Cuisine Diversity, Creativity & Startup Success

The not so obvious linkage between variety of cuisines and the startup ecosystem.

According to the study by National Foundation for American Policy, 44 out of 87 of the country’s Startup Unicorns have at least one immigrant founder.

In the US, the maximum number of startups have originated in the universities around Bay Area and Boston. A key ingredient to the origin and success of any startup is creativity. These universities act as the breeding ground for creative minds, and because of the cultural diversity that these universities have built over time, different cultures and nationalities are part of the mix too.

We studied culinary options as a surrogate to diversity to understand if this hypothesis is true. We also compared our findings across top universities in different countries to validate the findings.

Some interesting observations from our data :

  • US has over twice as many culinary options around universities as compared to UK and Australia.
  • Chinese, Mexican and Italian cuisines are the top international culinary options around US universities; Indian, Chinese and Italian are the top international culinary options around UK universities; Indian, Thai and Chinese are the top international culinary options around Australian universities.
  • While Mexican food is available in all three countries, students in US universities also have access to Chilean, Brazilian and Argentinian food.
  • More than 40% of the restaurants that surround universities in the US serve a huge range of international cuisines.18 out of every 100 restaurants serve Asian food, and 15 out of every 100 restaurants serve Continental food.
  • Over 15 European cuisines are available around US universities, compared to 7 around UK universities and 3 around Australian universities.
  • In Australia and UK, over 50% of eateries around their universities serve Asian, Continental, and Indian food.
  • Surprisingly, Korean food is available only around universities in US.
  • Apart from these, Fast-food restaurants serving burgers, pizzas and sandwiches comprise a major chunk of the QSRs around universities in all three countries.

Looking at the overall number of startups coming from these countries, it is seen that the variety of cuisines do indeed have a significant correlation with the startup ecosystem:

Who would have thought that these two seemingly unrelated factors would throw up a surprise?

Universities that were part of the study:

Stanford University, Carnegie Mellon University, UCLA, University of California Berkeley, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Columbia University, UT Austin, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, University of Washington, University of Chicago, Northwestern University-Everston, Oxford University, Cambridge University, Monash University, University of Canberra

Contact Us to use data for superior decision-making.

Also published in Medium.