Employment Dynamics at VC-Backed Companies in the United States: 1990 to 2020

New research from NVCA, Venture Forward, and the University of North Carolina Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise estimates and geographically maps employment at VC-backed companies headquartered in the United States at the state and congressional district levels, and analyzes the employment dynamics at VC-backed companies from 1990 to 2020.

Using company-level data for over 67,000 VC-backed companies that received venture financing dating back to 1970, we map the location of approximately 3.8 million jobs at VC-backed companies in 2020. Explore the interactive map for detailed employment figures by individual congressional district or state.

Key findings:

  • Employment at VC-backed companies grows at roughly 8x the pace of employment at non-VC-backed companies.
  • Employment growth at VC-backed companies is resilient with strong positive growth rates observed regardless of where the economy is in the business cycle.
    • Even after the 2007-2008 financial crisis and during the Great Recession, annual job growth at VC-backed firms exceeded 4.0%. Total private sector employment, by comparison, shrank by 4.3% in 2009, contributing to a decrease of 7.4 million private sector jobs.
  • VC-backed jobs are distributed broadly across the entire U.S. with 62.5% of VC-backed jobs outside the states of California, Massachusetts, and New York.
  • In contrast, 73% of VC investment was deployed to startups in those three states in 2020.
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