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10 best cities for startups in the United States

October 4, 2023
Minh Mai

In 2022 alone, Americans filed for 5.1 million new business licenses. The American startup scene is becoming ever more vibrant and exciting, with new businesses emerging in cities nationwide. 

Starting a business is never easy, though. There are countless tasks to take care of, from business licenses to tax requirements to finding the right talent. But some U.S. cities have a proven track record of helping startups thrive. 

From plentiful resources to a growing startup ecosystem, these cities are perfect for aspiring entrepreneurs to launch their businesses. If you have plans for a new business, here is a list of the 10 best cities for startups in the United States. 

1. Silicon Valley, California

Silicon Valley is the undisputed heart of technology and innovation in the United States. Located in Northern California, this region has become synonymous with tech-savvy businesses and startups. Over the last few years, more than $20 billion in venture capital has been invested in Silicon Valley annually. 

Silicon Valley offers several advantages to startups and entrepreneurs. The region is home to some of the biggest tech companies in the world, such as Apple, Google, and Facebook. Moreover, there is an increasingly well-developed local infrastructure that offers access to valuable services, from co-working spaces to incubators and accelerators.

When it comes to business costs, Silicon Valley is generally more expensive than many other cities in the U.S. However, various government incentives help to offset costs and make it more affordable for businesses to operate. The region enjoys a favorable climate year-round and access to some of the best universities in the country.

Examples of Silicon Valley startups

  • Google
  • Apple
  • Airbnb
  • Facebook
  • Slack

2. New York City, New York

New York City is a vibrant startup hub with an established track record of producing successful companies. The city is renowned for its world-class business infrastructure, diverse talent pool, and access to global investors.

New York's competitive nature makes it a great place to launch a startup. Startups tend to find success in the city due to the many resources and opportunities available, including access to a large network of potential partners, investors, mentors, customers, and other professionals who can help companies achieve their goals.

Businesses in New York also benefit from the city's low startup costs. The cost of living is higher than in many other cities, but the costs of setting up and running a business are generally quite low. Startups can also enjoy New York's generous tax credits and tax incentives for new businesses.

Examples of New York City startups

  • WeWork
  • Squarespace
  • Kickstarter
  • Foursquare
  • Etsy

3. Austin, Texas

Austin, Texas, is home to a thriving and rapidly growing startup scene. The city has become known as the “Silicon Hills” due to its vibrant tech-oriented culture and welcoming attitude towards entrepreneurs.

The city also has many organizations, accelerators, incubators, and other resources tailored to support new businesses' success. Austin provides a competitive atmosphere for startups, as there is an abundance of resources and infrastructure to support the growth of new businesses. 

Business costs in Austin are relatively low, as there are no state income taxes for corporations or individuals. The city's climate is ideal, with temperate weather year-round. Transportation is also easy to access, with numerous public transportation options, and Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is located just outside the city.

The city also has a diverse, talented, educated workforce, thanks to the many universities nearby. Home to the University of Texas at Austin, the city also benefits from other large universities, such as Texas State University and the University of Houston, creating a large pool of potential employees for new startups.

Examples of Austin startups

  • Square Root
  • Indeed
  • Spredfast
  • Homeaway
  • WeWork Labs Austin

4. Seattle, Washington

Seattle is a great city for tech startups and entrepreneurship, thanks to its strong ecosystem of tech companies, venture capitalists, universities, accelerators, and incubators. The city is known for its thriving tech sector and has become a major hub of innovation in the U.S.

Startups can benefit from the city's lack of both corporate and individual state income taxes, but the local and state sales taxes reach a combined 10.25%, higher than many other cities. However, Seattle offers an array of incentives, tax credits, and exemptions for solar energy installation.

The city has a moderate climate, with winter temperatures rarely dipping below freezing and 60-70°F average temperatures during summertime. Regarding accessibility, Seattle is served by the Port of Seattle and has two international airports, as well as Amtrak trains and Greyhound bus lines for those who prefer to travel by land.

Home to over 700,000 people, Seattle boasts a culturally diverse population and an impressive, talented pool of workers. The city also has five major universities and colleges, including the University of Washington.

Examples of Seattle startups

  • Amazon
  • Microsoft
  • Zillow
  • Tableau Software
  • Redfin

5. Chicago, Illinois

Chicago is one of the most diverse and economically robust cities in the United States. With a GDP of $498.6 billion in 2022, it's the third largest city in the country and features strong manufacturing and financial services industries. 

Chicago is well known for its vast tech ecosystem, and many high-profile companies, such as Groupon, Grubhub, and Quora, are based in the city. The cost of living in Chicago is also lower than many of the cities on this list, with a median home price of $285,000 in 2023, and the city has a strong public transportation system for those who don’t own a car.

There are numerous incubators and accelerators in the city, such as 1871. There are also events like Startup Week that can help entrepreneurs find the support they need to launch their startups. Furthermore, there is great access to venture capital in Chicago, with a record-breaking $7 billion invested in tech firms in 2021.

Examples of Chicago startups

  • Groupon
  • Grubhub
  • Quora
  • Uptake Technologies
  • Sprout Social  

6. Denver, Colorado

Denver, Colorado, is a thriving city for startups and entrepreneurs. With a population of 713,252 people, the city has seen enormous growth in recent years, attracting more and more young professionals and students. 

The city has many incubators, accelerators, co-working spaces, private investors, top universities, and entrepreneur networks. In 2022, Denver startups raised $5.7 billion in venture capital. State corporate and income taxes are also low, with both at a flat 4.4%

Living costs are relatively low as well, compared to other cities, and the climate is mild. In addition, Denver has many accessible transportation options, including light rails, buses, bike paths, and a multi-billion-dollar rail system.

The workforce in Denver is highly educated, with 52.5% of the population holding a bachelor's degree or higher. So startups and entrepreneurs have access to a highly skilled and educated workforce, which is critical for success. 

Finally, the city has many resources for business owners, including a Small Business Development Center and the Denver Office of Economic Development.

Examples of Denver startups

  • SendGrid
  • Ibotta
  • Gusto
  • Hexagon Mining
  • Sphero

7. Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles is no stranger to startups, particularly within the entertainment and media industries. Thanks to its strategic location near the coast, beautiful surroundings, and access to capital, LA is an attractive city for entrepreneurs of all types. 

However, in recent years, the city's startup scene has been evolving and branching into more diverse industries, such as software, healthcare, and education. There are several advantages for entrepreneurs looking to launch a business in LA. 

The city offers access to major venture capital firms, a large and diverse pool of talent, and an ideal climate for year-round business opportunities. Compared to the San Francisco Bay Area, the city has a relatively low cost of living as well.

What's more, Los Angeles has numerous resources to help businesses and entrepreneurs succeed, such as the LA Venture Association (LAVA) and Tech Coast Angels. 

Examples of Los Angeles startups

  • Snapchat
  • Otter AI
  • Bird
  • Scopely
  • Burbn

8. Miami, Florida

Miami is home to a diverse range of startups, from early-stage companies focused on advancing healthcare and technology to established fashion and media companies. So entrepreneurs can easily find the resources and talent pools they need.

The city has a warm climate, with temperatures rarely dropping below freezing. And Miami's international airport and seaport make it easier for entrepreneurs to connect with customers worldwide. 

While Miami's cost of living is relatively expensive, with an average rent of $1,923, the city still has an abundant workforce for businesses, with several universities and technical institutes offering courses to attract talent. 

The University of Miami, Florida International University, and the H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship are all great places to find employees with the skills and motivation to drive a business forward.

Examples of Miami startups

  • CareCloud
  • Lemonade Stand Media
  • Columbia Property Group
  • Naked Turtle Rum Company
  • Airy Technologies Inc.

9. Salt Lake City, Utah

Salt Lake City, Utah, is quickly becoming a hot spot for technology startups in the United States. The city saw a 12% increase in tech-related jobs from 2020 to 2021. The average rent for an apartment in Salt Lake City is significantly lower than the national average, and the city's business costs are also much lower than many other tech hub cities.

The climate in Salt Lake City is sunny and mild year-round, making it a great place to live and work. The city is also easily accessible by public transportation, with light rail lines providing convenient access to the entire metro area.

The city boasts a highly-skilled and tech-savvy talent pool. The University of Utah is home to several innovative research centers, and Salt Lake City is known for its highly educated and tech-focused workforce.

Examples of Salt Lake City startups

  • AdRoll
  • Domo
  • InsideSales
  • Qualtrics
  • Pluralsight

10. Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta has a long-standing reputation as a startup hub, especially in tech. Home to several major companies, such as Coca-Cola, it is also a destination for hundreds of tech startups. The city's competitive nature allows entrepreneurs to stand out from the crowd.

The tax climate is a bit high, with a corporate tax of 6% and individual income taxes ranging from 1.0% to 5.75%, depending on income. The average rent is $1,880, so the cost of living is also on the higher side. 

However, there is easy access to capital from venture capitalists and angel investors. The city is well-connected, with one of the busiest airports in the U.S. It is also home to a large and diverse workforce, with over 5 million people living in the metro area. The workforce is well-educated and highly skilled, so startups can benefit from the available talent pool.

Examples of Atlanta startups

  • MailChimp
  • Kabbage
  • Skuid
  • Pindrop Security
  • Big Nerd Ranch

Factors to consider when choosing a city for your startup

When determining which city to call home for your startup, you should consider several factors, including economy, quality of life, talent pool and workforce, market opportunities, and government support and regulations.


A city's economy plays an important role in the success of any startup. Cities with strong economic indicators, such as GDP growth, job growth, and industry diversity, have the greatest potential. 

Major industries and the presence of venture capital/angel investors may also signal the potential for growth and investment. Cities with strong economies are great places to start a business, as they can provide the resources needed for success.

Talent pool and workforce

The availability of qualified candidates and access to a skilled talent pool are essential for any startup. Cities with universities, technical institutes, or other educational institutions that offer courses in the field of the startup's focus are great places to look for potential employees. 

These cities may also offer resources such as job boards or recruitment services that make it easier for startups to find the necessary talent. Also, cities with diverse populations and open immigration policies are great places to find deep talent pools.

Market opportunities

A startup needs to understand its target market and customer base to succeed. Cities that are hubs for certain industries, such as tech in San Francisco or finance in New York City, provide startups with a built-in customer base and opportunities to network with other industry professionals. 

Cities with multiple industry clusters nearby can also give startups access to resources and potential customers that would otherwise be unavailable.

Quality of life

Startups need a supportive and fulfilling environment to be successful. Factors such as cost of living, cultural amenities, outdoor activities, and work-life balance are all important aspects that should be considered when choosing a city for a startup. 

Cities with lower living costs, access to cultural amenities like museums and theaters, and plenty of outdoor activities can be great places for startups to succeed. Cities that encourage shorter work days or flexible working hours can make it easier for startup founders and employees to maintain a good work-life balance as well. These factors can help ensure everyone feels fulfilled and motivated to develop the business.

Government support and regulations

Some cities offer various initiatives, programs, and incentives to support startups. These can include grants and loan programs to help with startup costs, tax incentives to encourage growth, and even streamlined business regulations. 

However, some cities have policies or regulations that can negatively impact the operations and growth of a business, such as limits on land use or zoning rules. Research the regulations that are in place when deciding where to locate a startup, as they can impact the business's success.

Looking for accessible solutions for any startup location?

Startups and small businesses can operate from anywhere at their most efficient levels with the right tools, like a virtual mailbox and mailing solutions from Stable. Virtual mailboxes are a quick and easy way to establish a presence in different cities without being physically there, giving all types of businesses access to the resources of any U.S. city. 

With a virtual mailbox from Stable, you can manage your online presence and save money on office space and other overhead costs. Stable's virtual address and mailbox services also provide businesses with features such as mail scanning, package forwarding, and more.

Let Stable help your startup grow from anywhere

When choosing the best city for a startup, consider economic opportunities, market opportunities, and quality of life. Cities with diverse industries, universities, open immigration policies, and supportive environments can provide startups with the resources needed for success. 

But with a virtual mailbox from Stable, startups and small businesses aren’t tied to a single physical location. With Stable's easy onboarding process, your business can start experiencing the benefits of a virtual mailbox immediately. 

Sign up today and unlock the tools to help your business grow from anywhere with Stable!  

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