This week, Startup Genome — an organization that researches tech ecosystems around the world — released its annual Global Startup Ecosystems report. While the report largely focused on international tech hubs like Beijing, Paris, and Tel Aviv, it also measured promising activity in select U.S. cities, including Atlanta, Austin, Chicago, and Houston.

The report found that early-stage investment activity in areas Silicon Valley is most known for — adtech, gaming, and digital media — is declining, while it’s increasing in sectors like advanced manufacturing, robotics, and agtech. Many of the best known startups in these sectors, such as Farmer’s Business Network in agtech and Boston Dynamics in robotics, remain in typical U.S. startup hubs like Silicon Valley, New York, and Boston.

But before heading West or East, aspiring founders in these sectors should take a look at the expertise other states offer. Seven of the 10 states with the largest agriculture sectors by cash receipts are located in the Midwest, while the states with some of the largest manufacturing sectors by gross state product are scattered across the South and Midwest. I think there’s a real opportunity here for startups in smaller ecosystems to lead some of these sectors, given that these startups’ home state might have more industrial depth than other places and that the sectors aren’t yet entirely dominated by existing companies.

Furthermore, the report offers up a piece of advice I think every startup ecosystem should take to heart: “Only a few ecosystems can be the top-performer in the world across the board, but many smaller ecosystems have the potential to become a top cluster for specific sub-sectors.” In other words, don’t worry if your city isn’t home to the next Facebook or Twitter — you don’t need to copy the exact success stories of other ecosystems.

As always, thanks for reading, and please send me your thoughts via email. You can also sign up here for VentureBeat’s Heartland Tech newsletter to get this column in your inbox weekly.

Anna Hensel
Heartland Tech Reporter

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