Richard Florida is a co-founder and editor at large of CityLab and a senior editor at The Atlantic. He is a university professor in the University of Toronto’s School of Cities and Rotman School of Management, and a distinguished fellow at New York University’s Schack Institute of Real Estate.
New York and Boston are trying to get a bigger slice of the VC pie. But a new report suggests they're going to have to work a lot harder.
The venture capital industry bounced back considerably in 2011, according a report released last week by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association. Investments totaled $28.4 billion, an increase of 22 percent over 2010 and a whopping 44 percent from 2009. They are almost back to their 2007 pre-crisis high of $30.8 billion.
The map above, by the Martin Prosperity Institute's Zara Matheson, shows the regional breakdown. (The PWC MoneyTree data is only available for this set of regions). Silicon Valley remains the leading center for venture capital investment with $11.6 billion, 40 percent of the total. New England (mainly the greater Boston area) was second with $3.2 billion in capital, 11 percent of the total. Greater New York was not far behind, with $2.7 billion or almost 10 percent. It also bested New England in the third quarter of 2011.
The graph above tracks venture capital investments since 1995 for the five biggest regional centers for investment. While much has been made recently of New York's rise in venture capital and high-technology, the graph shows a pretty stable baseline over the past decade with a modest uptick over the past couple of years. If anything, Silicon Valley's overall lead, and the gap between it and New York, New England and other leading regions, appears to be increasing.
Venture capital investment can and does flow widely across regions and is attracted to areas with the best deals and strongest ecosystems for innovation and entrepreneurship. It is largely a myth that a lack of venture capital funds in certain places holds back innovation there. Generally speaking, efforts to publicly provide or subsidize venture capital in and to certain locations have been fraught with difficulty.