Cost of living in and visiting the best 26 startup cities

Entrepreneurs are dreamers and explorers, constantly looking for new opportunities. If you are in the business of creating, it is only natural for you to look outside of your comfort zone and wonder if moving to a new city will give you opportunities that you can’t have at home. After all, smart people huddle together, investors position themselves in “brain
hubs”, and everyone wants to ride the next
Silicon Valley wave.

The Startup Compass put together a comprehensive, data-driven report,ranking the world’s top startup ecosystems. In the first version they released the top 20 startup cities and in the second version they added 5 more cities to the list and removed Waterloo (Canada) from the top 25 list.

Moving to a different city, just because it is a better startup hub, isn’t always realistic. But in any case, spending a week or a month making connections and pitching your startup like crazy to potential investors
is a good idea.

Cost of living in each city for one month

How much will it cost for you to live in each startup city for one month?

San Francisco (not surprisingly) is the most expensive to live in for one month and Bangalore
is the cheapest.

cost of living for one month in the best startup cities

To get the total monthly living cost for each city we:

  • Averaged the first 72 postings on AirBnB to find the monthly rental price
  • Assumed you will be eating 3 cheap restaurant meals a day
  • Added the average monthly cost of a desk at a co-working space
  • Added the price of a monthly metro pass
  • Included the price of an orange and a piece of bread you might want to snack on during the day

Cost to visit each city for one week

How much would visiting each start-up city for one week cost you?

To visit for one week, New York is the most expensive, and
Bangalore again is the cheapest.

cost of visiting the best startup cities for one week

To get the cost of a one week trip we:

  • Assumed you will be eating 3 cheap restaurant meals a day
  • Took the average price of one night in a hostel
  • Added a daily snack budget that includes oranges and bread
  • Included the price of two metro tickets a day
  • Added the price of a cappuccino you will have to buy at Starbucks to use Wi-Fi.

How long before you run out of cash?

Let’s say you took the risk. You and your co-founder saved $50k together
and decided to move. What is your runway?

You can live in Bangalore for around 3 years, and in San Francisco for only 7 months on $50k.

runway in months for each top startup city

Have a look at each one of the 26 start-up cities, listed from the most expensive to the most affordable. Keep reading to find out some interesting facts about each city.

1. San Francisco & Bay Area, USA

san francisco city picture

Image by [Alain Picard]

  • Population: 7 million
  • Start-ups on AngelList: 18,649
  • Investors on AngelList: 28,358
  • San Francisco has the most start-ups and investors registered on AngelList
  • San Francisco has the most expensive bottled water, sold for $2.01 on average

san francisco cost of living and visiting data

2. New York, USA

New York City Picture

  • Population: 8.406 million (2013)
  • Start-ups on AngelList: 11,173
  • Investors on AngelList: 12,430
  • The only city on the list with a 1 to 1 ratio of investors to startups registered on Angel List.
  • If you love your cappuccinos, New York will be the most expensive place for you indulge your craving.
  • One night in a hostel is the most expensive, in New York.
  • You will pay the most for a desk in a co-working space for one month in New York.

New York cost of living and visiting data

3. Washington D.C., USA

washington city picture

Image by [Nicolas Raymond]

  • Population: 7.062 million (2014)
  • Start-ups on AngelList: 1,992
  • Investors on AngelList: 9,225

washington cost of living and visiting data

4. London, United Kingdom

London city picture

Image by [Tony Smith]

  • Population: 8.539 million (2014)
  • Start-ups on AngelList: 5,514
  • Investors on AngelList: 8,402
  • The most expensive restaurant meal is in London ($18 per meal)
  • London, also has the most expensive one-way metro ride

london cost of living and visiting data

5. Chicago, USA

Chicago city picture

Image by [Giuseppe Milo]

  • Population: 2.719 million (2013)
  • Start-ups on AngelList: 2,214
  • Investors on AngelList: 10,477

Chicago cost of living and visiting data

6. Seattle, USA

Seattle city picture

Image by [dannymac15_1999]

  • Population: 652,405 (2013)
  • Start-ups on AngelList: 1,407
  • Investors on AngelList: 10,479

Seattle cost of living data

7. Los Angeles, USA

Los Angeles city picture

Image by [Neil Kremer]

  • Population: 3.884 million (2013)
  • Start-ups on AngelList: 6,106
  • Investors on AngelList: 14,825
  • Los Angeles has the second most investors registered on AngelList, with a 2 to 1 ratio of investors per startup

Lost Angeles cost of living

8. Singapore, Singapore

Singapore city picture

Image by [Khairul Nizam]

  • Population: 5.399 million (2013)
  • Start-ups on AngelList: 1,104
  • Investors on AngelList: 11,206
  • The ratio of investors to startups is 10 to 1
  • Singapore has the most expensive bottle of beer at $4.00

Singapore cost of living and visiting data

9. Austin, USA

austin city picture

Image by [Earl McGehee]

  • Population: 885,400 (2013)
  • Start-ups on AngelList: 1,742
  • Investors on AngelList: 10,579

austin cost of living and visiting data

10. Sydney, Australia

Sydney city picture

Image by [Mertie .]

  • Population: 4.293 million
  • Start-ups on AngelList: 1,037
  • Investors on AngelList: 2,649

Sydney cost of living data

11. Tel Aviv, Israel

Tel Aviv city picture

Image by [Robert Brands]

  • Population: 411,800 (2012)
  • Start-ups on AngelList: 197
  • Investors on AngelList: 11,260
  • The most expensive McDonalds meal from all of the cities is in Tel Aviv, at $11.94

Tel Aviv cost of living

12. Paris, France

Paris city picture

Image by [Moyan Brenn]

  • Population: 2.24 million (2012)
  • Start-ups on AngelList: 1,503
  • Investors on AngelList: 5,838
  • A bottle of coke is the most expensive here out of all the cities at $3.78

Paris cost of living and visiting data

13. Boston, USA

Boston city picture

Image by [Trenten Kelley]

  • Population: 645,966 (2013)
  • Start-ups on AngelList: 2,933
  • Investors on AngelList: 11,752

Boston cost of living and visiting data

14. Vancouver, Canada

Vancouver city picture

Image by [JamesZ_Flickr]

  • Population: 603,500 (2011)
  • Start-ups on AngelList: 1,093
  • Investors on AngelList: 4,035

Vancouver cost of living and visiting data

15. Melbourne, Australia

Melbourne city picture

Image by [Steve Davidson]

  • Population: 4.087 million (2012)
  • Start-ups on AngelList: 738
  • Investors on AngelList: 2,522

Melbourne cost of living and visiting data

16. Toronto, Canada

Toronto city picture

Image by [Robert]

  • Population: 2.615 million (2011)
  • Start-ups on AngelList: 2,142
  • Investors on AngelList: 4,178

Toronto cost of living and visiting data

17. Moscow, Russia

Moscow city picture

Image by [Kirill Ξ/Κ Voloshin]

  • Population: 11.92 million (2012)
  • Start-ups on AngelList: 1,312
  • Investors on AngelList: 13,434
  • By population, Moscow is the second largest city in the list, between Mumbai and Sao Paulo.
  • Moscow has a 10 to 1 ratio of investors to startups.

Moscow cost of living and visiting data

18. Montreal, Canada

Montreal city picture

Image by [Tony Brooks]

  • Population: 1.65 million (2011)
  • Start-ups on AngelList: 868
  • Investors on AngelList: 3,822

Montreal cost of living and visiting data

19. Berlin, Germany

Berlin city picture

Image by [Davis Staedtler]

  • Population: 3.502 million (2012)
  • Start-ups on AngelList: 1,094
  • Investors on AngelList: 6,080
  • Berlin is the cheapest place on the list to drink a bottle of water

Berlin cost of living and visiting data

20. Waterloo, Canada

waterloo city picture

Image by [Andre Recnik]

  • Population: 98,780 (2011)
  • Start-ups on AngelList: 170
  • Investors on AngelList: 3,737

Waterloo cost of living and visiting data

21. Sao Paulo, Brazil

Sao Paulo city picture

Image by [Diego Torres Silvestre]

  • Population: 11.32 million (2011)
  • Start-ups on AngelList: 589
  • Investors on AngelList: 2,554

Sao Paulo cost of living and visiting data

22. Madrid, Spain

Madrid city picture

Image by [imagea.org]

  • Population: 3.16 million (2014)
  • Start-ups on AngelList: 447
  • Investors on AngelList: 5,527
  • The second city on the list, following Bangalore, with the cheapest monthly AirBnB rental

Madrid cost of living and visiting data

23. Santiago, Chile

Santiago city picture

Image by [Gonzalo Baeza]

  • Population: 5.128 million (2014)
  • Start-ups on AngelList: 579
  • Investors on AngelList: 2,067
  • You can get the cheapest co-working desk for only $54 a month

Santiago cost of living and visiting data

24. Warsaw, Poland

warsaw city picture

Image by [Giuseppe Milo]

  • Population: 1.711 million (2012)
  • Start-ups on AngelList: 576
  • Investors on AngelList: 5,186
  • If you like your occasional beer, you can find the cheapest prices for a bottle of beer in Warsaw

Warsaw cost of living and visiting data

25. Mumbai, India

Mumbai city picture

Image by [Arian Zwegers]

  • Population: 20.7 million (2011)
  • Start-ups on AngelList: 1,216
  • Investors on AngelList: 11,729
  • Mumbai is the largest city on the list, and always in the top 4 cheapest cities.

Mumbai cost of living and visiting data

26. Bangalore, India

Bangalore city picture

Image by [Masaru Kamikura]

  • Population: 8.42 million (2011)
  • Start-ups on AngelList: 1,980
  • Investors on AngelList: 11,724
  • You can get a meal for only $1.58, making this is the cheapest city for restaurant food on the list

Bangalore cost of living and visiting data

Key takeaways:

  • San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Toronto, and London have either a 2 to 1 or 1 to 2 ratio of investors to startups.
    These cities can be the most competitive to find funding in.
  • Moscow, Mumbai, Tel Aviv, Singapore, Madrid and Warsaw all have over a 9 to 1 ratio of investors to startups. These cities may have the most
    funding opportunities available.
  • A bottle of beer in Moscow, Berlin, Madrid or Warsaw is less then $1.00. In contrast, Singapore, Sydney, Melbourne and Tel Aviv have
    the most expensive alcohol.
  • If you like your cappuccinos go to Bangalore, Mumbai, Sao Paulo and Madrid. Avoid buying fancy coffee drinks in New York, Washington, Seattle and London.

Assumptions and notes:

  • Currency - USD
  • AirBnB was used to get the monthly rental prices. We took the first 72 listings for each city, deleted the outliers and the top 10% most
    expensive rentals listed. We assumed founders will hunt
    for the best deals.
  • Prices from AirBnB were taken for the month of August. AirBnB is a very seasonal website and rentals in the summer will be more
    expensive than other times of the year.
  • To expand on this analysis, it might be worthwhile looking at rent prices on local rental websites. It is certainly cheaper to sign a lease
    for 6 months to 1 year or find a place to live outside of the city.
  • Desk Surfing was used to average the prices of all the co-working spaces listed for each city.
  • Data on food, drinks and metro passes was taken from Numbeo
  • Hostels.com was used to average the hostel listings on the first page for each city.
  • ParseHub was used to collect data from all relevant websites