Here’s the Most Popular Startup Industry in Each State

June 16, 2015

10:00 am

“Do I have to move to Silicon Valley?”

As an aspiring entrepreneur, it’s tempting to ask this question. If Silicon Valley is the place to be, with all the resources and connections an entrepreneur could need, am I just shooting myself in the foot if I don’t move there?

Not exactly.

Some experts argue that what you need most is not startup expertise, but industry expertise. Sure, Silicon Valley is full of startup knowledge, but what a niche health care startup really needs is health care knowledge. You need to meet with health care companies, health care executives, and health care patients. The way to hire the best talent, make partnerships, find mentors, and get acquired is to immerse yourself in the health care industry.

“The myth that you have to be in Silicon Valley to be successful is idiotic,” says David Cohen, the co-founder and CEO of TechStars.

If you want to choose a location based on local industry expertise, check out the most popular startup industry in each state below (reported in the Mattermark 2014 Startup Traction Report). Mattermark estimated the number of startups per industry per state based on data from public sources like Crunchbase, AngelList, NASDAQ, the SEC, and the White House Office of Management & Budget, as well as private relationships they have with investors and entrepreneurs.

We tend to think of “startups” as mobile or ecommerce companies, but in half the US states, the most popular startup industry is health care. Among the nine industries below, enterprise software, education, and advertising are growing the fastest. Which state would be the best home for your startup? 


  • New Mexico


  • Montana


  • South Dakota


  • Louisiana

Enterprise software

  • South Carolina

Clean tech

  • Idaho
  • Vermont


  • California
  • Delaware
  • Iowa
  • Mississippi
  • Virginia
  • Washington


  • Arkansas
  • Illinois
  • Maine
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New York
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island

Health care

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • DC
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • New Jersey
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

Data were not provided for Alaska, Hawaii, and West Virginia, and only the 20 highest-funded industries in the US were analyzed. Released last December, Mattermark’s 2014 Startup Traction Report (get it for $99) measured the fastest-growing startups, regions, and industries for the 2014 fiscal year, which covers October 2013-September 2014.

Image Credit: Downtown Albuquerque Flickr/Ken Lund

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Kira M. Newman is a Tech Cocktail writer interested in the harsh reality of entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and psychology. She is the founder of The Year of Happy and has been traveling around the world interviewing entrepreneurs in Asia, Europe, and North America since 2011. Follow her @kiramnewman or contact

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