Top, Best, Most

The top cities for start-ups

Best cities for start-ups
Best cities for start-ups

Silicon Valley has long been the paradise where ideas are born and funded. A website called AngelList matches investors with start-ups—more than 17,000 young companies and over 25,000 investors in the world's tech capital. The average value for an emerging start-up in Silicon Valley is $4.8 million, with the average salary of $101,000.

Well, $101,000 in Silicon Valley won't be enough to qualify for a mortgage if you plan to live there. Median home prices top $850,000.

Good news! You don't have to live there! Or work there! Or dream about making it rich there!

Start-up hubs are emerging in much more affordable places in the heartland.

Investopedia has run the numbers and comes up with a list of thehottest start-up cities of 2015.

Des Moines, Iowa

Iowa isn't all about corn and hogs. It's also a great feed lot for start-ups. Investopedia says entrepreneurs can find help through Startup Iowa. There's a group of angel investors called Plains Angels. And in Des Moines, less leads to more. The cost of living is 10 percent lower than the national average.

Union Station in Kansas City lit up in blue in support of the Royals.
Source: Griffin Davis

Kansas City, Missouri

"The low cost of living makes this city extremely popular for entrepreneurs to get their companies off the ground with little outside investment," Investopedia said about K.C. Google Fiber started here, bringing super-fast connection speeds. There's the Kansas City Startup Village, which has funded everything from Traveling Nuker, which matches skilled tradesmen with work fixing nuclear plants, to CaddyX, which ships your golf clubs straight to the links so you don't have to lug them around while traveling.

Finally, in a Hollywood twist, Kansas City also has a program called "Betablox," similar to "Shark Tank," which promises winners a much greater chance of succeeding.

Disclosure: CNBC owns the exclusive off-network cable rights to "Shark Tank."

Austin, Texas

Shocker, I know. Is there any list of positive places to live, work, eat, drink, enjoy life that doesn't include Austin? However, it really does excel when it comes to start-ups. Investopedia reports that start-ups in the Texas capital received a whopping $620 million in funding last year, "a 40 percent increase from the previous year." Other pluses include incubators like the Capital Factory, and a lower cost of living with no state income taxes.

Boulder, Colorado

Folks in this college town are not just getting high off the Rocky Mountain air. They're also high on productivity (counterintuitive perhaps in a state where marijuana is legal). Investopedia reports Boulder is one of the most productive areas in the country based on gross domestic product. There's a tech incubator based there called TechStars and the city was ranked first for high-tech start-up density by the Kauffman Foundation, with six times the national average of tech start-ups per capita.

Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville is no sad country song when it comes to entrepreneurs. Investopedia points to the Entrepreneur Center, which has partnered with Google to pair start-ups with incubators to help them grow. Jumpstart Foundry puts selected health-care start-ups through a mentorship program and gives them seed money with a focus on health care. Thirty-seven companies have gone through the Jumpstart program and gone on to raise $23 million "in follow-on capital." In addition, Jumpstart says it helps established companies regain their original disruptive spirit, "because startups shouldn't get to have all the fun."

CORRECTION: Syncbak is not funded by Startup Iowa. That fact was misstated in an earlier version of this article.