By Angela Hong, June 29, 2015
This post is part of a series that compares Seattle with other cites using these criteria for what it takes for an area to become a health innovation hub:
- Cost of doing business / regulatory complexity
- Talent availability
- Financial capital
- Health institutions one might work with
- Regional culture / quality of life
Our last post compared the relative cost of doing business in Seattle. Seattle falls squarely in the middle compared to the other cities in our sample (Boston, Chicago, NYC, and SF). In this article, we’ll explore how Seattle fares in financial prowess.
In 2012, Seattle was ranked 9th in the top 10 best U.S. cities for business by ThinkAdvisor and also named the “29th most competitive city in the world.” In 2014, it jumped to 4th on Forbes‘ list of “best places to launch a startup.” While many factors make a city favorable to entrepreneurs looking to invest in new health products, financial capital is one of the most important. Its presence in Seattle is helping to make the city an up-and-coming hub for innovation, especially in the field of health.
Compared to other large cities, Seattle is becoming more well-known for its ability to draw ingenuity through financial capital. Exhibit A below shows that the number of angel investors in the city rival those of other major metropolitan areas: such as New York City, San Francisco, Chicago, and Boston. While New York and San Francisco currently outnumber most cities in local angels—at 1221 and 2163, respectively—Boston’s 397 seems reachable for Seattle. The Emerald City, as shown in this Angel List report, has 277 individuals who provide start-up capital for businesses, and this number is even greater than that of Chicago, which currently stands at 271.
This places Seattle in the running with major healthcare innovation hubs. And if the city’s number of investors begins to increase, a rise in healthcare-specific investors at the current rate would put Seattle level with well-established cities in terms of financial capital available for healthcare-related businesses.
Exhibit A: Angel Investor Comparison
Follow the Money
According to this Angel List data, eighty million dollars were invested by Seattle’s angels investing in health startups.This is lower than the other cities in our survey. The highest amount is spent in San Francisco at $1.04 billion and the second lowest is Chicago at $150 million.
Seattle: Financial Capital Overview
While Seattle has many fine qualities which make it an ideal business start-up city, it may not be thought of as a top health innovation hub in the way New York City, San Francisco, Boston, and Chicago are currently perceived. However, with rising numbers of angel investors interested in funding health-related businesses and the amount of financial capital for healthcare innovations already in motion, the city and its resources should be considered by those looking to make a difference in the medical field via creating new products, ideas, and business.
About the author