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APIs: The Unsung Heroes of our Connected World

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What is an API?

APIs: The Unsung Heroes of our Connected World

Connected digital platforms improve our lives in many ways. We use social network profiles to log onto apps and websites, third-party payment systems while online shopping, and we share our activity data from devices like Fitbit. How do all these platforms work together so seamlessly?

It’s all done through a technology known as Application Programming Interfaces (APIs).

As today’s infographic from Raconteur demonstrates, thousands of APIs are allowing companies to work together and share data in powerful ways.

Here are the four main business models that use APIs:

Business ModelDescriptionExample Companies
API is the ProductThe API itself is the primary source of revenueAmazon Web Services, Skype
API Projects the ProductAllows partners and third-parties to integrateeBay, Spotify
API Promotes the ProductAdvertises your product, shares data to generate interestAmazon, Vimeo, Netflix
API Powers the ProductA channel to drive new data / content onto platformFacebook, YouTube, Twitter

How Do APIs Work?

An API is essentially a messenger that delivers a request to the provider you’re requesting it from, and then delivers the response back to you. Here are some of real-world examples:

Travel Sites – If you are using a travel site (e.g. Travelocity, Expedia), APIs are what allow that site to “talk to” airline databases to generate results to your query. Without an API, there would be no way for travel websites to aggregate flight and hotel quotes in real time.

Advertising – If you are a marketer, you are likely using a service to manage your campaigns in one place. Social platforms like Twitter have an API for ads that allows for integration between their platform and selected advertising solutions. This keeps marketers from having to log in to every single social website to manage their campaigns.

Apps – Say you open up a weather app on your iWatch. That app needs to get its information from a source, typically a website like weather.com. Apple could scrape information off the website, but APIs allow a more standardized, stable approach for requesting information. This way, weather.com can dictate the structure of information requests to facilitate the seamless flow of information.

Next time you’re cursing the weather forecast on your phone, remember the hero who fetched the information for you.

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Ranked: The Top Startup Cities Around the World

Here are the global startup ecosystem rankings, highlighting the scale and maturity of major tech hubs worldwide.

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This bar chart shows the top startup ecosystems in the world in 2024.

The Top Startup Cities Around the World

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

A richly connected network of founders, venture capital firms, and tech talent are some of the key ingredients driving a startup ecosystem.

As engines of growth, these tech clusters are evolving on a global scale. While the world’s leading startup cities are concentrated in America, several ecosystems, such as Beijing and Seoul, are growing in prominence as countries focus on technological advancement to spur innovation.

This graphic shows the best startup cities worldwide, based on data from Pitchbook.

The Global Startup Ecosystem Rankings

To determine the rankings, each city was analyzed based on the scale and maturity of their startup ecosystem over a six-year period ending in the second quarter of 2023.

Among the inputs analyzed and used to calculate the overall development score were fundraising activity, venture capital deals, and exit value:

RankCityDevelopment ScoreCapital RaisedDeal CountExit Value
1🇺🇸 San Francisco90$427.6B19,898$766.3B
2🇺🇸 New York76$179.9B13,594$171.7B
3🇨🇳 Beijing76$161.2B8,835$279.2B
4🇨🇳 Shanghai73$130.3B7,422$186.8B
5🇺🇸 Los Angeles71$144.6B9,781$181.4B
6🇺🇸 Boston70$117.0B6,044$172.8B
7🇬🇧 London64$99.0B11,533$71.9B
8🇨🇳 Shenzhen63$46.4B5,020$66.3B
9🇰🇷 Seoul61$31.1B6,196$71.0B
10🇯🇵 Tokyo60$26.2B5,590$28.0B
11🇨🇳 Hangzhou59$50.7B3,361$88.7B
12🇺🇸 Washington D.C.55$43.7B2,706$28.2B
13🇺🇸 Seattle54$31.7B2,693$35.6B
14🇸🇬 Singapore52$45.7B4,507$38.0B
15🇺🇸 San Diego52$33.5B2,023$44.7B
16🇺🇸 Austin52$26.4B2,636$22.9B
17🇨🇳 Guangzhou52$24.7B1,700$24.0B
18🇮🇱 Tel Aviv51$21.0B1,936$32.2B
19🇺🇸 Denver51$26.8B2,489$29.9B
20🇩🇪 Berlin50$31.2B2,469$15.9B

San Francisco dominates the pack, with $427.6 billion in capital raised over the six-year period.

Despite a challenging funding environment, nearly 20,000 deals closed, highlighting its outsized role in launching tech startups. Both OpenAI and rival Anthropic are headquartered in the city, thanks to its broad pool of tech talent and venture capital firms. Overall, 11,812 startups were based in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2023, equal to about 20% of startups in America.

Falling next in line is New York City, which raised $179.9 billion over the same time period. Crypto firm Gemini and machine learning company, Hugging Face, are two examples of startups based in the city.

As the top-ranking hub outside of America, Beijing is home to TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, which is one of the most valuable private companies in the world.

In recent years, much of the startup funding in China is being driven by government-backed funds. In particular, these funds are focusing heavily on “hard tech” such as semiconductor-makers and electric vehicle companies that align with the government’s strategic long-term goals.

Another leading tech hub, Singapore, has the highest venture capital funding per capita worldwide. In 2023, this was equal to an impressive $1,060 in venture funding per person. By comparison, venture funding was $345 per person in the U.S., the second-highest globally.

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