After more than a year of checking out Europe’s start-up scene, we recall our favourite cities and regions bursting with entrepreneurial promise.
As we looked at the start-up ecosystem in Europe over the past 18 months, it became abundantly clear that today’s tech entrepreneur, no matter where they are, starts off with the exact same palette of technologies, from the software to the hardware and the connectivity (good and bad).
What makes each ecosystem different, however, is each entrepreneur and founding team’s unique, imaginative and distinctive take on solving problems, making technological breakthroughs and, in general, removing the frictions from our lives.
Over the past year or more, we have covered more than 60 cities and entrepreneurial hubs worldwide (Zug, for example, is technically a municipality rather than a city). As we enter 2019, our trek will continue to unearth some of the most exciting start-ups in the most exciting cities and ecosystems.
Each region has a unique funding environment and government policy. And, due to the vagaries of start-up life, some of the companies may no longer with us through being acquired or from running the gauntlet of risk. So, consider each list to be a moment in time. We plan to return to these locations again in the future to chronicle new generations of start-ups that will no doubt emerge.
And so, here are our 30 favourite start-up destinations to watch out for in 2019.
Athens has been a centre of civilisation for millennia, and now it is at the heart of a tech start-up revolution.
Barcelona is the jewel of the Mediterranean when it comes to a robust and diverse start-up ecosystem.
Berlin is one of Europe’s leading start-up capitals, with a vibrancy and pace that is truly inspirational.
Belfast has its eye on the future and is bubbling with entrepreneurial promise.
The Hungarian capital, Budapest, is buzzing with tech start-ups with a world vision, and products and platforms to match.
The university city of Cambridge is home to compelling start-ups at the bleeding edge in areas such as big data, life sciences and AI.
Copenhagen is a city that is defiantly carving its own path to tech glory.
When it comes to innovation and entrepreneurship, Scotland’s capital city is a veritable goldmine.
Ghent is a glittering prize when it comes to super-focused start-ups intent on changing our world.
Glasgow is a hotspot for entrepreneurial activity and its tech start-up community is driving innovation at full throttle.
Finnish capital Helsinki is a hotbed of tech innovation, with start-ups that are making waves internationally.
Kraków in southern Poland is becoming an exciting epicentre of tech innovation and entrepreneurship.
Limerick is a tech city and a beacon for the digital ambitions of the mid-west region.
Lisbon has a flourishing and thriving start-up scene.
London is unquestionably the epicentre of start-up activity in Europe.
Spain’s capital is not just about history and culture, it is also about the future.
Milan is not only the fashion, financial and industrial capital of Italy, it is also the country’s biggest start-up hub.
Beloved for its beer, cars and engineering, Munich is also an epicentre of culture and entrepreneurship.
The Mediterranean city of Montpellier is the Silicon Valley of the south of France.
Norway’s capital city, Oslo, is home to a thriving start-up ecosystem that captures the best of Scandinavian ingenuity and originality.
Porto is bustling with start-up and scale-up activity, and is rapidly becoming a leading European hub for entrepreneurship.
Prague is not only in the centre of Europe, it is playing a central role in the future of technology.
The Latvian capital of Riga is a powerhouse of digital innovation.
In many ways, Tallinn is one of Europe’s foremost digital cities and a natural home for tech entrepreneurs with flare and ambition.
Toulouse is flying high when it comes to smart technologies originating from a community of start-ups with a world vision for IoT and more.
In the heart of Europe, Vienna has a beating heart full of innovation that is hard to beat.
Lithuania’s capital city, Vilnius, is home to a maturing and innovative start-up ecosystem with plenty of variety.
Warsaw is bursting with ambition when it comes to fostering a thriving ecosystem of innovative tech start-ups.
The Swiss region of Zug is also known as Crypto Valley because it has become an epicentre of fintech, cryptocurrency and blockchain activity.
Zurich is at the nexus of important innovations in digital, medical and financial technologies. It is also a thriving proving ground for start-ups.
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