Where are the best Midwestern cities for startups?

By August 2, 2018

A new top-50 ranking from venture firm M25, which invests only in Midwest-based companies, compiled the best cities in the region for startups. Chicago topped the “Best of the Midwest” list because of its wide-ranging access to resources and impressive portfolio of existing startup activity. In second place was Minneapolis, which was recently recognized as the best place for tech talent in the Midwest by another survey.

“It’s no secret the Midwest tech scene is booming – and each city is constantly touting its chops as they strive to become the next Silicon Valley,” the M25 researchers wrote of their regional rankings. “As each ecosystem’s startup economy is rapidly growing, it can be difficult to discern a mere rising tide versus standout success. So we combed through the data to determine the ecosystems that are maximizing the tech renaissance – and understand why some are lagging behind.”

In terms of methodology, M25 heads said they used dozens of different deciding factors when ranking where the best cities for startups are.

“We took 52 startup cities in the Midwest — cities that have measurable startup data — and we ranked them in this project where we looked at 40 different variables objectively and weighted those variables for what we thought were high-quality startup ecosystems,” managing director Victor Gutwein said recently.

One of the major factors that went into the measurement was the portfolio and success of existing startups in the city. That’s why major cities with built-up infrastructures of flourishing business fared well in the rankings.

Pittsburgh (3rd) and St. Louis (4th) joined the top rankings and Ohio’s three largest cities rounded out the top-7 of the list. Indianapolis, Milwaukee and Madison completed the top-10.

In terms of states, both Ohio and Illinois fared the best as they each boasted eight cities or areas that appeared on the rankings.

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