Whether you are a highly motivated startupper with a great idea who is looking for an investor to make it real or you are that investor, you know how crucial a good network is. New opportunities come often from personal relationships and sharing ideas and experiences with your peers is a good strategy to reduce the risks during the startup phase. This is why networking is critical.

You also know that networking is a time-consuming activity and time is money; resources are always limited. Figuring out your network value is often a blind shot. It would be great if you had a tool that measures the value of your network, your competitors’ network, or the company you are thinking to invest in.

This is why we invented LAB.

How LAB works

In collaboration with the Complex Systems Networks Group at Queen Mary University of London,we have scanned the entire USA startup ecosystem which amounts of more than 100,000 companies.

Starting form the data we have collected from CrunchBase.com, the world’s most comprehensive open dataset of startup activity, we constructed the global network of interactions between companies and created the map of the USA startup ecosystem, as shown in the figure:

LAB Startup Network

In this network each node is a startup and two startups are connected if they share at least one individual which has (or had) a role in both companies.

For instance, Dropbox and Facebook are connected because they share a couple of employees and advisors. The links represent thus the potential interactions which facilitate the flow of knowledge, know how, ideas, and business opportunities. The nodes at the periphery are startups weakly connected to the ecosystem while the big players (Google, Ebay, Facebook, etc..) are placed at the core of the map, but you cannot make a great use of such a complex diagram.

Our effort has been devoted to create a compass and to define some coordinates to understand and navigate through these kind of network maps. We call these coordinates network maturity and network efficiency.

◦ The network maturity reflects how well a company is embedded and connected in the core of the startup ecosystem and it is formally computed as k-core value;

◦ The network efficiency reflects how close a company is to central cores of the ecosystem and it is formally computed as closeness centrality.

In LAB we have ‘exploded’ the map into a cartesian diagram where companies are positioned according to the two above-mentioned values.

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Moving from left to right, companies are sorted accordingly to their network maturity. Moving from bottom to top, companies are sorted accordingly to their network efficiency.

How well this strategy of analysis performs?

Actually, this is the good news. It is impressive to see how this map identifies among the best companies (top-right) well-known names such as Google, Yahoo, Apple, eBay, Intel, Paypal, Linkedin. Alongside world-known names, we also spotted less famous companies which still report notable revenues such as Intuit ($4.5 billion annual revenue), and Yammer – the enterprise social network – acquired by Microsoft in 2012 after a $140 million funding.

So far, we have dealt with big companies, but what about your startup? What is its position on the map? With LAB you can easily single out and compare the best potential partners that will allow you mix and mingle with the big guys.

What is more, we are also monitoring over time the network position of companies and we will promptly identify and report promising start-ups who are breaking fastly towards the center of the network.

If you are interested in knowing more and giving us feedback (we would love it!) drop us a line at

lab@startup-network.org