“A haven for troublemakers, philosophers and dreamers since the 16th century, the Netherlands is now styling itself as a contemporary refuge for the start-up crowd. The national virtues of tolerance and versatility reach their peak in Amsterdam, where founders are welcomed with comfortably low tax rates and are in easy cycling distance of collaborators, incubators and investors.”
An apt description of Amsterdam’s start-up scene as outlined in a recent edition of the Financial Times.
There have been lots of developments in the past months that suggest that Amsterdam could well be on its way to become a start-up ecosystem to reckon with in Europe. The newest initiative to make this happen is called Startup Delta. Their mission: ‘Imagine an entire country working together to achieve a single goal — to create the space where entrepreneurs stand up, start up and scale up.’
Two-time EU commissioner Neelie Kroes is appointed Startup Delta’s ‘Special Envoy’ for startups. Neelie Kroes will fulfill this newly created position of startup ambassador for 1.5 years. The StartupDelta initiative will be rolled out from an old naval site on Kattenburg Island in Amsterdam.
Amsterdam may be leagues away from Silicon Valley, but its close proximity to other European countries, liberal tax laws and the city’s overall vibe of tolerance and adaptability make it a natural startup environment. Amsterdam is already hosts to a number of startup accelerators, such as Rockstart, Startup Bootcamp, the Founder Institute and Impact Hub’s Investment Ready Programme. These will hopefully all come together at the Startup Delta, as to maximize their impact. Startup Delta will also be collaborating with other Dutch startup hubs, such as the High Tech Campus in Eindhoven.
As avid fans of start-ups in general and entrepreneurs that aim to tackle climate change in general, here at the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge we are very excited about these developments! However, there are a number of other good places in Europe to settle as a start-up:
London’s tech startup scene has been steadily growing over the past few years. “Tech City” is a name for the London tech scene. London’s unique slant to the start-up wave is its adjacent London financial sector. Also, internet giants such as Google and Facebook have offices in London. This includes Google Campus, which is Google’s East London “startup hub”. It contains co-working spaces where tech people and entrepreneurs can gather and spin things up.
A decade ago Berlin’s mayor Klaus Woweralt tried to attract creative types to Berlin declaring “Berlin ist arm, aber sexy” (poor but sexy). And it worked. Berlin has now become a hub for artsy and techie people with global recognition it terms of startup success. McKinsey (a world leading consultancy firm) has quoted Berlin as “perfectly placed to become Europe’s leading startup hub”. They estimate that by 2020, Berlin could deliver more than 100,000 new jobs thanks to startups.
Maybe not the first city you think of when you’re looking for a good place to start your business, but Budapest has been a fast riser since 2008, now boasting a vibrant startup scene, plenty of people with great ideas, a wealth of talented, well-educated engineers, and mentors to support flourishing startups.
Prezi was one of the first startups operating from there, and they helped paved the way for the startup scene to develop. A beautiful city that captivates visitors and, being in the heart of Europe, is great for attracting foreign talent. Work visas are also easy to come by in Budapest, so building a diverse team there is simple.
Sweden lacks the scale to be Europe's main tech hub, but that hasn't stopped it producing the most billion-dollar online companies over the past decade. Stockholm's penchant for producing successful startups seems to be recognised in the level of VC funding that startups from the nation attract. Famous startups that are now multimillion companies that you’ve probably heard about: Skype, Spotify and Klarna.
The city boasts one of the most comprehensive energy/communication systems in the world. Selecting Stockholm as the headquarters for a startup allows a company to be a part of the innovation and design that Sweden is known for, and puts them in the middle of an exciting plan for Sweden’s future.