Startup Universal is a content platform covering technology startups globally with a focus on emerging startup ecosystems—those with untapped growth potential that are currently under-covered and underserved. Startup Universal’s mission is to uncover and broadcast technology opportunities around the world.
The platform includes in-depth Country Guides featuring ecosystem overviews, insights from ecosystem leaders, local industry & company info, funding & hiring activity, and available community resources. It also includes locally sourced news and expert commentary covering the latest developments, trends, and things to look out for in each country’s startup ecosystem.
Startup Universal serves as an information source for ecosystem builders, both locals and foreigners, looking to:
- Start tech startups (Entrepreneurs)
- Fund tech startups (Investors)
- Join tech startups (Talent)
- Cover tech startups (Journalists)
Startup Universal was born out of a journey around the world. In 2017, founder Jonathan Moed left his startup job in New York and embarked on a year-long trip traveling the world with his wife Zoe. While traveling through Asia, Africa, Europe, and South America, he began a passion project to meet with entrepreneurs and technology startups in each of the countries he visited, and wrote about his experiences as a contributing writer for Forbes. This journey made Jonathan appreciate the incredible talent and technology around the world, but also the lack of accessible, quality content covering startups in many high-potential tech ecosystems. That’s why Jonathan decided to create a platform: Startup Universal.
Jonathan spent the next few months mapping out the world's emerging startup ecosystems, and identifying leaders within these ecosystems, including notable founders, investors, and thought leaders. Then the real work began. Through networking, he connected with these leaders to both pinpoint the types of information that would be most valuable to them, and to capture their insights. Finally, Jonathan and Margot organized this information, culminating in the launch of Startup Universal. Today, the site features Country Guides for 44 startup ecosystems across 5 continents, and tech news covering over 100 countries. The Startup Universal team continues to add countries to the platform and understand how best to serve the members of each ecosystem.
Startup Universal uniquely highlights accomplishments and opportunities within the world's emerging startup ecosystems. Existing global tech news sites and ecosystem maps typically overlook ecosystems outside of the Western world, and while there are localized tech news sites covering the ‘other’ countries, these sites often lack the resources and reach to showcase their ecosystem internationally. This situation perpetuates the uneven globalization of startups and venture capital. According to data published by the Center for American Entrepreneurship, “just 24 cities account for three-quarters of global venture capital investment, despite housing just four percent of the world’s population.”
Ecosystems in the ‘rest’ of the world, lacking the capital and experience found in more mature markets, must attract these assets from other countries in order to grow. These developing ecosystems depend on the transfer of information to showcase progress. On the flipside, the world’s most mature ecosystems have become oversaturated, leading to the overvaluation of startups and challenging investor returns. As a result, entrepreneurs and investors in these mature markets are more actively exploring opportunities abroad. By shining a light on what’s happening around the world—specifically in ecosystems that are growing, but don't yet have a global presence—Startup Universal aims to facilitate increased communication across borders and more effectively realize international opportunities.
Startup Universal is a platform in the truest sense of the word: a stage for those with a story to tell. It provides an entry point into startup ecosystems, presenting foundational rather than exhaustive information about those ecosystems. The platform is unique not only in terms of the countries it focuses on (the where), but also in terms of the way it generates content (the how).
The Where: As mentioned above, Startup Universal focuses primarily on ecosystems where it can provide significant value: emerging ecosystems in underserved markets with fewer existing resources and less coverage. The site includes insights and news covering countries across Asia, Latin America, Africa, and parts of Europe. Each pilot country was selected based on its location, current traction, and potential for scalable growth.
In addition to the emerging ecosystems, the platform covers a selection of more mature ecosystems such as China, Singapore, Sweden, and Spain. These ecosystems are included because of their roles as feeders and integrators for other ecosystems, whether through capital or talent. For instance, China and Singapore serve as anchor ecosystems for Southeast Asia; Sweden’s ecosystem is connected to much of Northern Europe; and Spain’s ecosystem is connected to the Latin American markets, serving as a bridge between Europe and Latin America.
The How: Startup Universal aims to showcase the full extent of the world’s tech talent and opportunities through several phases:
- Phase 1: Cover (develop, aggregate, and package content for underserved startup ecosystems)
- Phase 2: Curate (build out a network of local partners and contributors to better qualify news and opportunities)
- Phase 3: Connect (facilitate connections between interested parties to pursue opportunities)
For each country, Startup Universal collaborates with local leaders and uses a mix of branded and user-generated content. The team enlists the help of a country “Guest Editor”—a well-known local investor/founder/thought leader with deep experience and knowledge—to offer their insights and perspectives. Each Guest Editor helps construct a Country Guide covering everything from the main differentiators of the ecosystem, to a curated list of up-and-coming startups. Additionally, the team sources content from contributors/publishers on the ground in the countries they're writing about, and offers anyone involved in the tech community the ability to submit content for consideration. This crowdsourced “wiki” model ensures the content is current and dynamic.
With this approach in mind, as the Startup Universal team continues to build out the platform, it is always looking for passionate tech community members to get involved and help spread the word. If you’re interested in helping transform your startup ecosystem, you can submit content for your ecosystem’s Country Guide, or you can submit a contributor post about your ecosystem.
Startup Universal would love to hear from you! Whether you have a question, are offering feedback, or would like to explore a partnership, you can reach out via email ([email protected]) or connect on social media (links below in the site footer).