If you need evidence that Houston's startup ecosystem is flourishing, look no further than a new report from Startup Genome and the Global Entrepreneurship Network.
This year's Global Startup Ecosystem Report, released September 22, places Houston at No. 19 among the world's top 100 emerging startup ecosystems. Furthermore, it puts Houston at No. 4 among the top regional challengers in North America. Last year's report lumped Houston with other emerging startup ecosystems in the 31-to-40 ranking range.
Mumbai, India, appears at No. 1 among the world's top 100 emerging startup ecosystems this year, while Miami lands at No. 1 among the top regional challengers in North America.
According to Houston Exponential, the city's startup ecosystem "is experiencing a growth spurt that appears to show no signs of abating."
Case in point: Houston startups raised more than $1 billion in the first six months of 2021, surpassing all annual totals from previous years. In 2020, Houston startups reaped a record-high $753 million in venture capital.
"Venture capital invested in Houston startups has nearly quadrupled since 2016," according to a recent Houston Exponential report. "The sustained level of progress we've seen in startup formation and growth over the past four years shows that Houston has what it takes to build a vibrant, healthy innovation economy with an emphasis on equity."
Collectively, the health care and information technology sectors accounted for nearly 60 percent of Houston's VC deals in the first half of 2021, the report says.
Another sign of the expansion of Houston's startup ecosystem: the rising number of workspaces, incubators, and accelerators designed to foster startups.
"These key institutions create density and drive collisions among founders, investors, and talent, significantly increasing the rate of startup formation and growth," according to the Greater Houston Partnership.
Those institutions include The Ion entrepreneurial hub, the Greentown Labs climate-tech incubator, and the DivInc startup accelerator. All are new arrivals on the Houston startup scene.
"DivInc is about broadening the startup ecosystem by making it more authentically diverse, equitable, and inclusive of underrepresented entrepreneurs," Preston James II, CEO of DivInc, said in April. "When we, as a community, do this successfully, we optimize our opportunities for economic GDP growth, we can help reduce racial/gender wealth divide, and drive greater innovation."
Elsewhere in Texas, Austin ranks 20th among the leading startup ecosystems in the Global Startup Ecosystem Report, down from No. 19 last year, and Dallas repeats its 31st-place tie. Silicon Valley tops the global list.
The report says North America represents half of the top 30 ecosystems in the world.
"Entrepreneurs, policymakers, and community leaders in North America have been working hard to build inclusive innovation ecosystems that are engines of economic growth and job creation for all," JF Gauthier, founder and CEO of Startup Genome, says in a news release.
San Francisco-based Startup Genome is a research and advisory firm specializing in startup ecosystems.