London ranked as the best European city for founders

22 Sep 2021

Image: © AA+W/

The UK capital was the only European city to make the top 10 in Startup Genome’s ranking, tying with New York in second place for the second year in a row.

London is Europe’s number-one start-up city, according to a recent report by Startup Genome. The research and advisory body which specialises in start-ups released its Global Startup Ecosystem Report 2021 report today (22 September).

The report identified London and New York as joint second-best cities in the world for start-ups. London was the only European location to make it into the top 10. The city is attractive to founders thanks to its educated workforce and tax incentives, the report found.

Silicon Valley in California took the overall top spot. This year’s global rankings were dominated by the US, with half of the top 30 ecosystems coming from this region, followed by Asia with 27pc and Europe with 17pc of the top performing ecosystems globally.

Beijing, Boston, Los Angeles, Tel Aviv, Shanghai, Tokyo and Seattle also made the top 10 best start-up cities.

In terms of European cities, Paris made the top 20, coming in at number 12. The Amsterdam-Delta region followed in 13th place. Dublin improved its rank from the previous year’s report, coming in at number 36 this time.

The global start-up economy is currently worth more than $3.8trn in ecosystem value, according to the report. There are 79 ecosystems generating more than $4bn in value, which is more than double the number identified in 2017. In 2020, 91 ecosystems had created at least one unicorn.

Last year, Startup Genome published a report indicating its concerns over the future of the start-ups ecosystem during Covid-19. The report suggested that 42pc of start-ups were in what it called ‘the red zone’, meaning they had three months or fewer runway ahead of them.

Several countries including the UK, France and Germany introduced special support packages for start-ups. Irish non-profit Scale Ireland also introduced a similar start-up scheme for Irish companies.

“Entrepreneurs, policymakers and community leaders in Europe have been working hard to build inclusive innovation ecosystems that are engines of economic growth and job creation for all,” commented JF Gauthier, founder and CEO of Startup Genome on the report’s release.

“The Global Startup Ecosystem Report is the foundation of knowledge where we, as a global network, come together to identify what policies actually produce economic impact and in what context.”

Updated, 2.45pm, 8 October 2021: A previous version of this article stated that Stockholm was in the top 10 cities in the report. This was corrected as Stockholm was ranked 17th and London was the only European city to appear in the top 10. 

Don’t miss out on the knowledge you need to succeed. Sign up for the Daily Brief, Silicon Republic’s digest of need-to-know sci-tech news.

Blathnaid O’Dea was a Careers reporter at Silicon Republic until 2024.