The global start-up revolution continues to grow. Global venture capital investments in start-ups hit a decade high in 2017, with over $140 billion invested. Total value creation of the global start-up economy from 2015 to 2017 reached $2.3 trillion—a 25.6% increase from the 2014 to 2016 period. This continued growth, fundamental shifts are occurring. The types of companies that fuelled the first and second generation of global start-up ecosystems—social media apps, digital media, and other pure internet companies—are declining While these companies have built the current infrastructure that the new generation of start-ups use—think Facebook and Google as a platform for global marketing, WordPress for content publishing— start-up formation in these sub-sectors is not growing as it used to, and in some cases, it is declining.

Top start-up hubs like Silicon Valley, London, and New York continue to dominate top-level activity and maintain their status as the top performers for most sub-sectors. But we see strong up-and coming ecosystems in specific sectors like Fintech, Cybersecurity, and Blockchain.

New Era of Tech: Third Wave and Deep Tech

In this new era of tech, successful start-ups will do one of two things:

  • 1 Tackle specific Third Wave verticals—think Uber for mobility or Airbnb for hospitality.
  • 2 Rely on Deep Tech—build businesses through technological breakthroughs, e.g. distributed ledgers, AI, or Life Sciences. We see this rise of Third Wave and Deep Tech clearly in the data
  • for sub-sector growth. The fastest growing sub-sectors all fit these categories of Third Wave and Deep Tech, while declining sub-sectors are mostly associated with the first- and second-wave tech start-ups.


Top 4 Growing Sub-Sectors

  • Adv. Manufacturing & Robotics (189% 5-year increase in early stage funding deals)
  • Agtech & New Food (171% 5-year increase)
  • Blockchain (163% 5-year increase)
  • Artificial Intelligence, Big Data & Analytics (77.5% 5-year increase)


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