If you want to build a ranking of top startup cities, there are several ways to do it: number of tech startups per capita, number of total startups, amount of venture dollars, even percentage of businesses with a Facebook page. These measures focus on counting corporations and dollars, but those are results, not inputs.
The single biggest input that determines the success of a startup is the quality of its human capital. If you want to measure the quality of a startup ecosystem five years ago, count the number of companies it has today. If you want to predict the quality of a startup ecosystem five years from now, measure its human capital.
But how do you measure startup human capital?
Meetups are human capital factories. If you want to measure the human capital of a startup city, you measure its meetup activity.
We’ve done just that. Using Meetup’s public API, we’ve pulled data on every tech meetup in the entire world. In this post, we’ll share what we’ve learned and how your city stacks up.
A note on the data. For this analysis, we used Meetup’s publicly accessible API, downloaded the data for every global meetup in the technology category, and analyzed it in RJMetrics. If you’re interested in running analysis like this on your data, sign up for a free trial. While we focus on the US technology scene in this post, you can find meetups almost anywhere in the world on nearly any topic you could imagine.
Technologists Love To Meet Up
The tech industry has been meeting up forever. It was “hobbyists” like Hooke, Newton, and Wren, talking shop, drinking coffee and smoking opium in the Royal Society who ushered in The Enlightenment.
Historically, these gatherings of the geek-elite have been closely-knit groups of personal associations, but that started to change in 2001.
It’s significant that Meetup started in New York City and not Silicon Valley. The dot com collapse left many companies in the North East shuttering their doors, and without a strong core of established technology companies to turn to, thousands of technologists found themselves hunting for jobs. There was a need for community, and for a central organizing platform.
Meetup was born in this environment. Since 2002, Meetup has grown in lock-step with the tech scene. Today, the number of technology meetups is growing faster than ever (89% in 2013 alone!):