Startup Heatmap Europe: Founders’ Top 10 European Cities To Start-up

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“Where would you start-up if you could begin all over again?”

The Startup Heatmap Europe surveyed more than 700 founders with a primary question: “Where would you start up if you could begin all over again?” The motivation for this question was simple: if you are looking for the next hot spot of entrepreneurs in Europe, it is no use to look at past success, but rather at the perception of opportunities by founders – simply put, perception will shape reality.

So look out for these 10 up-and-coming hot spots around Europe:

#10 Vienna

The Danube metropolis proves to fare especially well with high-tech founders as engineers and geeks concentrate in Vienna. However, with only 17% of founders’ vote from the Central Eastern European (CEE) region, Vienna stays far below common expectations to be the gateway to the East. In fact, founders didn’t give top rankings in terms of access to capital and talent for the city.

#9 Copenhagen


A truly international competitor with a strong support base in the Nordics, Copenhagen is both appealing to Internet and High-Tech founders. While a third of all founders from the Nordics consider Copenhagen as a place to startup, the outstanding international appeal of the hub is remarkable, as it was able to attract a noteworthy number of founders from all European regions.

#8 Munich


The Southern German city is often seen as the secret capital of the country. With an excellent image as an economic powerhouse and hub for high-tech and access to capital, founders especially from an engineering background, vote it up in the rankings. As an international hub, Munich has developed some outreach into CEE, but little beyond.

#7 Stockholm


A strong competitor to Munich is Stockholm, which surpasses the German hub due to its strong performance in access to talent, with more than half of survey participants ranking this aspect as good or excellent. While Stockholm proves to be a great place for high-tech businesses, internet startups find it less attractive; this may be due to its costly lifestyle: 80% of founders think Stockholm’s burn rate is high or too high.

#6 Dublin


Being a long-time poster-city for startup development, Dublin proves to have an extremely strong international reach, being especially popular in CEE and the Mediterranean, where 20% and 16% of all founders imagine to relocate to Ireland’s capital. However, there is a strong competitor emerging…

#5 Lisbon


Lisbon, did not only take away the Web Summit from Dublin, but also overtook the city in our ranking. Being especially popular with internet startups and those founders seeking a low burn rate and good access to talent, the hub proves to be a vivid startup ecosystem on the rise. With 46% of all founders from Europe’s South considering Lisbon a place to startup, the city could become a new home to thousands of restless entrepreneurs.

#4 Barcelona


Barcelona, the secret capital of Spain not only leaves all other Spanish cities far behind, but also ranks among the top startup hubs for founders in Europe. With an incredible outreach all across the continent (36% of founders from Benelux would go there!) and superb results for access to talent, low burn rate and a vivid ecosystem, the Catalans well deserve rank 4.

#3 Amsterdam


Maybe a surprise to many, but not to the entrepreneurs who have been flocking to the Dutch metropolis over years. Thanks to Amsterdam’s international appeal, the Netherlands have grown the most in Europe due to startup migration, benefiting from a 31% net migration inflow. With relatively low burn rates and good access to capital and talent, Amsterdam has become an irresistible option for entrepreneurs on the search for a new location.

#2 London


Gosh! How could this happen? The past unrivalled champion has to make room for a new one. However, the financial capital remains strong with almost half of all founders willing to consider it as their startup headquarter. For those especially looking for good access to capital, London is still number one and also keeps a stronghold in the CEE and Mediterranean region with 57% and 64% of founders there considering it one of the best places to startup. However, the winner is….

#1 Berlin


Berlin has made a remarkable development proving to founders all around the world that it is one of the best places to startup. Even though Berlin beats London this time, both cities are extremely popular with startup founders.

Around half of all respondents from our survey would go to either London or Berlin. Amsterdam is the only city that comes anywhere near the top contenders. Barcelona, in 4th place, receives less than half of the votes than Berlin, and Lisbon in 5th place only a third. Read more on



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