A look at the nation’s 50 largest metropolitan areas to see how entrepreneurs have fared in their quests to secure money from venture capitalists, angel investors, and online crowds brought a somewhat surprising result – among the cities mentioned as ranking high in venture funding success rates was Hartford. Connecticut’s Capitol was listed among a handful of cities with success rates for businesses seeking venture capital that “are about twice as high as the national average.”
According to a new report issued this month by the Kauffman Foundation, roughly $68 billion was invested in venture capital (VC) deals in the United States in 2014 and 7,878 employer businesses reported receiving venture capital funds. Thirty percent of those recipients were located in just four metro areas: New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Boston. The national average was 0.2%.
Among the metro areas that rank highly in terms of those venture funding success rates, according to the report “Trends in Venture Capital, Angel Investing and Crowdfunding,” include: San Francisco, CA (0.8%), San Jose, CA (0.8%), Boston, MA (0.5%), Hartford, CT (0.5%), Memphis, TN (0.4%), Minneapolis, MN (0.4%), Philadelphia, PA, (0.4%), Richmond, VA (0.4%), Washington, D.C. (0.4%). Among the lowest ranked of the 50 largest metropolitan regions in the nation, at 0.1 percent, were Baltimore, Denver, Jacksonville, Las Vegas, Orlando, Riverside, and Tampa.
The report noted that “Some perhaps unlikely metro areas rank highly in terms of those venture funding success rates: Hartford, Memphis, Richmond, and Buffalo. This doesn’t necessarily mean that there are higher quality firms there, and, of course, the volume of firms seeking VC is smaller…And, these data don’t mean that all the funding came from local sources: venture capital firms in New York could be investing in Hartford businesses. But these numbers lend credence to arguments…that high-quality deals can be found everywhere, and that firms in these regions can succeed in raising equity capital.”
While 10.3 percent of entrepreneurs report using personal credit cards when starting their business, nationally, only 0.6 percent initially received venture capital, the analysis found.
The metros with the highest percentage of firms receiving venture capital funding when starting include: San Jose (2.4%), San Francisco (1.5%), Salt Lake City (1.3%), Austin (1.2%), Baltimore (1.1%), Birmingham (1.1%), and Nashville (1.1%).
According to the report, based on the 2014 Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs (ASE), “the primary sources of initial financing for new businesses in the United States are: personal and family savings, bank business loans, and personal credit cards.” The report notes, however, that “entrepreneurs also tap other sources of funding, including venture capital, which “can be disproportionately important for business growth.”
The ASE, conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, is the largest annual survey of American entrepreneurs ever done, and is done in a public-private partnership between the Census Bureau, the Kauffman Foundation, and the Minority Business Development Agency. The ASE samples approximately 290,000 employer businesses across all U.S. geographies and demographics, the report explained.
The top metropolitan statistical area for crowdfunding success in 2014 was Charlotte; for angel investing, San Jose led the way. The report concludes that the concentration of venture capital firms in California, Massachusetts, and New York, “is well-correlated with the relative concentration of firms that receive VC investments.” Crowdfunding campaigns in Minneapolis and Oklahoma City, the report indicates, “may not be entirely due to local funders.”
“The ASE data add quantitative confirmation to what we know from other sources: high-quality entrepreneurs can be found—and can get funding—in nearly every corner of the United States.”