Mapping the Startup Ecosystem

Skander Garroum has a mission.  It is broad and it is wide. Worldwide, in fact. His mission is nothing less than understanding the worldwide startup ecosystem.  He needs your help to do it,  but more on that in a moment.

He is the man behind Compass, a benchmarking tool for startups and tech companies.  With 30,000 users worldwide, Compass uses Google Analytics and other metrics to help companies understand how well they are doing, and also grasp their position in the startup ecosystem.

Garroum’s current project is mind-bendingly ambitious, nothing less than mapping the worldwide startup ecosystem. But he has done it before. In 2013 Compass completed a global ecosystem report.

He learned that in Los Angeles, for example, there were a higher amount of non-technical founding teams than there were in Silicon Valley. He learned that, ‘In Silicon Valley, you have a lot of PhDs and Masters coming straight out of university with some kind of fancy concepts who want to apply it to the real world. And in LA, you have more of your mom-and-pop entrepreneurs who saw either a cool solution or new media tool that they wanted to try out or wanted to exist in the world.’

Compiling all that data has made him something of an expert in how startup ecosystems function. He has seen, for example, that everybody has ‘tried to become the next Silicon Valley. And what we’ve seen over the last few years is that that’s not the way to success. That’s not the way to actually develop an ecosystem. Each and every ecosystem is different, and every ecosystem needs to find it’s niche, and every ecosystem needs to find their own solution and their own growth engine.’

He has seen how the Los Angeles startup ecosystem has aimed toward design and fashion, toward media and gaming, and toward consumer-focused startups. These are differentiating factors, worth exploiting, and most likely the key to success for an LA startup.

He sees Los Angeles as a series of interlocking tribes in which the members support each other, are loosely interconnected, and yet these tribes are localized and small, as compared to Silicon Valley. ‘When you are in one of these groups, everything works out.’  This is certainly the case in Santa Monica and Venice, where the startup scene is achieving critical mass.

If you’d like to help Skander map the worldwide startup scene, it’s easy. Just fill out this brief survey, and you’ll even get some cool swag for doing so.