Startup Ecosystems in Europe: Cities of Innovation

February 16, 2015

9:00 am

Biodegradable needles. Electronic parking. Online voting. Online storage. Online everything, really. In today’s fast-paced world, it is important to keep up with the latest technological advancements.

While the United States’ Silicon Valley is probably one of the most-known technologically innovative cities, take a look at these three European cities with excellent innovation climates, residents who are mostly involved in technological advancement, and startup ecosystems that provide good support.


Zurich, Switzerland

Switzerland is ranked as the wealthiest country with most powerful economy in the world. But that is just one of the reasons Zurich is one of the most technologically innovative cities in Europe. The largest city of Switzerland, Zurich is a leading financial center and the home to not only a large number of international companies (Nestle, Novartis, and Holcim to name a few) but also to some of the most powerful financial institutions (those “Swiss Bank Accounts” you hear in movies).

While Zurich is home to large multinational companies as well as tech giants like Google and Yahoo, it is also very friendly and supportive to startup companies, as the hundreds of startups there could attest. This is mainly due to Zurich’s local talent. As a country, Switzerland is ranked No. 1 with most patents as a percentage of their GDP. Startups like Wuala and Doodle also enjoy access to government-supported investment programs to fund small business.


Tallin, Estonia

Tallin, with its medieval towers and noisy streetcars, looks like it is still living in the past. But the quaint look of this Estonian city is a bit misleading. It is not only the financial and business capital of Estonia, now it is also becoming one of the main technology centers in Europe with some of the largest European corporations basing themselves in the city.

It is a city that breathes technology; from its transport system smart card to its electronic parking system and payment. Almost all transactions are done online (voting, prescriptions, and even mailing a package). Tallin is also one of the most startup friendly environments with incubators like Garage48 providing development support and networking opportunities. Not exactly surprising since its most popular startup, Skype, has already taken the world.

Automation is the name of the game, and Tallin is clearly winning.


Eindhoven, Netherlands

This city has the biggest number of patents worldwide. Eindhoven produces patents at the rate of 22 for every 10,000 residents, which far outpaces the second place for most inventive city, San Diego (8.9 patents per 10,000 residents).

Eidenhoven is startup heaven. Its High Tech Campus houses more than 10,000 researchers, developers, and engineers of around 125 companies, all working to develop technologies and products. Its most popular startup accelerator, the Startupbootcamp, is the biggest in Europe with a target fund size of €100 million (they currently have a 77% funding rate).

If you’re looking for innovation, Eindhoven is one place to look at. These 3 cities are innovative, but Europe has much more of them. Speaking about most technology cities, we should never forget about London and Berlin. So, if you are interested in technology, you have lots of cities to choose for visiting.

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Yohana Petrovic is a writer and blogger. She has 10 years` experience in educating. You can reach her on Facebook: Yohana Petrovic or on Twitter: @YohanaPetrovic