside silicon valley
Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm has one of the best internet speeds outside Silicon Valley along with a high infrastructure score, but it lacks for investors compared with other cities near the top of the list.

One of the city’s most promising start-ups is Chormawallet, which uses a platform called Coloured Coins as a way to use the bitcoin infrastructure to trade anything that has value, from gold to art, in addition to money.