Thomas J. Donohue Thomas J. Donohue
Advisor and Former Chief Executive Officer, U.S. Chamber of Commerce


October 23, 2017


By now everyone is aware that we are in the midst of a digital revolution. Innovative technology startups are changing everything from the way we monitor our health to the way our children learn to the way we power our cars, homes, and lives. This revolution is transforming our entire economy, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is working to ensure that every city and town across America enjoys the benefits the digital economy has to offer.

In pursuit of this goal, we partnered with D.C.-based startup incubator network 1776 to release the third edition of our Innovation That Matters report, which examines the health of the startup communities in 25 American cities and assesses their readiness to capitalize on the shift to a more digital economy. In this study, we placed a unique emphasis on what we refer to as “next-wave startups,” or those that are developing the next big breakthroughs in complex industries such as health, energy, and education.

Topping the list of the most innovation-friendly cities are Boston, the Bay Area, Philadelphia, San Diego, and Austin. These cities foster innovative cultures and embrace cutting-edge technologies, and in return, they reap the rewards of economic vibrancy and an improved quality of life. We also saw several cities in the top 10 improve dramatically since our Innovation That Matters report in 2016. Atlanta jumped 15 spots to No. 6, and Dallas moved 12 places to No 7.

All 25 cities included in the rankings have well-established and growing startup communities, which means they are already good examples of how to attract and benefit from innovative new companies. Now, the Chamber Technology Engagement Center, or C_TEC, is working to spread the word about these successes around the country so that other cities can create connections, foster collaboration between local stakeholders, and avoid missing out on the extraordinary benefits of our new economy.

C_TEC pursues public policy solutions for the challenges companies and cities face. It brings together leaders from government and business to explore new ideas, including through events like TecNation—a conference it hosted last week. Innovation That Matters offers insights into the important issues facing tech and America. It will help civic leaders discover what works, where their cities’ efforts are falling short, and how they can create stronger ecosystems that benefit startups, institutions, government, and citizens.

About the authors

Thomas J. Donohue

Thomas J. Donohue

Thomas J. Donohue is advisor and former chief executive officer of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

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