Ending Soon! Save 33% on All Access

10 Cities With the Hottest Startup Activity A new report from the Kauffman Foundation pinpoints where you'll find the most startup opportunity across the country.

By Nina Zipkin

Camilo Morales | Getty Images

If you think you'll have to move to the Bay Area to get a foothold in the startup world, think again.

This week, the Kauffman Foundation released its annual Startup Activity Index that explores the state of entrepreneurship across the United States. According to the data assembled in the report, the home of Google, Facebook and Twitter doesn't even crack the top 10. Neither does Amazon and Microsoft's hometown of Seattle.

Related: The 10 Best Cities for Retirement

Of the 40 cities ranked in the report, researchers found that from 2016 to 2017, the cities that had the biggest boost in startup activity were , St. Louis, Cincinnati and San Antonio, while Nashville, Tenn., Baltimore and Columbus, Ohio, saw their activity rates decline. The bottom five on the list were Philadelphia, Minneapolis, Indianapolis, Milwaukee and Pittsburgh.

The report weighed three factors when assessing each city's fitness as a startup hub: the rate of new entrepreneurs; the opportunity share of new entrepreneurs (which is the percentage of business owners who left who minimum wage and salaried gigs, other labor market statuses and school to start their companies); and startup density, or the number of startups out of every 1,000 businesses in the area.

Read on for the top 10 ranked cities.

roberto bowyer | Getty Images

Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach

Rank 2016: 2

Rate of new entrepreneurs: 0.56 percent

Opportunity share of new entrepreneurs : 81.09 percent

Startup density: 107.8

John Cabuena Flipintex Fotod | Getty Images

Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos

Rank 2016: 1

Rate of new entrepreneurs: 0.51 percent

Opportunity share of new entrepreneurs : 84.73 percent

Startup density: 104.5

Daniel Viñé Garcia | Getty Images

Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana

Rank 2016: 3

Rate of new entrepreneurs: 0.56 percent

Opportunity share of new entrepreneurs : 80.03 percent

Startup density: 92.3

sandiegoa | Getty Images

San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos

Rank 2016: 11

Rate of new entrepreneurs: 0.49 percent

Opportunity share of new entrepreneurs : 82.54 percent

Startup density: 95.9

Chris Sattlberger | Getty Images

Las Vegas-Paradise

Rank 2016: 5

Rate of new entrepreneurs: 0.42 percent

Opportunity share of new entrepreneurs : 81.93 percent

Startup density: 120.7

traveler1116 | Getty Images

San Antonio-New Braunfels

Rank 2016: 14

Rate of new entrepreneurs: 0.38 percent

Opportunity share of new entrepreneurs : 89.97 percent

Startup density: 87.2

Predrag Vuckovic | Getty Images

New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island

Rank 2016: 7

Rate of new entrepreneurs: 0.41 percent

Opportunity share of new entrepreneurs : 84.43 percent

Startup density: 86.5

Matt Mawson | Getty Images


Rank 2016: 10

Rate of new entrepreneurs: 0.38 percent

Opportunity share of new entrepreneurs : 87.15 percent

Startup density: 92.1

Shobeir Ansari | Getty Images

Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown

Rank 2016: 6

Rate of new entrepreneurs: 0.40 percent

Opportunity share of new entrepreneurs : 81.93 percent

Startup density: 92.6

gcosoveanu | Getty Images


Rank 2016: 8

Rate of new entrepreneurs: 0.39 percent

Opportunity share of new entrepreneurs : 82.87 percent

Startup density: 92.3

Nina Zipkin

Entrepreneur Staff

Staff Writer. Covers leadership, media, technology and culture.

Nina Zipkin is a staff writer at Entrepreneur.com. She frequently covers leadership, media, tech, startups, culture and workplace trends.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.


How a $10,000 Investment in AI Transformed My Career and Business Strategy

A bold $10,000 investment in AI and machine learning education fundamentally transformed my career and business strategy. Here's how adaption in the ever-evolving realm of AI — with the right investment in education, personal growth and business innovation — can transform your business.

Side Hustle

These Brothers Had 'No Income' When They Started a 'Low-Risk, High-Reward' Side Hustle to Chase a Big Dream — Now They've Surpassed $50 Million in Revenue

Sam Lewkowict, co-founder and CEO of men's grooming brand Black Wolf Nation, knows what it takes to harness the power of side gig for success.

Starting a Business

How to Find the Right Programmers: A Brief Guideline for Startup Founders

For startup founders under a plethora of challenges like timing, investors and changing market demand, it is extremely hard to hire programmers who can deliver.

Business Ideas

63 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.


How to Break Free From the Cycle of Overthinking and Master Your Mind

Discover the true cost of negative thought loops — and practical strategies for nipping rumination in the bud.

Science & Technology

3 Major Mistakes Companies Are Making With AI That Is Limiting Their ROI

With so many competing narratives around the future of AI, it's no wonder companies are misaligned on the best approach for integrating it into their organizations.