Madison ranked among best Midwest startup cities

In a ranking of best startup cities in the Midwest by Chicago VC firm M25, Madison came in at No. 7, an improvement from last year’s list when it ranked in a tie for 10th. Milwaukee ranked No. 12, the same spot it claimed last year. Green Bay came in at No. 4, five spots down from the year before.

In total, M25 ranked 54 startup ecosystems throughout the Midwest. It ranked cities based on startup activity, access to resources and business climate, including factors such as number of startups, number of exits, investor activity, accelerators, government support, and local universities.

Madison got high marks for its university ecosystem, which is one of the best in the Midwest, M25 Managing Partner Victor Gutwein told Wisconsin Inno, while Milwaukee saw a boost thanks to its number of patents created and access to Fortune 500 companies. Gutwein also noted that Green Bay has seen strong growth in startup activity compared to other cities in Wisconsin and other markets in its peer group.

In general, Midwest college towns are seeing increased startup activity, according to the report, with places like Ann Arbor and Lafayette receiving high marks. Ann Arbor outranked fellow Michigan city Detroit, even as Detroit startup StockX recently reached unicorn status for its sneaker marketplace.

Chicago took the top spot for a third year in a row, followed by Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis and St. Louis.

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