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The changing face of North America’s tech ecosystem

Georgia, Florida and British Columbia join the top 10 tech hubs

Georgia, Florida and British Columbia are emerging as tech hubs for TMT companies, driven by government R&D funding, access to talent and resources and innovation-driven university curricula.

IN 2019, the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 marked a milestone: For the 25th year, Deloitte recognised 500 North American companies at the cutting edge of the technology industry, combining innovation, entrepreneurship and rapid growth.1

While traditional strongholds such as California, New York, Massachusetts and Ontario, Canada, continue to host the largest number of fast-growing tech companies, results from Deloitte’s 2019 Technology Fast 500 awards suggest that the remainder of the North American tech landscape is changing rapidly (see figure 1). The 2019 Fast 500 highlighted the rise of several emerging hubs—including Georgia, Florida and British Columbia—that tech, media and telecom (TMT) companies should consider in terms of investment, diversification and expansion.

Several factors have enabled these budding locations to host increasing numbers of Fast 500 tech companies.

No. 5 Georgia, for example, has benefited from Atlanta Tech Village, a catalyst that allows tech startups to hit the ground running.2 Moreover, Georgia’s state-level universities and educational institutions play an important role in supporting the region’s tech ventures; local colleges are weaving in new types of entrepreneurship-related programmes as part of their curriculum to promote students’ tech business ideas and ventures.3

Ranked No. 9, Florida benefits from an ambitious plan to become a global tech hub, which includes hosting an array of events geared to startup companies.4 The state has a range of venture capital firms, accelerators and collaborative workspaces that support and enable promising tech startups to operate and grow.

At No. 10, British Columbia’s government-led initiatives and local universities have combined to make the region a hotbed of fast-growing tech companies.5 Thanks to government funding, R&D assistance and tax credits, tech ventures can be launched at a lower cost than in many other North American provinces and states. In addition, local universities have sharpened their focus on offering world-class computer science, engineering and tech courses, aiming to foster a startup culture.

All of the emerging Fast 500 tech hubs have three things in common:

  • Access to talent, resources, and expertise via accelerators and incubators
  • Government support in the form of R&D funding
  • Redesign of university curriculum to mirror tech innovation and a startup culture

The next herd of unicorns6 could very well emerge from these emerging Fast 500 states and provinces—presenting new options for TMT companies looking to invest in, buy, or partner with new-age tech companies in North America.

Technology, Media & Telecommunications

Deloitte’s Technology, Media & Telecommunications (TMT) industry practice brings together one of the world’s largest group of specialists respected for helping shape many of the world’s most recognised TMT brands—and helping those brands thrive in a digital world.

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Thanks to Gavin Graves (Fast 500 programme leader) for his support and inputs, to Susanne Hupfer for her thoughtful suggestions, and to Anand Chakilam for his help with designing the visual.

Artist credit: Viktor Koen

  1. See Deloitte, 2019 Technology Fast 500 winners. Winners—representing public and private technology, media, telecommunications, life sciences, and energy tech companies in North America—are selected based on percentage fiscal-year income growth over a three-year period. The ranking is compiled from applications submitted directly to the Technology Fast 500 website and public company database research conducted by Deloitte LLP.

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  2. Mary Ann Azevedo, “From the shadows of the Fortune 500, Atlanta emerges as a tech hub,” Crunchbase, October 2, 2019.

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  3. For example, Georgia Tech has a number of on-campus tech incubators and accelerators to support its students’ entrepreneurial ventures. See Georgia Tech College of Computing, “Entrepreneurial resources,” accessed December 11, 2019.

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  4. Elizabeth MacBride, “Miami is rising as a tech hub, with some surprising help,” Forbes, September 3, 2019.

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  5. Ramin Behzadi, “From elite talent to the maple syrup mafia: What’s generated the buzz surrounding British Columbia’s tech scene,” Crunchbase, May 7, 2019.

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  6. Unicorn refers to a privately held startup company with $1 billion or more in market value, as determined by private or public investment.

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