Here are some data that compare Silicon Valley to Boston. As I wrote in a sister post, I was astonished to learn that some people in Boston are not aware of these facts. I encourage readers to add additional data in the comments section below.

Source: Richard Florida, Martin Prosperity Institute, University of Toronto

The Silicon Valley Advantage – Some Benchmarks

Pop 2006
Silicon Valley has more people 

San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA

Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA-NH  Metro Area1,735,819

GDP per Capita

It has substantially more economic output per head 

San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA

Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA-NH  Metro Area$73,656.90
The creative class makes up a larger percentage of its workforce  


San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA44.09%
Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA-NH  Metro Area40.61%
It has a higher level of human capital (measured as share of adults with a BA and abovePctTalent
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA43.43%
Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA-NH  Metro Area40.56%
It has higher average incomesAvgInc06
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA$65,854.09
Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA-NH  Metro Area$60,494.32
It has a lot more high tech, about double.HTLQ
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA3.09
Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA-NH  Metro Area1.42
This also shows  up when we use the Milken Institute’s Tech-Tole metricTechPole
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA6.32
Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA-NH  Metro Area3.45
Patent Count
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA5799
Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA-NH  Metro Area2711
It generates way more patents per headPatents per10K
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA32.49
Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA-NH  Metro Area6.09

Source: Education and Tech Entrepreneurship

Wadhwa, Vivek, Freeman, Richard B. and Rissing, Ben, Education and Tech Entrepreneurship (May 1, 2008). Available at SSRN:

Source: America’s New Immigrant Entrepreneurs: Part I

Wadhwa, Vivek, Saxenian, AnnaLee, Rissing, Ben and Gereffi, Gary, America’s New Immigrant Entrepreneurs: Part I (January 4, 2007). Duke Science, Technology & Innovation Paper No. 23. Available at SSRN:

Source: Empirical Reality blog

Source: Recession and Recovery: An Economic Reset, Bay Area Economic Profile, April 2010
















Source: PWC NVCA Moneytree report.



Source: CBN Insights

Massachusetts  is even lagging NY now according to CBN Insights: Massachusetts vs. New York venture capital



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  • Enricop

    Vivek – Boston entrepreneurs should thank you for casting a credible spotlight onto a situation that IMO has restrained innovation here for decades. The more pressure and the more eyes that are open at the state house, the better. I am not claiming that all VC’s here are ultra risk averse, but take a minute to think about beyond the #s to some key digital tech influencers that started in Boston, but ended up following the cash to the West Coast: Apple, Qualcomm, EBay, Facebook to name a few. Now, beyond their own employment and contribution to the tax base, how many feeder and legacy companies, and generations of engineers and limited partners would have been created in Boston if those firms had stayed? The reason you hit a nerve is that you are a professor, and the tremendous egos here will not publicly face reality. MIT entrepreneurship is based on core technology that is seed funded by government grants, and VC’s get in later with a seed stage valuation. Less risk and more reward, thanks to Uncle Sam and a capital network largely closed to any ideas and teams that don’t fit that formula. In the past 18 months I have seen a more entrepreneur friendly concerted effort to become more like SV, but ask the CEO of 140 how she seed-funded her startup for more proof that things have not changed. I’m a Bostonian and I welcome your observations and assessments. I encourage you to keep banging the drum, and maybe you will one day go from zero to hero here in MA.

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  • HOLY TOLEDO OHIO, Geez, Louise … and here I’m going to give it one last shot in Bahstin, launch a spiffy new incubated stahtUP, maybe ovAH in the newest, shiny INNOVATION DISTRICT, Southie, the MayAHS new sandbox idea. THEN I’ll retire, again, take lots of naps. I was a kid when 128 was built as a road! Very clever engineering. Make it ten miles (10 mi) circumferential to Boston. Build a second circumferential ROAD (Rte 495) 20 miles from Boston. Fill it up in between with people, companies, little league baseball diamonds, bi-directional transports, even schools and places to buy bread and milk when the snowstorms fly in from the NOR’EASTerly. Whala, it WERKED, only took 60 years! There you go; INNOVATIVE thinkin’ fast on your feet! I’m going to make my company national though…my office is in my pocket these days…and I have places to go…and to ‘implement’, er EXECUTE … before I fall asleep…or go into that good night. BTW 128 was built in the mid-50’s; coupla’ things have changed around the PROVINCE since then. Now, they have seats, on AIRPLANES, that fly through the air…go back and forth, coast to coast in 240 minutes +/-, depending on where you pahk your cah!? AND we should point out…limited net-access over in that South Boston Seaport District, um, the INNOVATION SANDBOX…limited Wi-Fi too, I mean, also, NOT such a way-cool whatchamacallit. THEY haven’t got to that yet. Need a committee, and deep thinkahs. My new nfc, rfid thingamajig thing here on my key-chain can’t even contact ZipCah! Fortunately we ken walk the Rose Kennedy Greenway…it just got WI-FI…that only took 20 years…and $15 billion to implement BUT there’s a new Merry-Go-Round ovah there now…I think I saw Scotty K ridin’ it…I know at least he writ about it; he means well, I’m sure…btw I love the kids around here every year…I love Boston; great college city in the Spring, Summer, and Fall…lots of good sports…the Eastern Sprints, Marathons, the BeanPot hockey tournament…BUT in the wintah the weather sucks! Pretty up Maine way though…if you can get there from here.. just sayin’…I don’t want to get too technical. I’m not so Techie…taught myself how to two-finger type on a linotype machine…but I digress. Best, kr. Welcome to Boston! It all works out, in time…

  • buch

    There is at least one other MIT contest “winner.” Nicholas DeLuca won the prize a number of years ago (when it was only 10K, as i recall, and started a company based on innovative packaging technology using airbags for protecting products during shipping. He moved here (another vote for Silicon Valley) and a group of angels funded it, refined the product a great deal, and sold it to a major packaging company. So, chalk up at least one for MIT.

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