Move aside, Silicone Valley, you’ve got a new competitor to watch out for. Europe now has the most number of tech hubs in the world, compared to any other continent out there. It’s a big new world of tech innovation and discovery and European cities are right there in the middle of the action. Interested in building your own startup? In this article, we’ll explore the 5 best places in Europe to start a startup company.
Spain may seem to most as a medieval country steeped in rich history, but actually, only one part of that is correct. While Spain is indeed rich in terms of art, culture and history, it’s in no way a medieval country. Contrary to popular belief, Spain is actually one of the leading smart cities of the world, making use of various AI-powered technology in order to improve its citizens’ daily lives.
More advanced cities, such as Barcelona, are using various smart technology to reduce traffic, assist people when parking and provide general convenience to the average citizen. For instance, smart sensors are installed in public places to monitor noise and air quality while smart streetlights ensure an efficient way to provide light at night.
Such technological innovations are made possible by the city’s openness to new ideas presented by tech entrepreneurs. In order to help the country’s start-up industry, Spain also promotes top-notch educational opportunities to interested tech enthusiasts who are willing to take a risk and enter the world of innovative technology.
Netherlands has always been rather friendly to tech startups, as the home of several tech incubators such as Startupbootcamp and Rockstart. The latter, in particular, has invested in over 128 of them, raising over $60 million in funding and achieving an average funding rate of 68%.
Major foreign investors have also already taken notice of the Dutch city of Amsterdam, where plenty of these tech-focused minds are converged to achieve one goal: to create a better future in terms of technology. One Amsterdam-based company, WeTransfer, received $25 million in a Series A funding last 2015 at a valuation of about $100 to $200 million.
The city even offers “StartupAmsterdam”, a program established in collaboration with the government in order to encourage tech entrepreneurs and startups to come and develop their ideas in the city. With Amsterdam’s relatively affordable cost of living and encouraging accelerator and incubator programs for aspiring tech workers, it’s certainly gearing up to be one of the rising startup hubs in Europe.
Germany didn’t use to be known as the land of tech startups and it’s still quite late to the party compared to the other places on this list, but the country does provide a good start to new startups. In 2013, Germany started employing a more relaxed visa-application process which instantly made it more attractive to budding tech entrepreneurs.
Thanks to this, more and more talent from all over the world have begun flocking to Berlin, bringing in new perspectives to tech companies and creating a more immigrant-friendly environment. Now, six years later, Germany already has its very own “Silicaone Allee” in Berlin.
With its rich and vibrant culture, the city also attracts tech enthusiasts who want to experience more than just tech. In Berlin, tech workers are free to develop on their most creative ideas while listening to good music and sipping their favorite drinks.
Often dubbed as one of the most romantic countries in the world, France is a popular go-to place for tourists, food connoisseurs and art enthusiasts. Unbeknownst to many, this European country is also rising as one of the world’s most innovative tech hubs, receiving over $2.7 billion worth of investments from venture capitalists in 2018.
This is due in part to a startup-friendly visa and support program called “French Tech Visa” that allows an unlimited number of tech developers and founders from outside the EU to enter France on a special visa.
French President Emmanuel Macron is also a lot more dedicated to improving the country’s tech industry, going as far as to dock the country’s capital gains tax and wealth tax for investments, two of the biggest obstacles for both investors and aspiring tech entrepreneurs. In addition to this, the French city of Paris is also the home of the world’s largest startup campus, Station F.
London still remains to be the biggest European player in terms of tech startups, with its relatively lax visa requirements, all its government tax incentives, and its current tech ecosystem. In fact, the city was even named as the “top European city for digital entrepreneurship for startups and scale-ups” by the European City Digital Index in 2016.
Almost 30% of all European funding from venture capitalists have been going to London for the last several years. Just last year, London received roughly $2.3 billion in VC funding, 90% more than Berlin’s $1.2 billion funding, the second highest funded European city. This is also roughly the same amount that Berlin, Paris, and Barcelona received combined.
London also has plenty of incubators and accelerators that further promote the growth of tech innovation in the city. Thanks to over 150 coworking spaces and tech campuses like Rocketspace, the city is certainly a perfect hub for tech entrepreneurs and startup companies. Clearly, London is still at the very top of the game when it comes to tech startups.
Aside from tech startups, Europe itself is also friendly to budding companies in general. For instance, one of the rising sectors at the moment is Agriturismo startups, which promote trips that showcase a more natural, rustic view of Europe. Regardless of what your startup idea may be, Europe just might be the perfect place for you and your team.
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