It should come as no surprise that San Francisco continues to nurture fast-growing startups, but other metropolitan hubs are catching up. Thanks to strong talent pipelines, growing markets, and big exits, three Texas cities–Austin, Houston, and Dallas–are proving that you don’t need a coastal location to launch a successful startup.
The following 10 U.S. cities have the highest collective three-year revenue growth rates among this year’s Inc. 5000, a list of the fastest-growing private companies in the U.S.
Here they are, in ascending order of fast growth.
3-year revenue growth 113% | Inc. 5000 companies 74
Entrepreneurs flock to city for its low regulations, zero corporate income taxes, and the Dallas Entrepreneur Center, or DEC, which is a nonprofit organization serving as a hub for startup networking, funding, and mentorship. Among Dallas’s Inc. 5000 companies are computer consulting firm Allata (No. 40) and online sporting-goods seller OrderMyGear (No. 1,443).
3-year revenue growth 117% | Inc. 5000 companies 84
After Hurricane Harvey hit in 2017, the Houston area’s construction industry grew tremendously to help rebuild and repair the storm’s damage. Last year, the region led the nation for construction job growth, according to the Associated General Contractors of America. Houston-based Inc. 5000 companies include oil pipeline services company JP Services (No. 792) and contractor services firm CC&D (No. 1,973).
3-year revenue growth 141% | Inc. 5000 companies 110
There’s more to Chicago than harsh winters and deep-dish pizza: The city has a diverse and healthy business culture, prompting tech behemoths like Stripe, Salesforce, Google, and Facebook to build satellite offices there. Among this year’s fastest-growing Inc. 5000 businesses are e-commerce logistics company ShipBob (No. 99) and digital education startup RedShelf (No. 231).
7. Los Angeles
3-year revenue growth 160% | Inc. 5000 companies 102
Most associate this West Coast hub with Hollywood, but this city is also a hospitable ecosystem for startups. Prominent industries include financial services and advertising and marketing. Startups based there include customer acquisition firm MuteSix (No. 15) and data management provider VideoAmp (No. 387).
3-year revenue growth 161% | Inc. 5000 companies 48
Denver has far more to offer than high altitudes and pot dispensaries. In addition to software firms like Apto (No. 2,019), which specializes in real estate, and OrthoFi (No. 2,091), which offers back-office services like billing and appointment reminders, the city is becoming a hotbed for food and beverage businesses. That includes filtered water dispenser maker FloWater (No. 493) and dedicated contract brewery Sleeping Giant Brewing Company (No. 1,439).
3-year revenue growth 185% | Inc. 5000 companies 101
The city is rich in tech talent, thanks to computer science and engineering programs at Georgia Tech, Morehouse, Spelman, and Clark Atlanta. That may explain why just over a quarter of the 101 Inc. 5000 Atlanta-based companies are in the software and IT services industries. Overall, 2019 honorees include GreenPrint (No. 71), which helps businesses reduce their environmental footprint, and coding boot camp DigitalCrafts (No. 117).
4. San Diego
3-year revenue growth 188% | Inc. 5000 companies 71
With 24 incubators and accelerator programs, along with strong talent pipelines from the University of California, San Diego, and nearby military bases, the city is a sanctuary for startups. San Diego’s 2019 Inc. 5000 honorees include non-pharmacological treatment startup Amenity Health (No. 96), plant-based protein drink maker Koia (No. 187), and ecofriendly beach towel business Sand Cloud (No. 308).
3. New York City
3-year revenue growth 197% | Inc. 5000 companies 199
Tech jobs are dominating the New York City startup scene; the city has more tech workers than the Bay Area, according to a 2018 report by the market research company Forrester. That’s helped unicorns like Warby Parker and WeWork, as well as the NYC-based Inc. 5000 companies. Among them are online investment company YieldStreet (No. 14), custom engagement ring site With Clarity (No. 18), and direct-to-consumer cookie dough enterprise Sweet Loren’s (No. 114).
3-year revenue growth 259% | Inc. 5000 companies 87
Austin has become a haven for startups, thanks in part to its high rate of entrepreneurship and job creation. The city earned the top spot on Inc.‘s 2018 Surge Cities list, which tracks the U.S. metro areas with the most economic momentum. In addition to tech giants like Facebook, Amazon, and Apple, which all have outposts in the area, the city boasts innovative food businesses like No. 3, Cece’s Veggie Co., a veggie noodle maker, and No. 650, Maggie Louise Confections, a handcrafted chocolatier.
1. San Francisco
3-year revenue growth 413% | Inc. 5000 companies 52
San Francisco reclaims its spot at the top thanks to its renowned startup ecosystem. While the Bay Area has long been known for cultivating unicorns–Airbnb, Stripe, and Uber were all founded there–it’s also home to new, flourishing startups like the print-on-demand platform Printify (No. 24) and ecofriendly home-goods delivery service Grove Collaborative (No. 87). If you can afford the expensive rent, San Francisco remains one of the best environments for burgeoning businesses.
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