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This Wilmington Or That Wilmington: Startup Ranking Highlights Mistaken Identity

By Johanna Cano, posted Jun 3, 2022
The region recently made headlines for ranking high on a list of the world’s best places for startups, but the list also illuminated a problem the city often faces when it comes to sharing its name with Wilmington, Delaware as well as errors that can be caused by the automation of data.

Not only did Wilmington make the Global Startup Ecosystem Index again this year, the city also went up 16 spots from last year making it one of the top locations in the world for startups, according to the report.

In the 2022 index, created by startup ecosystem research center StartupBlink, Wilmington came in at No. 79 in the chart showing global ranking by cities.

Built from “thousands of data points,” the index is processed by an algorithm that considers several parameters divided into three scores: quantity, quality and business environment.

Under quantity, the report looks at the number of startups, coworking spaces, accelerators and startup-related meetups. Under quality, it considers company traction including customer base; number of employees per startup; presence of unicorns, exits and pantheon companies, global startup events, startups backed by accelerators and more.

The business environment focuses on general indicators connected to infrastructure and the overall ecosystem including diversity, internet speed and freedom, research and development investment, patents per capita and more.

Under this methodology, Wilmington got a score of 8.456, not far behind Charlotte’s 9.2 and Raleigh-Durham, the highest region in the state at No. 41, received an 18.6.

Most notably, for cities with populations between 100,000 and 300,000 Wilmington ranked at No. 2 in the world.

But then things get a little confusing when looking at StartupBlink’s global map website which shows Wilmington, N.C.’s notable startups as Streamable, a Wilmington, Delaware startup, and Beamer, a Colorado-based startup with seemingly no ties to Wilmington, N.C.

Talentegy, listed as a notable startup, is headquartered in Dover, Delaware and has a co-founder based in Wilmington, N.C. according to Dwaine Maltais' LinkedIn profile.

The list of startups goes on to include other Wilmington, Delaware and Dover, Delaware startups, but does include locally-based Apiture, KWIPPED, Performance Culture, Electronic Lab Logs, among others.

When asked about these discrepancies in startup locations under the Wilmington, N.C. listings, StartupBlink CEO Eli David said the database is fueled by global partners whose specific data entry is not checked manually.

“That means that the data is prone to mistakes, especially when there are duplicate city names in different states,” he said in an email.

However, he said most of the startups are positioned on the map under Wilmington N.C., therefore, this is indeed the ecosystem ranked.

According to the ranking, Wilmington is an ideal place to locate for hardware and IoT (Internet of Things), marketing and sales and social and leisure startups. The map does not show any accelerators, coworking spaces or startup organizations in Wilmington.

The report stated under its methodology that determining a startup location can be a daunting task in today’s global economy.

“Startups may naturally change locations as they evolve due to tax or marketing reasons. Our guiding principle here is determining which ecosystem pushed it to become what it is today, or, in other words, by asking: where did the magic happen?” the report stated.
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