You may have seen headlines this morning about a new report putting New York ahead of Boston as a startup ecosystem, and L.A. and Tel Aviv ahead of both (in addition to Silicon Valley, of course). But there’s some fine print to go along with it, and it makes a ton of difference.

The data comes from Startup Compass, a startup that gathers performance data from new ventures in order to bring more data analysis to bear on what makes companies successful. I’m a big fan of what they’re doing, given the paucity of data in this space, but there’s one huge caveat that is being mentioned only in passing in some of the coverage of this report: the data comes only from internet software companies.

As I’ve written before, this happens to be where New York excels, compared to Boston which is notably more diverse and has strong clusters in a variety of different tech sectors. So it’s hardly surprising that New York would edge out Boston in this ranking.

With that out of the way, there’s a lot of great insight in this report, so let me share a few interesting facts:

  • Boston entrepreneurs are more educated than SV entrepreneurs (50% Master and PhD vs. 42% in SV)
  • Motivation is significantly different to SV. Boston entrepreneurs are 100% less likely to create a quick flip, 87% less likely to want to get rich, 16% less likely to want to change the world, and 37% more likely to be motivated by building a great product.
  • Boston entrepreneurs are twice as likely to focus on non-web software and 56% less likely to focus on mobile than their peers in SV.
  • NYC is the global capital for women tech entrepreneurs, with 20% being female.

It’s fine to note limitations in the data thus far, or to argue that algorithms won’t ever surpass judgment in the startup and VC games, but it’s hard not to appreciate what Startup Compass is doing. Data in this space is lacking, and there’s lots we could learn from seeing more of it.