Everyone knows that the lion’s share of VC money ends up in the Bay Area, Boston, or New York (roughly two thirds in 2016). Those areas are also crowded with entrepreneurs fighting for cash. For some entrepreneurs swimming in the shark tank sounds like a nightmare. But there are tangible benefits of being part of a vibrant startup community. Is it possible to have your cake and eat it too? It turns out that many entrepreneurs are daring to think outside the Valley.

To find these startup diamonds in the rough, we first ruled out locales in California, New York, or Boston. We then analyzed venture capital investment per capita to control for population size to find areas of high average investment. The results were surprising.


Fayetteville, AR

(Including Springdale & Rogers)

Per Capita VC Investment $195

Startups here are supported by three huge companies (J.B. Hunt, Tyson Foods and Walmart). These giants offer capital, mentoring, and market. Fayetteville has low cost of living but nearly 10X the number of early-stage startups per capita than the national average.

Washington DC

(Including Arlington & Alexandria)

Per Capita VC Investment $213

Washingtonian entrepreneurs want to change the world. DC startups have access to lucrative government contracts and the area is home to a robust tech scene.

Raleigh, NC

(Including Durham & Chapel Hill)

Per Capita VC Investment $223

With four tech startup accelerators and access to talent from nearby top universities, it’s no wonder that the Raleigh-Durham area has become a hub for tech giants like IBM, Cisco, Nortel, Sony Ericsson, GlaxoSmithKline and others.

Provo, UT

(Including Orem)

Per Capita VC Investment $224

Utah’s main draw is quality of life. Founders with families can buy a house in Provo or a closet in San Francisco. Statistically, Provo’s businesses are more financially stable and their populace is younger, healthier, and more likely to be multilingual.

Grand Forks, ND

Per Capita VC Investment $239

The government and communities of North Dakota have done a stellar job of nurturing new business growth. North Dakota has made an effort to host startup events and education with events like TedX and 1 Million Cups. They also offered low-interest loan programs targeted at startups. Finally, the low tax rate and cost of living don’t hurt.

Seattle, WA

(Including Oak Harbor)

Per Capita VC Investment $243

Home of tech fixtures like Amazon, Boeing, and Microsoft, Seattle isn’t getting complacent. It continues to produce high-value companies like Expedia, Zillow, Tableau, and Zulily. Perhaps it’s this cycle of success that continues to draw Seattle’s high-concentration of talented engineers.

Austin, TX

(Including Round Rock)

Per Capita VC Investment $252

The poster-child of cool cities – Austin’s vibrant music and art culture is a magnet for the young and creative. With no individual or corporate income tax, below average cost of living, and low-interest loan programs aimed at startups, what’s not to love?

Boulder, CO

Per Capita VC Investment $365

Entrepreneurs come to Colorado for the outdoorsy-scene and positive work-life balance. Boulder has a well-developed network of venture capitalists and is the headquarters of TechStars.


Wherever you decide to set up shop, Fidelity can help with the details. 

Third parties mentioned and Fidelity are not affiliated.

 Tags: Startups