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Rising salaries in 2023 help raise the appeal of some smaller startup hubs

By Brent Devey posted 12-06-2023 10:22


The map of venture capital funding in the U.S. is growing more diverse every year. You can of course still find robust startup ecosystems in major coastal hubs like the Bay Area, New York, Boston, and Seattle. But in 2023, you can also find them in places like Nashville, Houston, Pittsburgh, and Indianapolis. 

The geographic diversification of the venture economy is a welcome development for startups in emerging ecosystems. Yet operating in a smaller market still poses certain challenges. One of these is battling the big-city competition for talent: Startups in established coastal hubs are historically much closer to dense populations of tech workers. Just as importantly, they’ve historically paid those workers higher salaries. 

But in several smaller startup markets across the U.S., the salary playing field has started to level. 

Carta’s survey of the state of startup compensation in the first half of 2023 found that benchmark compensation levels have ticked up significantly in many emerging VC markets, such as Raleigh, Las Vegas and Pittsburgh. Conversely, many large, established startup markets like Boston, Seattle, and Los Angeles have seen compensation levels hold steady or decline. The longstanding pay gap between mature and emerging venture ecosystems seems to be tightening. 

To learn more about Salary Cost Index and download Carta's full list of SCI cities, visit the Carta Blog