StartOut Index

LGBTQ+ people have contributed and continue to contribute to the United States economy. Their impact could be amplified even further with inclusive public policies and greater access to capital. Thus, we created the StartOut Index as a tool that analyzes and displays the current state of LGBTQ+ entrepreneurship and models where it can grow to be. 

2023 State of LGBTQ Entrepreneurship Report

StartOut gathered data from a variety of sources, including internal databases, Crunchbase, and Pitchbook. In our analysis of 142K founders and 95K high-growth companies across the United States between 2000 to 2022, we discovered that:
  • Only 0.5% of the $2.1T in startup funding was raised by LGBTQ+ founders while nationwide 7.1% of the population identifies as LGBTQ+.
  • LGBTQ+ founders created 36% more jobs, 114% more patents, and 44% more exits, despite raising 16% less funding compared to the average founder.
  • Of the funding raised by LGBTQ+ founders, 85% was raised in only 5 metros with San Francisco raising 6 times more than NYC or LA and 12 times more than Denver or Austin.
  • The largest metros without any LGBTQ+ founders are Orlando (FL), Charlotte (NC), and Birmingham (AL), all of which are located in states without comprehensive non-discrimination policies for LGBTQ+ people.

About the StartOut Index

The StartOut Index empowers investors, researchers, government administrators, and people interested in supporting high-growth founders with data and LGBTQ statistics to understand the landscape of investment in LGBTQ+ founders. We calculate from our counted numbers an estimated value which represents a value that is closer to the actual value of the target population, as well as the achievable values for our measures of economic impact, i.e. funding, jobs, patents, and exits for our marginalized groups of LGBTQ+ and women founders. We aim to show the unrealized potential for such groups with equal access to resources.

This research project is led by StartOut and Socos Labs.

How did we define a company as high-growth?

For the purposes of our research, we defined a startup company as high-growth if they met one of the following criteria:

     1. Received any amount of Venture Capital funding
     2. Received at least $250K in Angel funding
     3. Generated at least one patent and created jobs beyond the founding team
     4. Had an IPO or been acquired by another company

A founder is considered high-growth if they are a member of the founding team (present at the company before its first round of funding) at a high-growth startup company.

StartOut Entrepreneurship Equity Score

The Entrepreneurship Equity Scores shows:

     1. How well-represented LGBTQ+ founders are in a region, and
     2. Whether there is a gap in what we estimate to be achieved and what we have measured with reported data

A high Entrepreneurship Equity Score shows this given location performs well in terms of LGBTQ+ representation and achievement in terms of funding, jobs, patents, and exits.

Research Methodology

Read our methodology page for an in-depth explanation of the data analysis, statistical models, and terminology used in the StartOut Index.

Get Involved

All founders are encouraged to contribute and be included in our research by filling out our Founder Diversity Survey.

If you‚Äôd like to contribute as a data partner, financial sponsor, researcher, or project contributor, you can reach us at StartOut is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

Key Contributors and Supporters