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Startups in Emerging Tech Hubs Are Growing Fast

Startups in Emerging Tech Hubs Are Growing Fast

Startups based in Austin, Seattle, Denver, Portland, Brooklyn, Nashville, Pittsburgh, and Miami have strong IRRs and rapidly increasing deal volume on AngelList.

This article originally appeared in TechCrunch on 4/27/21.

  • On AngelList, startups in emerging tech hubs are generating similar—if not better—returns than startups in Silicon Valley dating back to 2013.
  • The number of syndicated deals on AngelList in emerging tech hubs has increased 144% over the last five years.
  • Analysts predict more VC money will go to startups outside of Silicon Valley in the coming years.

Tech innovation is becoming more widely distributed.

Among the five startups launched in 2020 that raised the most financing, four were based outside the Bay Area. Prominent VCs like Keith Rabois (Founders Fund), David Blumberg (Blumberg Capital), and Joe Lonsdale (8VC) have moved out of the Bay Area to new emerging tech hubs.*

According to AngelList data, the number of startups in these emerging markets are growing fast—and, increasingly, getting a bigger piece of the VC pie.

Comparing IRR of Startups by Locale

We compared the performance of startups based in emerging tech hubs to startups in Silicon Valley** by internal rate of return (IRR), which measures the rate of growth these investments have generated.

According to our data, startups in emerging tech hubs have an aggregate IRR of 19.4% per year on syndicated deals on AngelList. Syndicated deals on AngelList in Silicon Valley have an aggregate IRR of 17.5% per year.

Total value to paid-in (TVPI), which is return multiple net of fees, is also slightly higher for AngelList deals in emerging tech hubs (1.67x) than Silicon Valley (1.61x). This means for every $1 invested into startups based in emerging tech hubs, the investor’s portfolio is now valued at $1.67, compared to $1.61 for Silicon Valley startups.

This data is based on a sample of nearly 2,500 syndicated deals on AngelList dating back to 2013, with returns current as of January 1, 2021.

Investors we spoke with offered a variety of reasons for the rise of these emerging tech hubs, including cheaper taxes outside the Bay Area, lower cost of living, and a wider distribution of talent brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Great talent has historically converged in Silicon Valley because it’s been the best place to start a company or grow a career in tech,” said Blake Commagere, a three-time founder and angel investor who relocated from Silicon Valley to Texas in 2020. “Remote work has reduced that competitive advantage, and factors like cost of living are becoming a deciding factor in where to start a company. $10M in funding goes much further in an emerging tech hub than in Silicon Valley.”

Ryan Bethencourt, founder of the plant-based dog food company Wild Earth, relocated from Berkeley, California. to the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina last year. He said he was inspired after seeing all the new startups in the area.

“I felt like this was the new frontier for startups focusing on biotech,” said Bethencourt, who also runs the Sustainable Food Ventures Rolling Fund. “As a GP, I’ve already been able to invest in several of my new neighbors.”

irr and tvpi of emerging tech hubs
IRR and TVPI information above is net of fees and current as of January 1, 2021.

Deal Counts Rising Fast in Emerging Hubs

The number of syndicated deals on AngelList in emerging markets has increased 144% over the last five years. During that same time period, the number of syndicated deals on AngelList in Silicon Valley only increased by 77%. The increase in deal volume in emerging hubs has Pitchbook predicting that in 2021, Silicon Valley’s share of venture capital deals will fall below 20% for the first time ever .

And more deals has meant more venture capital in emerging tech hubs.

Venture investment in Texas-based startups rose 28% in 2020, to $5B. Florida startups raised $2.8B in venture capital in 2020—up from $1.8B in 2019. 

And while nearly 40% of venture capital money went to Silicon Valley companies in 2020, investors are anticipating a more even distribution of capital in the coming years 

“Every day we’re seeing new funds launched focusing outside the Valley, so the foundations are there for more funding to flow into new areas,” said Taylor Davidson, a Pittsburgh-based GP who co-manages the Possibilian Catalyst Rolling Fund on AngelList. “Both founders and investors are applying the playbook learned from the Valley and adapting it to their local situations, and we think that will help companies throughout the USA prove successful in raising capital and building big businesses.”

Invest in Emerging Tech Hubs on AngelList

Dealflow into emerging tech hubs is rising on AngelList. If you’re interested in being a part of these deals, check out our Rolling Funds, Syndicates, and Angel Funds.

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Disclosure:

*We define “emerging” hubs as Austin, Texas, Seattle, Denver, Portland, Ore., Brooklyn, N.Y., Nashville, Tenn., Pittsburgh, and Miami. **We define the “Silicon Valley” as San Francisco, Palo Alto, Mountain View, Oakland, San Mateo, Berkeley, Redwood City, Menlo Park, San Jose, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, Burlingame, San Carlos, Fremont, and other locales in the general vicintiy. Charts and graphs provided within are for informational purposes solely and should not be relied upon when making any investment decision. The content speaks only as of the date indicated. Any projections, estimates, forecasts, targets, prospects, and/or opinions expressed in these materials are subject to change without notice and may differ or be contrary to opinions expressed by others. This document and the information contained herein is provided for informational and discussion purposes only and is not intended to be a recommendation for any investment or other advice of any kind, and shall not constitute or imply any offer to purchase, sell or hold any security or to enter into or engage in any type of transaction. Any such offers will only be made pursuant to formal offering materials containing full details regarding risks, minimum investment, fees, and expenses of such transaction. AngelList returns data include investments by institutional and professional investors that have superior access to deals and information from AngelList and leads. Returns for these investors may differ materially from returns achievable by other investors on the AngelList platform. AngelList returns contained in this presentation are as of [1/1/21]. They may include valuation events that occurred (or were learned about) after that date, which is standard practice. All other figures in this presentation are based on data available as of 1/1/21. We undertake no obligation to provide updates or revisions to reflect any changes in actual or expected returns. Past performance is not indicative of future returns. There is no guarantee that any current or future fund will achieve the same exposure to, or quality of, startups held by any existing AngelList fund. Any investment in venture funds, including AngelList funds, involves a high degree of risk and is suitable only for sophisticated and qualified accredited investors. For purposes of calculating unrealized returns, investment values are prepared in accordance with the methodologies described below. For early-stage companies, valuations are generally marked up or down to a company's latest priced round. Companies that do not have a new priced round since the last mark are held at the last mark or cost. Investments may also be marked down (but never up) at our discretion. This is an industry-standard method. For later-stage companies, investments are sent to a third-party for valuation if the company is valued over $100M, the investment is estimated to be worth over $10M, and 24 months have passed since the last investment. Smaller investments in later-stage companies are valued using the same method as early-stage companies. Estimated values for early-stage companies do not account for liquidation preferences and other non-financial terms that may affect returns. While AngelList’s valuation sources and company activity updates are believed to be reliable, we do not undertake to verify the accuracy of such sources. Valuations presented herein are calculated by AngelList based on data available to it as of the presentation date and have not been audited by a third party.
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