Amsterdam in the lead as a “challenger hub” for startups according to Startup Heatmap Europe 2017

Amsterdam in the lead as a “challenger hub” for startups according to Startup Heatmap Europe 2017

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The most recent survey of Startup Heatmap Europe confirms the hypermobility of startup founders in Europe. It also reveals their thoughts on how the Brexit might affect the European startup ecosystem. Despite the Brexit, London has regained its number one position, as it attracts 55% of all startup founders. Furthermore, Amsterdam is leading the so-called “challenger hubs” with its fifth spot in the top 10 of startup hubs in Europe.

Surprising results of the Brexit

Over the past two years over 1000 start-up founders have participated in the survey. This year’s study is based on a representative sample of 321 founders in Europe. Their opinions are used as an indicator to predict the development of start-up hubs around Europe. The fact that London has regained its number one spot in Europe was surprising, to say the least. 35% of the founders in Europe stated this year that the Brexit has made London less attractive. It would seem that this would have been reflected in this year’s survey.

The biggest fear of startup founders is the loss of free movement. 61% of founders in Europe has stated they have this fear, while 71% of the founders of the United Kingdom has this fear. Not surprisingly though, 85% of the founders would have voted against the Brexit. Other fears of founders include the decrease of trade, the damage to the UK economy, the current instability and the damage to the EU economy. These are fears that are present through the whole of Europe but are definitely more present in the United Kingdom.

But although the Brexit certainly does have created some more fears and challenges for founders that would like to go to London, the city is still the biggest startup hub in Europe. The city attracts 55% of all startup founders in Europe, leading before Berlin with 45%. The only other competitors are Barcelona and Paris, attracting 21% and 19% of the founders respectively.

Emerging Challengers

There is competition on the horizon though. The survey has identified five so-called “challenger hubs”, who attract a decent number of founders from a diverse set of countries. Founders also seem to identify a lot of advantages of moving to such a hub instead of a top hub. This group of hubs is lead by Amsterdam, coming in at rank 5 with 11% of the total amount. Amsterdam seems to be particularly appealing to tech founders, as the city is able to attract 16% of these founders.

Dublin and Stockholm are tied for the 6th place, attracting 9% of the founders from 13 different countries. Lisbon is remaining within the top 10, but only by a margin while attracting 8% of the founders. Lisbon’s problem is that they got in at rank 32 based on media attention. Finally, Munich enters the ranks of the “challenger hubs” with a strong edge among high-tech founders and the highest ranking for access to talent in the survey.

These challenger hubs seem to have a big advantage on top hubs. 79% of all founders would move to one of these challenger hubs, while 71% considers moving to a top hub. The difference between these percentages isn’t that big, but the fact that these emerging hubs are getting more and more attractive compared to top hubs is a big deal.

Being diverse and interconnected

The authors of the study have also come up with a general conclusion on how to be a successful startup hub. They state that to be competitive, they need to be connected to a global startup ecosystem. With 21% of all founders being foreign and 50% of the founders wanting to settle in one of the top 5 cities, this competition is heated. The report’s introduction also states the following: “The true strength of a startup community lies in its diversity”. The diversity of a startup community can be a sign of international appeal or even its creative power in integrating various cultures. In my opinion, for a hub to be truly competitive, it has to be interconnected in every way possible. It has to provide the basis for a startup to grow (internationally). The International appeal will naturally follow.

The report’s introduction also states the following: “The true strength of a startup community lies in its diversity”. The diversity of a startup community can be a sign of international appeal or even its creative power in integrating various cultures. In my opinion, for a hub to be truly competitive, it has to be interconnected in every way possible. It has to provide the basis for a startup to grow (internationally). The International appeal will naturally follow.

 

European Map Image by Shutterstock

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