Columbus and St. Louis rank as top two rising cities for startups in Forbes poll

By October 3, 2018

Two of the most important cities in the Midwest are being recognized for their up-and-coming startup scenes. Both Columbus and St. Louis ranked at the top of a Monday poll from Forbes titled “The Top 10 Rising Cities For Startups.”

Fellow Midwestern cities Cincinnati (6th) and Minneapolis – St. Paul (9th) were also featured on the list that saw four cities from the region in total.

In connection with Moody’s Analytics, Pitchbook and the Kauffman Foundation, the survey examined metrics like education level, VC investments, and entrepreneurship rates. Researchers also factored in a variety of metrics related to costs of business and of living.

To end up with rising cities, the data purposefully did not account for the top metro areas that had received VC funding for the past three years like New York, San Francisco, and Chicago.

Ohio’s capital city was noted for the high amount of funds per capita, allowing it to rank first overall in the poll.

“Columbus has created meaningful partnerships between accelerators, government, corporate incumbents and startups,” Tony Franco of Columbus’ SafeChain Financial told Forbes. “The benefits are real today, and go beyond the marketing hype many cities claim when they say they are startup friendly.”

Columbus further benefits from having one of the country’s largest campuses in its city with Ohio State University and the researchers noted that the city is doing a better job of keeping that graduating talent from migrating elsewhere.

For its part, St. Louis was recognized for a lower cost of doing business than the national average and a fast increasing rate of VC investments pouring into the city. The three-year VC investment mark is at $671 million, which is almost double that of Columbus.

Cincinnati was acknowledged for raking in $100 million in VC funding, which is a tally that would have been unthinkable a few years ago.

And the twin cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul may be a bit more expensive than the national average, but they are sought after for their deep connections to food and agricultural companies that give food startups a leg’s up.

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