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THE BEST CITIES FOR TECH STARTUPS  /
April 2, 2019
Viktoriya Polyarush Social Media Coordinator, an avid reader with the passion for technology.

Many claim that the best cities for startups are usually the venues where you can find the right people to hire, thus the locations near colleges and universities are ideal. In addition, a balanced cost of living and a high quality of life make your presence attractive for employees, especially those just starting out. A tech community, active angel investors, networking events, and business startup support are also desirable features to look for. Some of these spots may not be as blessed with spectacular scenery, while others may be just getting started in attracting startups, but they all have some significant reasons for you to put them on your short list.

In this post we will have a look at the cities which are considered to be the most favourable locations for tech startups:

Without any doubt, Stockholm is famous for its unique ability to produce billion-dollar “unicorns” – Spotify, Mojang and TrueCaller are just a few to be named. It’s a city that regularly stands out despite its relatively low population of less than a million since it offers residents a high quality of life and much desired work-life balance.

Next location, Dublin, boasts a young, tech-savvy workforce and a host of big names including AirBnb, Apple and Facebook. A business-friendly, low tax environment may have attracted big players to the city, but it is the city’s legendary social scene that strengthened its position as a major global tech player.

Israel’s reputation as a cybersecurity and data analytics centre of excellence is rooted in TelAviv, where the so-called ‘Silicon Wadi’ flourishes with a pool of home-grown talent in the military and banking sectors. Besides,with a vibrant and sophisticated startup scene, Tel Aviv’s influence has been helped along by the success of companies like Fiverr.

We shouldn’t forget about Singapore which is rapidly becoming a world leader in Big Data — particularly after its government introduced city-wide sensors collecting information on everything from traffic movements to crowd behaviour. All these factors as well as the city-state’s reliable financial sector and business-focused culture contribute to Singapore’s reputation as a Tech City.

Berlin has long enjoyed a status as a European capital of art and nightlife, and in recent years its relatively low real estate prices, reasonable cost of living and abundance of technological talent have helped position it as a centre for startups and entrepreneurs. SoundCloud, one of the city’s biggest successes, demonstrates the Berliner approach: innovative, disruptive and all-encompassing.

As the corporate headquarters of both Amazon and Microsoft (in Redmond), Seattle has a lot to offer — and there’s plenty more activity to be expected, with Expedia recently announcing that it will relocate to the Elliott Bay campus in 2019. Google, Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox, SpaceX and many others have opened engineering offices in the city.

Copenhagen’s tech startup scene has grown rapidly and already given birth to a few big successes: online takeaway giant Just Eat has its roots in a Danish basement. The city tops our ‘wellness’ ranking. The concept of ‘hygge’, the Danish way of making everyday living extraordinary, exemplifies this.

Amsterdam, as a famously creative, bohemian capital is also home to a thriving tech scene. Scoring highly for both wellness and city vibrance, and having the unique benefit of an almost completely bilingual culture (around 90% speak English and Dutch), Amsterdam has much to recommend it as one of Europe’s major tech hubs.

Toronto’s startup scene is booming, with around 3,000 ventures currently active and a number of Canada’s home-grown heavy hitters, including Shopify, Hootsuite and Kik, maintaining a presence in the city. Besides, ranking highly for quality of life, North America’s fourth largest city has a bright future ahead as one of the world’s tech cities.

Santiago is at the center of Chile’s up-and-coming startup ecosystem—one that has captured the attention of international investors and the global tech community. The city enjoys a healthy economy, workforce of innovative professionals, and low level of bureaucracy—at least when compared with other LATAM cities. Start-Up Chile, LATAM’s leading accelerator, was created by the Chilean government to encourage tech innovation from abroad to relocate to the country. The program offers a myriad of resources to fledgling startups, including USD $45,000 in equity-free funding.

As a global banking powerhouse, it’s no surprise that London‘s also one of the world’s financial technology capitals. Fintech disruptors TransferWise and Funding Circle began their journeys here, with many more expected to follow from East London’s Silicon Roundabout. Moreover, excellent universities and proximity to Europe’s busiest airport cement London’s position as a Tech City.

Several assets of Hong Kong make it an ideal place, certainly one of the best in Asia, for launching a tech startup. Digital entrepreneurs working on device and hardware-related ventures will appreciate the city’s close proximity to Shenzen, the maker capital of the world. The city also gives attractive tax incentives to business owners, including no capital gains tax and a 16.5% corporate tax rate.

Definiely, the success of Wellington’s tech startup ecosystem is a combination of several factors: a high standard yet low cost of living and no capital gains tax, to name a few. And New Zealand is not just one of the most beautiful and friendly countries in the world—boasting some of the best weather conditions year round—Forbes recently named New Zealand as the best country in the world for doing business.

Istanbul’s transformation into a startup hub is a credit to its complex, storied, and fascinating culture. Business incubators and accelerators are being created at an increasingly rapid pace in Istanbul, with a growing network of angel investors and mentors fostering a new generation of startups in the city. Low market competition combined with plenty of available market opportunities make for a thriving environment to set up new businesses. With a youthful population eager to take on uncharted market territory, Istanbul boasts an excellent blend of vigor and promise. Because it’s an emerging market, getting involved now could mean access to many other regions once a strong hold has been established.

Fears over immigration challenges may be turning Vancouver into “Silicon Valley North,” but this temperate city established its startup credibility long ago with companies such as Slack, Hootsuite, PlentyOfFish, and Unbouce located there. It also has one of the largest concentrations of video game and digital media companies in the world, with over 800 calling it home. Vancouver routinely charts as one of the best / most liveable cities to live as measured by the well-known quality of life surveys by The Economist and Mercer. According to the provincial government, the tech industry employs over 100,000 people in Vancouver. The presence of offices from big names such as Facebook, Google, and Microsoft and the concentration of talent, venture capital, and energy (not to mention its easy access to the west coast and San Francisco) makes it a compelling option.

No roundup of startup cities can be complete without mentioning Silicon Valley which still dominates with nearly 16,000 active startups and two million tech workers, as measured by the Global Startup Ecosystem report. As the area is one of the key attractors of investment dollars and talent, there has been some high-profile problems recently related to the Valley’s housing market and cost of living, with the New York Times referring to Silicon Valley as a “housing villain.” Even with these challenges, the area is still synonymous with entrepreneurs. The fact that nearly half of the founders in the area are immigrants is a testament to this.

Many cities are still to be added to the list since the tech startup landscape is constantly evolving.