Global startups - Statistics & Facts

Many of the world’s most valuable companies had humble beginnings as startups. In the olden days it was extremely difficult to create a large and successful business without a tremendous amount of capital to open a factory or buy a fleet of trading vessels, for instance. But today, groundbreaking innovations can occur in a basement, a garage, or a college dorm. As a result, new startups pop up every day all around the world, each of them hoping to get acquired by a larger company or make it big in their own right. However, for every wildly successful startup, there are thousands which fall into obscurity, which is why startups valued at a billion dollars or more are facetiously referred to as “unicorns”, a reference to their elusiveness. As of June 2018, the most valuable startup worldwide was the ride-sharing app Uber, which was valued at 68 billion U.S. dollars.

Although most of the top valued startups are based in the United States or China, Latin America and the Caribbean is currently the most active world region for startups. Approximately a third of the population of Ecuador is involved in a business start up, compared to about 13 percent in the United States. Lebanon, Vietnam, and Estonia also boast high levels of early entrepreneurial activity.

Investment in startups has become very popular in recent years, with more and more investors recognizing the potential fortune to be made from supporting the right startup. Between 2012 and 2017, startup funding across all industries grew by at least 50 percent, with some industries like advanced manufacturing and robotics reporting nearly 1,400 percent more funding in 2017 than 2012. In 2013, the total funding for artificial intelligence startups amounted to about 1.7 billion U.S. dollars, which grew to over 15 billion dollars by 2017.

Although it takes a team to create a successful startup, it is not uncommon for the media to fixate on the founder or the head of a successful start up, such as Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, or Mark Zuckerberg to name a few. Harvard University and Standard University have the highest number of alumni who founded unicorns worldwide.

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Startups worldwide - Important statistics

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