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SEATTLE, WA

Innovation That Matters 2016

We are at the dawn of an extraordinary technological revolution and it is transforming every part of the U.S. economy. Innovation That Matters examines and ranks 25 cities’ readiness to capitalize on the inevitable shift to a digital economy.

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Seattle startups are booming across all industry sectors

Startups in Seattle are doing well in a variety of sectors, but no clear specialization has emerged yet. The city is relatively even in its performance across the education, energy, health and smart cities sectors. When it comes to established company specializations, it’s the general IT cluster—driven by Amazon and Microsoft—that stands out.

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Home to world-class IT companies, Seattle ranks #2 for tech talent in the nation

The talent base in Seattle is thriving. The city (home-base for tech titans Amazon and Microsoft) has been vaulted into the upper echelon of U.S. tech hubs. Additionally, the city’s robust population inflows, educated millennials and skilled tech workforce make it a powerhouse when it comes to attracting top talent.

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  1. Seattle’s tech sector is booming, but connectivity and culture indicators point to challenges ahead.
    The city’s world-class IT companies (1st) have vaulted it into the upper echelon of U.S. tech hubs, but survey results suggest that work needs to be done to build the collaborative community (22nd) and cultural foundations (22nd) needed for long-term success.
  2. The talent base in Seattle is thriving.
    The city’s robust population inflows (6th), highly educated young residents (9th) and skilled tech workforce (2nd) combine to make it one of the top talent pools in the country (4th).
  3. Within the ecosystem, support from professional service firms, universities and civic institutions such as city government are relative strengths, whereas lack of engaged corporations, citizens, cheerleaders and mentors remain weaknesses.
    The city ranked 8th, 15th and 18th in the first three categories, but 24th, 22nd, 22nd and 21st in the latter four. Connecting the dots between these actors and the entrepreneurs they support could improve the ecosystem dynamics.
  4. Startups in Seattle are doing well in a variety of sectors, but no clear specialization has emerged yet.
    The city ranks 5th in overall specialization and is relatively even in its performance across the Ed Tech (7th), Energy Tech (10th), Health Tech (8th) and Smart City Tech (8th) industries. When it comes to established company specializations, the general IT cluster—driven by Amazon and Microsoft—stands out (1st).
  5. A high concentration of tech startups means that Seattle should feel like a dense community, but local entrepreneurs don’t perceive it that way.
    The strong disconnect between the indicators of general startup density (5th) and perceived density (21st) suggest that there is a lot of activity on the ground, but that activity may be occurring in isolated pockets. Only New York City recorded a similar trend.
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