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Techstars Survey Reveals 76% of Founders Are Optimistic for Their Startup in 2024


Techstars, a NYC-based pre-seed investor, released its second annual State of Innovation Survey.

Based on an analysis of responses from 1,550 entrepreneurs and investors from across the globe, the survey finds that founders are still optimistic about their startup’s prospects this year despite bad circumstances in private markets and a lack of confidence in the return of tech M&A and IPOs soon.

Key insights from the survey include:

State of the Market

  • Entrepreneurs and VCs agree that tech M&A or IPOs are unlikely to make a big return this year. Only 40% of respondents indicated they are “very confident” or “extremely confident” that M&A will recover this year. Only 17% believe that the IPOs will return in earnest this year.
  • By and large, entrepreneurs are no longer striving for a public debut. Only 15% of founders say their primary long-term goal for their startup is to go public, while 34% say their goal is to be acquired, and 30% would opt to remain private.

Entrepreneur Life

  • 31% of founders work at least 60 hours per week with 17% of those working 70 hours or more.
  • Founders tend to be serial entrepreneurs. 79% of current entrepreneurs have worked for other startups in the past. 45% have worked for multiple startups (two to four) previously.

Innovation Drivers

  • Respondents’ answers were spread nearly evenly across “VC and Angel Investors” (22%), “Accelerator Programs” (19%), and “Community and Proximity to Other Startups” (18%).

Most Innovative Sectors

  • AI might be the megatrend of the moment but the majority (60%) of founders surveyed are not building an AI solution. However, 33% are using AI as an enabler of their business. 41% say AI is a direct component of their business.

Innovation Hubs

  • Almost half (48%) of entrepreneurs and VCs believe Silicon Valley will still be the world’s most innovative hub five years from now, followed by Singapore (31%), Tel Aviv (27%) and New York City (25%).
  • 29% of respondents believe that the U.S. will lead in startup formation compared to other regions globally. Notably, nearly three times as many respondents predict that Africa will produce the most startups this year compared to Western Europe.

Led by David Cohen, Founder and CEO, Techstars invests in early-stage startups led by entrepreneurs with transformative businesses. With 45+ accelerators worldwide, a network of alumni, mentors, commercial partners, investors, and dedicated operating teams, it supports entrepreneurs throughout their entire startup journey while helping to build thriving startup communities. Since 2006, we have invested in more than 4,400 portfolio companies, accelerating the growth of businesses including Chainalysis, Zipline, DataRobot, Alloy and more.