Center for American Entrepreneurship: Rise of the Global Startup City

In 2018, Richard Florida–author of The Rise of the Creative Class–and Ian Hathaway–Research Director at the Center for American Entrepreneurship (CAE)–collaborated to create the “Rise of the Global Startup City” report. The report emphasizes the rise in startup and venture capital activity abroad in Asia, Europe, and elsewhere–what the authors call the global startup revolution–that is challenging the United States’ singular dominance as the location for modern, high-tech startups and entrepreneurship.



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While the U.S. is the birthplace of modern, high-tech startups, venture capital investments and startups are increasingly going global. From 2010 to 2017 alone, global venture capital investment surged from $52 billion to $171 billion, and global venture deals increased by nearly 75 percent. Richard Florida and Ian Hathaway sought to better understand where those investments are going, which countries are attracting the most venture capital investments, and which countries are drawing startup and entrepreneurial activity.

Armed with a report that analyzed more than 100,000 venture deals in the PitchBook database in more than 300 metropolitan areas spanning 60 countries, Florida, Hathaway, and CAE wanted to ensure everyone understands just how much the U.S. competitive edge for venture capital investment and startup activity is waning. Importantly, they wanted to ensure that these fascinating insights didn’t get lost in a sea of complex data and ignored.

Center for American Entrepreneurship print report, October 2018


Leveraging web design and development, data visualizations, interactive charts, and print design, LGND’s digital storytelling lifted Hathaway and Florida’s findings off the page, making their data insights accessible to a wider audience. Data interactives allowed users to “unpack the data” and explore startup activity on an interactive world map, while an additional interactive allowed users to compare venture capital activity in a variety of cities around the world.


The interactive nature of LGND’s digital story design, as well as the print report’s custom illustrations and design, served as a rich pool for media outlets. The digital story and report received attention from media outlets like Bloomberg, Axios, Inc., the SF ChronicleThe Washington Post, and more. Additionally, Richard Florida and Ian Hathaway placed an Op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal that highlighted the report’s main findings featured online and in print as a Saturday Essay.

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“This is certainly the most beautiful report I have ever been a part of. And probably the most beautiful report I have ever seen. I do hope we get to chance to work together on future publications.”

— Richard Florida