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Top 10 Tech Cities in 2024: Data-driven analysis of tech firm HQs

Updated on Jan 2
5 min read
Written by
Gulbahar Karatas
Gulbahar Karatas
Gulbahar Karatas
Gülbahar is an AIMultiple industry analyst focused on web data collection, applications of web data and application security.

She is a frequent user of the products that she researches. For example, she is part of AIMultiple's web data benchmark team that has been annually measuring the performance of top 9 web data infrastructure providers.

She previously worked as a marketer in U.S. Commercial Service.

Gülbahar has a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration and Management.
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Top 10 Tech Cities in 2024: Data-driven analysis of tech firm HQsTop 10 Tech Cities in 2024: Data-driven analysis of tech firm HQs

AIMultiple team adheres to the ethical standards summarized in our research commitments.

The strength of a tech ecosystem is relevant for many:

  • entrepreneurs starting or expanding their businesses
  • VCs identifying ventures to invest in
  • employees looking for the right place to start or grow their careers

Due to factors like history, regulations, etc., some cities have significantly stronger tech ecosystems. And once a city has a strong ecosystem, it is easier for that city to stay strong since successful entrepreneurs and investors tend to invest into companies in the cities where they themselves got successful. This is referred to as the network effect.

We have built a data driven approach to identify the top cities for tech companies. Feel free to review our prioritized list of high tech cities. In this article, we also compared our list of top cities with any other available list on the same topic. Explore the top tech cities:

AIMultipleStartup GenomeInnovation Cities ProgramFDi Intelligence
San FranciscoSilicon ValleyTokyoLondon
New YorkNew York CityBostonParis
LondonLondonNew YorkDublin
BostonBeijingSydneyAmsterdam
AustinTel Aviv - JerusalemSingaporeBerlin
ChicagoLos AngelesDallas-Fort WorthMunich
ParisShanghaiSeoulBucharest
Los AngelesSeattleHoustonBarcelona
SeattleStockholmChicagoBelfast
TorontoWashington DCParisCambridge

How did we create this ranking?

We had a few factors:

  • Popularity of the city as a tech hub. We track sources like social media and search engines and identified how frequently people associate this city with technology companies and startups.
  • A holistic assessment of the products of the companies in that city. We use every available data (e.g. popularity, online reviews, number of employees etc.) on companies on our database to understand their market presence and momentum. The cities’ score was refined using the scores of companies in that city.

Our data is not perfect though.

  • Our data coverage in China is growing but still lagging behind Europe and US. Therefore, as of now, China is underrepresented in our analysis.
  • Our coverage is purely focused on B2B tech. We do not cover B2C companies. Therefore our coverage is more suitable for stakeholders interested in building, working at or investing in B2B tech companies.

What are the top tech cities in the world?

San Francisco, US

San Francisco has long been described as a city of innovation and entrepreneurship, thanks to its investment opportunities, research and development centers, and its proximity to Silicon Valley, the world’s largest and most renowned technological hub. Since the 1950s, the US government’s significant investments in basic and applied research in the Bay Area have enabled the development of science and technology, as well as the development of innovation and entrepreneurship.

There are numerous data points that point to San Fransisco & Silicon Valley’s leading status in innovation in the US:

  • According to our database, in San Francisco, where the total population is 865k, there are 198 startups/100k and 258 high-tech companies/100k population according to our database. it is the most innovative city based on the popularity of high-tech companies headquartered there. 
  • Big tech like Twitter, Uber, and Square are established in this city
  • It has one of the largest VC ecosystems in the world and has the largest share of VC investments in the US which is globally the largest VC market

However, other US cities are also increasing their level of innovation, the funding that goes to the Bay Area has been decreasing as a share of total US VC deals as seen below.

A screenshot displaying Bay Area's total venture capital deals with respect to the national average.

Source: Pitchbook

New York, US

New York is the 2nd most innovative city based on the popularity of high-tech companies based there, according to our database. There are 1.9k emerging tech companies and 1.3k emerging tech startups headquartered in New York.

According to the 2020 Global Startup Ecosystem Report (GSER) by Startup Genome, New York City has

  • a technology sector value of $147 million.
  • the highest number of AI and Machine learning positions in a single metro area
  • 73 Fortune companies based in the city and more than 100 incubators and accelerators.

Boston, US

There are 80 high-tech companies/100k population in Boston. According to the commercial real estate company Commercial Real Estate Services, CBRE’s report,  Boston is the sixth-largest market technology graduate in North America.

A scorecard ranking for different cities in America.

Chicago, US

Chicago launched the TECHicago and the Come Back to Move Forward campaign to increase the number of local tech professionals and strengthen its ecosystem. Many technology companies such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft, LinkedIn have expanded their Chicago offices.

Paris, France

There are 20 high-tech companies/100k population in Paris. France has been supporting tech startups over the last decade. For example, the French tech visa makes it easy to set up a company in France as an immigrant entrepreneur.

Paris is by far the largest French city in terms of both population and economic impact. STATION F which claims to be the world’s biggest startup campus, includes many French businesses, business schools, and 30 different incubation/acceleration programs run by big tech like Facebook, Ubisoft, and Microsoft was founded in 2017 in Paris.

As a result of these initiatives, the VC investments in Paris have been growing with a CAGR of 34%.

An screen shot displaying annual venture capital deals across different European cities.

Seattle, US

Seattle has a few advantages compared to other US cities:

  • Washington state where Seattle is located does not collect personal or corporate income tax or capital gains tax.
  • Like San Francisco, Seattle imposes a gross tax on local businesses, but the rate for tech companies is roughly half that of San Francisco.
  • Alongside Microsoft and Amazon headquarters, Google Cloud has relocated most of its engineering team to Seattle.

Toronto, Canada

There are 15 high-tech companies/100k population in Toronto. According to rankings from CBRE, Toronto remained Canada’s top Tech Talent market in the 2022 rankings. The government has shown its support and interest by providing more funding for startups.

What are other sources on tech hubs?

We are not the only resource in ranking different tech hubs. Other companies use different methodologies and you can see how they rank different cities in the table at the top of the article.

GSER by Startup Genome

Data used

Main data components include:

  • surveys and interviews with thousands of participants from different parts of the ecosystem (e.g. startups, policy makers etc.)
  • Online data sources with startup data such as Crunchbase, Pitchbook etc.

Methodology

They use data sources to determine scores in different dimensions for each city. For example, in the performance dimension, they include data on startup success metrics like valuations, fundraise, and exit amounts. They use a weighted average of a few dimensions for their ranking:

  • Performance: 30%
  • Funding: 25%
  • Market Reach: 15%
  • Connectedness: 5%
  • Experience & Talent: 20%
  • Knowledge: 5%

For more details, the team shares a detailed methodology.

FDi Intelligence

This study focuses only in Europe.

76 locations evaluated within the five categories below received a maximum of 10 points according to their importance in the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) decision-making process. The categories were:

Data was collected for 76 locations under five categories:

  • Economic Potential
  • Innovation and Attractiveness
  • FDI Performance
  • Cost-Efficiency
  • Start-up Environment

For more details, the team shares a detailed methodology.

Innovation Cities Program

Cities were evaluated not just within the framework of science and technology but in a more holistic way. The evaluation covered 31 industry segments in these cities. Cities were rated for innovation based on these 3 factors:

  • Cultural Assets
  • Human Infrastructure
  • Networked Markets

For more details, the team shares a detailed methodology.

Our list is by no means perfect but it is still quite informative and achieves this by relying on analyzing B2B tech companies in these cities. We will continue to improve this by improving our coverage of tech companies and expanding our coverage to B2C companies in the next months. If you are part of a tech company, please sign up to our platform to better inform our users.

And if you are a VC looking for tech companies to invest in, we provide a data-driven solution to help you focus on most promising companies.

Further reading

If you are working at an enterprise and are looking for innovative solutions, we can help:

Find the Right Vendors
Gulbahar Karatas
Gülbahar is an AIMultiple industry analyst focused on web data collection, applications of web data and application security. She is a frequent user of the products that she researches. For example, she is part of AIMultiple's web data benchmark team that has been annually measuring the performance of top 9 web data infrastructure providers. She previously worked as a marketer in U.S. Commercial Service. Gülbahar has a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration and Management.

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1 Comments
Gary Wirsching
Dec 31, 2021 at 22:41

Hello Gulbahar,

Good article. If you get a chance, you may want to investigate the twin cities of Kitchener and Waterloo in Ontario, Canada. In 2017, it was cited as a primary candidate to become the largest technological hub in the world – not just Canada; not just North America – the world. If you take a look, we’re really starting to move in that direction.
In 1981, I took a computer programming course here at the University of Waterloo. Our textbook was American, but interestingly, I recall reading in the preface that (at that time) there were only two significant focal points for computer technology in the world: one in ‘Silicone Valley’ in California, U.S.A – and one in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. It’s not often we see an American publication acknowledging the value of a foreign entity – but I remember being mighty proud I was a Canadian, living in the Kitchener-Waterloo area.
Of course, if one looks at the incredibly biased on-line ratings today, the U.S. will usually rate one of their own Universities as the ‘best in the world’ for computer studies, the U.K. will choose one of their own for the top position – as will most other countries. I’m not going to make the same claim, but simply point to a few facts:
…The population of the Region of Waterloo (which includes Kitchener and a few other small communities) is only about 650,000. It’s not a large place.
…Google has a huge presence in downtown Kitchener with the largest R&D centre in the country, and they’re now in the process of (more than) doubling that site.
…The ill-fated Blackberry started up in Waterloo. Though reduced in size, it focuses a little more on software now. In addition, Waterloo Region is the home of almost 2,000 hi-tech companies, including Open Text, Honeywell Aerospace, D2L, Thalmic Labs, Vidyard, and on and on and on.
…The local government touts our area as having “one of the world’s fastest growing tech sectors and the world’s second highest start-up density after Silicon Valley.” But again, they may be showing some bias.
…We are home to two universities: Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Waterloo – both within a kilometer of each other in Waterloo. Research Infosource Inc. has ranked the University of Waterloo the #1 spot, in Canada, for Research (in the ‘Comprehensive’ category) for 13 consecutive years. Annually, just under 5,000 members of the (42,000+) student body are international.
…the city of Waterloo is also home to the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, having once had Steven Hawking as its Distinguished Visiting Research Chair.
…The popular streaming platform Master Class (out of San Francisco) is establishing an engineering hub in the Kitchener-Waterloo region.
…Twenty years ago the U of W opened its impressive Institute for Quantum Computing, and has expanded its facilities and research staff significantly since then.
This little overview merely scratches the surface of the deep technological mass to be found in this community. Just want you to know, for future reference.
Thanks, cheers, and enjoy New Year’s Eve!
gary

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