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The Future of Work

The State Of The Most Influential Startups On Earth

Here's what you didn't know about the global startup scene.

  • <p>Silicon Valley may rule, but the countries with the most startups may surprise you.</p>
  • <p>High honors go to Uganda and Thailand, which both have the largest number of adults starting their own businesses.</p>
  • <p>Did you know that startups can apply for equity-free grants in Ecuador, and Ireland will fast-track a visa for a founder who wants to start a business there?</p>
  • <p>Cost of living can make or break a bootstrapping effort. Silicon Valley prices out a lot of startups, but Nairobi and Bengaluru each cost less than $1,000 per month.</p>
  • <p>Familiar names like MailChimp, Eventbrite and Issuu top the list of biggest players on the tech scene.</p>
  • <p>Unicorns like Uber, Xiaomi, and Airbnb are all valued at over $1 billion by venture capital firms.</p>
  • <p>Unicorn companies worth over a billion dollars combined are still valued at less ($503 billion) than tech juggernaut Apple ($634.8 billion).</p>
  • <p>France's Bla Bla Car and Germany's HelloFresh are new inductees to the billion-dollar club, but keep an eye on SoFi, Datastax, and cyangen, among others closing in on $500 million valuations.</p>
  • <p>Did you know Slack went from founding to over $1 billion in valuation in less than 18 months? Akamai, Xiaomi, Yello Mobile, and Webvan also grew to unicorn status in less than three years.</p>
  • <p>Facebook and Google went on shopping sprees to acquire tech startups that showed great promise, such as YouTube and Instagram.</p>
  • <p>Over 50,000 investors are helping startups get their ideas to market.</p>
  • <p>Angels of a feather flock together in syndicates such as Arena Ventures and the Tim Ferriss Experiment, amounting to nearly $10 million in funding for startups.</p>
  • <p>These people earned their wings in the startup sphere a long time ago. Naval Ravikant, for example, founded AngelList, and has already made 189 investments.</p>
  • 01 /14
    | The State Of The Most Influential Startups On Earth
  • 02 /14
    | The World According To Startups

    Silicon Valley may rule, but the countries with the most startups may surprise you.

  • 03 /14
    | The Most Entrepreneurial Nations

    High honors go to Uganda and Thailand, which both have the largest number of adults starting their own businesses.

  • 04 /14
    | Government Support For Startups

    Did you know that startups can apply for equity-free grants in Ecuador, and Ireland will fast-track a visa for a founder who wants to start a business there?

  • 05 /14
    | Location, Location

    Cost of living can make or break a bootstrapping effort. Silicon Valley prices out a lot of startups, but Nairobi and Bengaluru each cost less than $1,000 per month.

  • 06 /14
    | Biggest Tech Players

    Familiar names like MailChimp, Eventbrite and Issuu top the list of biggest players on the tech scene.

  • 07 /14
    | The Value of Unicorns

    Unicorns like Uber, Xiaomi, and Airbnb are all valued at over $1 billion by venture capital firms.

  • 08 /14
    | Apple Still Rules

    Unicorn companies worth over a billion dollars combined are still valued at less ($503 billion) than tech juggernaut Apple ($634.8 billion).

  • 09 /14
    | The Ones To Watch

    France's Bla Bla Car and Germany's HelloFresh are new inductees to the billion-dollar club, but keep an eye on SoFi, Datastax, and cyangen, among others closing in on $500 million valuations.

  • 10 /14
    | Fast Trackers

    Did you know Slack went from founding to over $1 billion in valuation in less than 18 months? Akamai, Xiaomi, Yello Mobile, and Webvan also grew to unicorn status in less than three years.

  • 11 /14
    | If You Can't Beat Them, Buy Them

    Facebook and Google went on shopping sprees to acquire tech startups that showed great promise, such as YouTube and Instagram.

  • 12 /14
    | Angel List Changes The Game

    Over 50,000 investors are helping startups get their ideas to market.

  • 13 /14
    | Investor Syndicates

    Angels of a feather flock together in syndicates such as Arena Ventures and the Tim Ferriss Experiment, amounting to nearly $10 million in funding for startups.

  • 14 /14
    | Influential Angels

    These people earned their wings in the startup sphere a long time ago. Naval Ravikant, for example, founded AngelList, and has already made 189 investments.

On the global scale, startups mean big business as they contribute to innovation, job creation, and economic growth. Recent estimates put small and medium-sized businesses at more than 90% of global enterprises.

And even though we know growing a startup is often fraught with challenges, many have broken out to become some of the largest, most successful companies of our time.

Who are the driving forces behind global entrepreneurship right now? Thanks to this infographic from online coupon database Coupofy’s blog, we can get a better idea. Data from sources such as AngelList, Britannica, Forbes, and Inc. reveals surprising insights on which countries are the most startup friendly, where the fastest growth is happening, and who the most influential investors worldwide are.
Here are the results:



Silicon Valley Has Competition

The U.S. holds the top spot for sheer number of startups, but keep an eye on Uganda. That country gets top honors for being the most entrepreneurial nation in the world, because research reveals that nearly one-third (28.1%) of its adult population is involved in entrepreneurial activities. Thailand follows close behind with 16.7% of adults starting businesses. Look for growth in the emerging economies of India and Brazil, where the number of startups has currently reached 2 million and 584,000, respectively.

Government support can go a long way towards giving a bootstrapping entrepreneur a leg up to get started. Singapore recently put $48 million into six venture capital funds, and Israel gave $450 million to seed funding and R&D projects.

Those who aren’t located in a hotbed of startups need only apply for entrepreneur-friendly visas to countries like Ireland or Spain, which fast-track entry into their nations to assist startups. Canada, Chile, Denmark, and France all feature incubator programs to get startups going.

There's A lot To Learn From Unicorns

Unicorns can teach startup hopefuls valuable lessons in innovation and market disruption. Currently, the U.S. holds the dominant share of unicorns with companies valued at over $1 billion, including Uber, Airbnb, Palantir, and Snapchat. China’s Xiaomi and Didi Kuaidi, and India’s Flipkart also make the list.

The latest members of the unicorn club include Germany’s e-commerce marketplace HelloFresh and France’s Bla Bla Car, along with U.S. companies such as Stemcentrx (health care), okta (cybersecurity), and APTTUS (software).

But there’s nothing so impressive as rapid acceleration through that billion-dollar door. Slack, Pinterest, Groupon, Xiaomi, and Webvan Group are all among the startups that went from founding to unicorn status in less than three years.

Ideas That Work

Many successful entrepreneurs believe you don’t have to be first to market, you just have to be better at grabbing marketshare. However, some startups capitalized on an unusual idea to grow. Rent the Chicken delivers a functioning chicken coop to your door, while the founder of The Bold Italic worked naked for a month as a "bold" social experiment.

Sometimes those great ideas get snapped up by bigger organizations who no doubt had great R&D and still thought, "Why didn’t we come up with that?" Among those were Facebook buying WhatsApp for $19 billion and Instagram for $1 billion, and Google’s shopping spree, in which they acquired Motorola ($12.5 billion), Nest ($3.2 billion), Doubleclick ($3.1 billion), and YouTube ($1.6 billion).



Influential Investors

Funding startups is one of an entrepreneur’s biggest challenges. So when an angel investor comes into the picture, it’s like a gift from heaven.

Angels flexing a lot of muscle include Dave McClure, a founding partner at 500 Startups, who’s made over 600 investments, and entrepreneurs Scott and Cyan Banister, who made 252 investments. Syndicates such as the Tim Ferriss Experiment tops the list with 1,114 backers who invested $5.8 million in e-commerce and consumer Internet companies.

Now that you know some of the more surprising statistics surrounding startups, you may have a different view of taking your own step into the entrepreneurial waters.