New data reveals Minneapolis’ rapid tech growth


meetupUsing the API, business intelligence firm RJMetrics recently analyzed tech events from across the world and concluded that Minneapolis is one of the top 5 fastest-growing tech cities in the U.S., coming in at #2, behind Portland.

It’s a fresh analysis and one that echoes sentiments from the recent ‘What’s Next?’ Minnebar session  where we touched on the growing supply and demand of tech events happening in Minnesota (100+ in April alone).

What the Meetup data does do is take that isolated data (localized event activity) a critical step further by comparing/contrasting with other markets.  What it does not do is include events that are not on or conferences, although that affects every (US) market equally in theory.

RJMetrics positions their findings as “Identifying the hottest startup cities in the world,” but making the jump from Meetups to “Hottest startup city” is a very big one, considering the fact that those attending tech events are, by in large, not all founders/employees of startup companies.  Realistically, the bulk of Meetup attendees are likely working for a larger more established company, especially in Minnesota where we’re known for our Fortune 500 density.

In other words, you could have more Meetup’s in your city but still have less startup activity at the end of the day, although there is surely some (unknown) correlation between events and startups.

Not to say that there isn’t something of significance here — because there certainly is.  Tech meetups/events are another way to measure the hyper local health of an industry overall. As spokesperson Tristan Handy notes, “Meetups are human capital factories; they are how people in tech get together to network, talk shop, and learn from each other.”

If and when properly combined with other quantitative startup metrics such as the number tech startups per capita or venture capital dollars invested, that’s where things can get interesting and truly startup relative.
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“New York and California are well out in front, with the usual suspects following behind. In fact, California and New York are so dominant that they have more meetup memberships than the rest of the country put together.”

So — this is research is not to say that Minneapolis is #2 in the total number of tech meetups (not even top 10), rather that the year over year growth is notable and indicative trending activity + future potential:

  • Minneapolis population: 382,605
  • Total meetup members: 15,041
  • Members as a % of population: 4
  • Year over year growth percentage: 98
  • Total meetup count: 95
  • Largest meetup by members: 1,101
  • Overall score: 84
  • Overall rank: 17

While information of this nature can be always interpreted a number of ways, it’s fascinating to see this sort of data presented and the entire report is worthy of a read for those concerned with vitality around the state of tech in Minneapolis and beyond.  It’s happening.