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Cities: Best of the Midwest

Ranked by M25


A lot can happen in a year - since we first ranked 54 cities in summer 2017, the Midwest's tech economy has continued to rapidly grow. Large funds were raised - from the $150M Rise of the Rest Fund to the $100M HighAlpha Fund II. Duo Security sold for $2.35B. Indiana launched the $250M Next Level Fund, the largest state initiative to invest directly in venture funds. The list of accomplishments is accelerating - just last week Ohio became the third state to make blockchain data legally valid to store electronic records.

In the race to attract, grow and retain tech startups, certain cities will inevitably perform better than others. This year we continued with our goal of helping entities and individuals determine how ecosystems are performing relative to each other. Last year we received a lot of feedback, and after dozens of robust discussions with community leaders across the region we added several new variables and tweaked the importance of others. While there will be no "perfect" way to rank these cities on completely objective terms, we strive to remain as unbiased as possible, and continue to invite your comments and ideas as we will undoubtedly refine and improve each year. But for now, we are pleased to present, the 2018 Best of the Midwest: Startup Cities Rankings!

How the rankings were calculated

Startup Activity

A measure of how active the tech community in the city is, and the size and quality of the network available to a new startup. It considers factors such as the number of startups present, the number of exits and (one of the new additions this year) the growth in startup activity and the scale of outcomes (both large exits and large fundraises).

Data comes directly from Pitchbook.

Access To Resources

A measure of how supportive the city's environment is, and the value-add it can provide to help a startup grow. It considers factors such as the quality of the talent, investor activity, accelerators, universities and government support.

Data comes from about a dozen different sources, including the US Census, US Patent Office, Pitchbook, US News & World Report and the Seed Accelerator Rankings Project.

Business Climate

A measure of how conducive the city's economic environment is to attract and scale a business. It includes factors such as the cost of living, labor costs, population and GDP per capita. This year we added a "Connectivity" subcategory here, which measures the quality of airport and highway infrastructure.

Data comes from several sources, including the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the US Census, the Tax Foundation, the Bureau of Economic Analysis and Google Flights.

See the Cities



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