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Economy

America's Leading Metros for Venture Capital

The Bay Area remains at the top, but several cities are starting to catch up.
relates to America's Leading Metros for Venture Capital
MPI's Zara Matheson

Venture capitalists are the financiers of high-tech innovation. The unique form of equity financing — which exchanges capital for shares in the enterprises they provide — has fueled the rise of revolutionary companies like Intel in semiconductors, Apple in personal computing, Genentech in biotech, Google in search, and Facebook and Twitter in social media.

Silicon Valley has long been the epicenter of venture capital-financed high-technology — something I documented in a series of studies with Martin Kenney of the University of California, Davis, in the mid-to-late 1980s. Our research and the research of others documented the tendency of venture capital and high-tech start-ups to cluster in suburban offices parks in Silicon Valley, the Route 128 suburbs outside Boston, and North Carolina's Research Triangle, aptly dubbed nerdistans. But a number of recent studies suggest the geography of venture capital and start-ups may be shifting to "urban tech," from this long-held suburban orientation to cities and urban neighborhoods. Such a shift would be in line with more general urban theory which has long seen dense, diverse urban centers — not suburbs — as cradles of innovation.