The 10 best startup cities in Europe

What are the hottest cities in Europe for startup entrepreneurs? We don’t mean temperature-wise. In this ranking, we present the best hubs for startups in Europe, based on the popularity among founders and investors.

With our research and data services, we help startups, ecosystem builders and investors to navigate European startup hubs. Our Startup Heatmap platform tells you which places are the most trustworthy and where startup founders find the best conditions: reliable networks, support infrastructure, dedicated startup events, and a business-friendly environment.

Our research and methodology

We’ve been taking our Startup Heatmap Europe survey since 2015 to find out which are the preferred startup hubs by people in the industry. We ask them a simple question: “If you were going to start a company in Europe tomorrow, where would you like to do it?”

Respondents can choose up to three places, depending on their preference. Based on the survey, we calculate a trust score for each city. As a central element in our methodology, the trust score indicates the positive attitudes startup founders associate with a city. It’s our benchmark index for startup hubs, based on perception and trust. You can find out more about our data and methodology here.

Find the best startup hubs and build new connections

Below you find the Top 10 of the best startup cities in Europe, sorted by popularity among startup founders. We also invite you to explore our complete dataset and find the best cities, startup accelerators and opportunities for startups according to your own criteria. If you don´t find what you´re looking for or want to collaborate to explore a trending topic, please don´t hesitate to contact us

Visualization of a profile page on the Startup Heatmap.

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10. Stockholm

In the capital of Sweden, founders like the availability of talent, especially in the consumer and high tech industries. Stockholm scored 92% in the Heatmap Trust Score index, making it the 10th most popular place to startup in Europe. With a total investment of 1.50 billion Euro in 2019, it is among the largest startup ecosystems in Europe.

Startup accelerator programs are important for ecosystems, helping to engage founders, promote talent and attract investors. Thanks to programs like Sting, one of the best accelerators in the Nordic region, Stockholm has managed to build a strong international reputation. Among the trending verticals is E-Commerce, Health Care and FinTech.

Stockholm is home to two active unicorns. Top local startups include Northvolt, Klarna, and Spotify.

9. Tallinn

The popularity of the charming capital of Estonia has been on the rise for years. With a Heatmap Trust Score of 93%, Tallinn ranks as 9th best startup city in Europe. Startups love the city for its helpful ecosystem, the ease of doing business, and the value for money. Estonia´s reputation as a global pioneer in the digitalization of economy and society helps, too.

The city´s overall startup investments are not among the highest in Europe. It reached an all-time high in 2018, with over 190 million Euro. in 2019, the investment amounted to 80 million Euro. 

FinTech and AI & Data are the buzz of Tallinn. Top local accelerators include Startup Wise Guys and Alpine House. Notable startups include Bolt, pipedrive, and Veriff

8. Milan

The Italian city of fashion and innovation is on the rise. Milan ranks 8th on the Heatmap, with a Trust Score of 94%. In 2019, annual investments reached 0.14 billion Euro.

In Milan the talk of the town for startups is AgTech. The strongest vertical is eCommerce. Top accelerators include Digital Magics, BioUpper, and Barcamper Garage, helping the city to attract talent and investors.

Founders value the ecosystem for its industry connections and value for money. The top startups in the Italian city include Cortilia, Brumbrum (sounds like a car, doesn’it?), Deliveristo, and Casavo.

 

7. Munich

With a trust score of 95%, the German city positioned itself firmly in the top ten. It managed to rise from 9th rank in 2017 to 7th rank in 2018 and 2019.

The trend of funding has been rising too, a steep line to reach the current 1.30 billion euro. With this high value, Munich is positioned among the largest European startup ecosystems.

Founders value the city for its strong industry connections, above-average access to funding, and the availability of tech talent. Munich’s strongest verticals are High Tech & IoT, VR, SaaS & Enterprise Software, Health & BioTech, Big Data, and eCommerce.

Prominent local startup accelerators include TechFounders, Plug and Play – InsurTech, and Media Lab Bayern. Munich is home to startup success stories like Celonis, Lilium, and Flixbus.

6. Lisbon

Lisbon has positioned itself as one of the rising startup cities in Europe. The capital of Portugal has a Heatmap Trust Score of 96%. However, with annual investments of only 150 million Euro (3-year average), the city´s popularity has yet to be matched by capital flows.

The main buzz in town is Infrastructure, AI & Data, and Female Entrepreneurship. Startup founders appreciate the helpful ecosystem and the high value for money in the city. Lisbon is home of the Web Summit, one of the largest global tech conferences, and top accelerators Beta-i and BGI – Building Global Innovators.

Startups to look out for include Unbabel, Codacy, and Bizay.

 

 

5. Amsterdam

Amsterdam has a Trust Score of 97%, making it the 5th most popular startup hub in Europe. With nearly half a billion Euro annual investments (3-year average: 470 million Euro), the Dutch city is among the largest European startup ecosystems.

More than half of startup founders in Amsterdam are foreign-born. They are especially attracted by the city´s ease of doing business, access to funding and industry connections.

Top local startup accelerators are, among others, StartupbootcampRockstart (with programs for AgriFood and Energy), and Antler. Amsterdam is home to promising startups like Mollie, MessageBird, and Picnic.

4. Paris

The city of the Eiffel Tower is one of the main startup ecosystems in Europe, reaching 97% on the Startup Heatmap Trust Score. It boasts a strong position in verticals like Consumer & Platforms, High Tech & IoT, SaaS & Enterprise Software, Health & BioTech, and FinTech. Although it attracts few foreign-born founders (22%), startup entrepreneurs value Paris especially for its excellent access to funding. 

The French capital has one of the highest investment numbers in Europe, steadily rising to reach 2.90 billion Euro in 2019.

Paris-based startup hub Station F hosts renowned accelerator programs, such as HEC Incubator and La Maison des Startups LVMH. Other top accelerator programs are The Family and 50 Partners Digital.

Paris is home to startups like BlaBlaCarDeezer, and Meero.

 

 

3. Barcelona

Founders like Barcelona´s value for money, helpful ecosystem, and access to talent. With a Trust Score of 98%, the Catalan city ranks 3rd among the best startup cities in Europe. It has a strong international appeal, with nearly two thirds of founders coming from abroad.

Annual investments amount to 0.7 billion Euro (3-year average), with 2018 seeing the highest number at 0.9 billion Euro.

Popular Barcelona-based startup accelerators are Conector, Wayra, and SeedRocket. Barcelona is home to startups with most inspiring success stories, such as Letgo, Glovo, and Typeform.

2. Berlin

The German capital is an international tech hub, attracting startups that specialize in industries like Consumer & Platforms, High Tech & IoT, SaaS & Enterprise Software, and Health & BioTech. Its Trust Score is at 99%, although in 2016 it scored 100%. In 2019 Berlin has attracted 4 billion euro in investment. 

Startup founders value Berlin for its helpful ecosystem, value for money, and access to funding. Renowned accelerator programs include Techstars Berlin, hub:raum and APX.

Berlin is home to startups like WefoxN26, and AUTO1 Group.

 

1. London

The British capital is the top ecosystem in Europe. As a global hub for tech and finance, London gains the golden medal, like it has since 2017. In 2019 the city saw annual investments of 8.4 billion Euro, a number that is unmatched in Europe and has been increasing since 2017.

The top three accelerators are: Techstars, Seedcamp, and Founders Factory

Countless startups are founded or seek a permanent presence in London. To highlight a few, the city is home to Revolut, Hopin, and TransferWise.

Despite the still uncertain effects of Brexit, which may benefit other European startup hubs, London remains highly attractive among startup founders and a central pillar of the European interconnected startup ecosystem.

Although founders are weary of the high costs of doing business in London, they value the outstanding access to funding and the industry connections.