As a whole, Europe has no shortage of startups. From the Baltics to Budapest, the Nordics to London, Europe’s startups and scaleups are flourishing. And it’s not just tiny teams trying to become the next Apple; many of these startups are trying to tackle challenges that, until recently, have gone unaddressed—or at least unsolved.
No matter the sectors of which these young companies are a part, each is challenging “the norm,” and they are doing so in numbers and approaches that rival their American contemporaries in Silicon Valley. And as these startups begin to scale, many are being bought up by larger companies, bringing an end to their startup stage. But even with these young companies being bought up, Europe can still claim one of the healthiest startup scenes in the world—and these cities are leading the charge.
Helsinki’s Startups’ and Scaleups’ Strength Is All about Connectedness
When it comes to robust, well-connected startups and scaleups, Helsinki is among the best. The Global Startup Ecosystem report found that Helsinki’s startup scene is the best in the world in terms of connectedness with founders, experts, and investors. What’s more is that the same report found that Helsinki’s ecosystem boasts a higher level of local relationships than both Silicon Valley and London. This connectedness among the community is correlated with better performing startups, their exits, and valuations—and the Finnish government recognizes these companies’ potential. Finnish tech startups can receive grants and loans from the government, allowing them to take risks and to make sure their first step is a steady one—and that’s a huge deal for a city that’s emerging as a powerful B2B tech hub.
Budapest Is Booming
The Hungarian capital has in recent years become part of the European tourist trail, and for good reason; the city is rich in history, art, and culture. But for a growing number of people, Budapest is known as a burgeoning tech startup and scaleup hub. In fact, some businesses are moving to Budapest for its growing ecosystem, cost of living, ease of getting around, reliable high-speed broadband, and government incentives to grow their business. Keeping up with this startup demand are numerous incubators and accelerators, providing new companies with an environment that encourages and facilitates calculated growth.
Stockholm Startups and Scaleups
Sweden is no stranger to giving the world innovative tech. From creating Spotify, Minecraft, and Candy Crush to co-founding Skype and kicking off SoundCloud, Stockholm has been abuzz with startup energy and innovation for years. The Nordic capital is also home to many of Europe’s largest tech companies, and lays claim to producing the second-most billion-dollar tech businesses (or, unicorns) in the world, outpaced only by California’s Silicon Valley. The country’s internet infrastructure certainly plays a part in this innovation, offering the world’s third-fastest internet speed. And this makes sense for a city that is ranked second in the European Digital City Index for both startups and scaleups.
London Calling Startups and Scaleups
It may come as no surprise that London takes first place on Inc.’s 10 Best European Cities for Startups list. The city has been a major player in just about every facet of innovation over the course of centuries—and digital innovation is no departure. The city topped the European Digital City Index for both startups and scaleups two years in a row, with its robust financial sector playing a major part. In a city that has long been home to many major financial institutions and private investors, finding funding may not be as difficult as in other European capitals. And it seems Brexit uncertainty hasn’t scared off investors; total venture capital investment in UK tech companies has since 2016 eclipsed £5 billion, with over £1.5 billion coming in during Q2 alone. And for startups and scaleups in London, the high cost of living and Brexit uncertainties haven’t hindered their growth either; many of its startups and scaleups (especially those in the fintech sector) are enjoying steady growth, and may soon expand across the Dover Strait—and across other oceans.
Expansion Experience is Key to Growth
Bursting out of the startup phase is both an exciting and pivotal time—and the same can be said for scaleups who are facing major decisions. You know your business needs to be competitive in new international markets to continue growth, but how do you know where? Or when—or how?
Velocity Global’s International PEO (Professional Employer Organization) solution has helped hundreds of companies take the leap to expand overseas. With capabilities in over 185 countries, we can help you grow your business virtually anywhere across the globe—all without establishing an entity. Reach out to Velocity Global today to learn more about how we can help you achieve your global growth objectives—on your terms. We’re ready when you are.