Techstars survey finds emerging global tech hubs gaining influence

Maëlle Gavet, Chief Executive Officer of Techstars
Maëlle Gavet, Chief Executive Officer of Techstars

Techstars, one of the largest pre–seed investors in the world, recently released the results of its inaugural survey on the state of innovation within the global early-stage startup ecosystem. Entitled “Techstars 2023 State of Innovation Survey,” the report features insights based on the survey responses of more than 1,600 current, past and aspiring entrepreneurs and venture capital investors on how they view innovation on their home turf and around the whole world.

What were the key findings of Techstars’ survey?

The Techstars research revealed that while entrepreneurs and VCs surveyed still view Silicon Valley as the most innovative global hub today, its influence is expected to decline over the next five years. Asked to select up to five hubs, close to two-thirds (63%) of respondents identified Silicon Valley as the most innovative hub today. However, when asked which hubs will be the most innovative in five years’ time, Silicon Valley’s share dips to under half (45%).

Key findings from the results of the Techstars 2023 State of Innovation Survey include:

  • Regions: The majority of entrepreneurs and VCs surveyed (51%) consider Asia-Pacific (APAC) to be the most innovative region outside of the U.S. today, suggesting that APAC could soon challenge the historic dominance of the U.S.
  • Sectors: Nearly half of the entrepreneurs and VCs we surveyed predict that five years from now, HealthTech (51%) and Sustainability (44%) will be the two most innovative fields, indicative of the way founders are increasingly pursuing many of the biggest challenges of our era – from health and longevity to climate change and food resilience.
  • Firestarters: Innovation takes an ecosystem. Only one-quarter (26%) of respondents believe that VCs and angel investors will be the biggest driver of innovation over the next five years, with no single force or influence – such as governments or corporates – emerging as the dominant factor.
  • Founders’ Attitudes: Companies have been staying private for longer, and our survey confirms this trend with more than one-quarter (28%) of entrepreneurs saying their long-term goal is to remain private/independent. By comparison, just 16% are targeting an IPO and 7% are targeting an acquisition by private equity.

What were the executive remarks about the survey?

“Against a backdrop of ongoing market flux, the results of our Techstars 2023 State of Innovation Survey reflect the shift away from traditional U.S. dominance of innovation, towards a multipolar age in which tech entrepreneurship flourishes around the entire globe – a trend which is underscored by our respondents’ conviction that Africa will leapfrog Western Europe this year by producing more startups,” said Maëlle Gavet, Chief Executive Officer of Techstars.

“With today’s investors being able to source deal-flow worldwide and entrepreneurs able to build businesses from anywhere around the world, it is not surprising to us that we are seeing the potency of a single technology hub, such as Silicon Valley, recede. The results of our Innovation survey reaffirm that outstanding entrepreneurial talent is thriving all around the world, and also that innovation requires the support of an entire competitive ecosystem.”

“We expect competing forces to shape the innovation market in the next months. The collapse and fallout of Silicon Valley Bank has made what was already a tight fundraising environment tighter. Unable to fundraise or raise venture debt, some founders will simply run out of road.”

“Conversely, the wave of layoffs across the tech industry will help create a boom in early-stage innovation, as significant numbers of laid-off workers become entrepreneurs. We are seeing increasing numbers of applicants to our programs tackling the biggest challenges of our lifetime in areas like HealthTech, Sustainability and resilience of food supply,” added Gavet.


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