Top 10 Startup Cities Where Entrepreneurs Want to Meet Up

February 2, 2015

2:30 pm

Last October, Startuptravels launched a search engine to find entrepreneurs to meet with in person – a useful tool for networking or plugging into a new startup scene you just arrived in.

In the past three months, they’ve seen over 43,000 searches on the platform coming from users in 120 countries and 600 cities. All of these are filtered by location, which gives us some interesting insight into where entrepreneurs want to meet up.

You could measure a startup scene by how much funding is pumped into it, or how many exits there have been, or how business-friendly the regulations are. But connections between the entrepreneurs are another big factor. A successful scene that isn’t very coherent, where members don’t know each other well and can’t recommend others to help you, won’t be as valuable of a resource.

Below is a ranking of the top international startup cities where entrepreneurs want to meet up, based on number of searches on the Startuptravels website. (For a ranking of top startup cities by tech meetup activity, see here.) As you’ll see, there’s obviously some bias in the data – Startuptravels is based in Copenhagen and the top city is Copenhagen, so they probably have an abundance of Copenhagen users. The comments are by cofounder Anders Hasselstrøm.

1. Copenhagen

top startup cities copenhagen

What draws entrepreneurs to visit Copenhagen: “Copenhagen is one of the major startup hubs in Europe with an active and growing startup ecosystem counting several successful startups. Major startups such as Just-Eat, Podio, and Momondo were founded in Denmark. Copenhagen is also known to be one of the most startup-friendly cities in the world.”

What they find when they arrive: “The startup ecosystem in Copenhagen has a lot to offer. You will, as in any other startup hub, find various coworking spaces, accelerators, and incubators but also upcoming startup organizations with the sole purpose of developing the ecosystem. You will find events of all sorts and you can experience the world’s largest co-living space, Nest Copenhagen.”

2. San Francisco

top startup cities San Francisco

What draws entrepreneurs to visit San Francisco: “San Francisco is popular to tech entrepreneurs because the Bay Area is home to giants like Apple, Facebook, and Google. The tech industry in San Francisco is booming and is the largest centre for venture investments in the US.”

What they find when they arrive: “Startups in San Francisco find a well-established startup community with many events. It is very easy to network and find connections in the city as its entrepreneurs are open and very friendly. There is a culture of helping and sharing, people want to support each other. You always meet someone like-minded where you get the opportunity to learn and grow. You will find places like Y Combinator and Founders Institute.”

3. London

top startup cities London

What draws entrepreneurs to visit London: “London is the most active city in Europe for startups and entrepreneurs with the highest number of startups and investors. Entrepreneurs and early-stage startups are attracted to the city by its unique startup culture. It is easy to find events, regular meetups for startups, networking opportunities, and lots of international conferences and events are held in London.”

What they find when they arrive: “London’s startup community has regular meetups where founders, developers, and influencers get together and share ideas. With many coworking spaces and events for startups, entrepreneurs always know what to do and where to go. The Google Campus is also one of the unique places in London.” 

4. Berlin

top startup cities Berlin

What draws entrepreneurs to visit Berlin: “Berlin is one of the most interesting and unique cities for startups around the world because of its cultural diversity. The city has a mix of locals and expats with a dynamic young population. From tech startups to hardware and arts, it is a diverse startup environment.”

What they find when they arrive: “In Berlin, there are plenty of coworking spaces with an ideal environment to network and meet new people. Most of the coworking spaces have a coffee shop where you can work all day and get to know people. Berlin is also known for the highly active community. You will find places like Betahaus and Sankt Oberholz.”

5. New York

top startup cities New York City

What draws entrepreneurs to visit New York: “As the second biggest technology startup environment in the US, New York attracts entrepreneurs from all over the world. The startup scene is very active and there are many investors and accelerator programs for startups.”

What they find when they arrive: “A variety of coworking spaces, a large number of events for entrepreneurs, and a great, friendly community. Also, New York is home to growing early-stage companies like Airhelp and Abacus. You will find places like Techstars, DreamIt, and WeWork.”

6. Vienna

top startup cities Vienna

What draws entrepreneurs to visit Vienna: “Vienna is a very big startup hub for the Central European region. With serial entrepreneurs, investors, and low-cost coworking spaces compared to the big startup hubs like London, Vienna has all the components startups are looking for.”

What they find when they arrive: “Vienna has a very active startup scene with competitions and events, and these events connect Eastern and Western European startups. One of the most important international event is the Pioneers Festival. The Festival has more than 2,500 participants and 1,000 startups. It is the biggest startup event in Central Europe.”

7. Singapore

top startup cities Singapore

What draws entrepreneurs to visit Singapore: “Singapore has a vibrant startup ecosystem and has excellent business infrastructure. The city is a base for many Asia-Pacific companies and one of the favorite launchpads for startups.”

What they find when they arrive: “Singapore has lively venues where local and international startups host workshops, social events, and hackathons. Startups can find accelerators, incubators, and coworking spaces and a community where everyone is welcome. You get the best of the Western and Asian startup world.”

8. Hong Kong

top startup cities Hong Kong

What draws entrepreneurs to visit Hong Kong: “There is a rapid globalization of the startup culture in Hong Kong. Mobile gaming, education, health care, and clean energy startups are popping up everywhere. With more than 40 coworking spaces, Hong Kong has a lot to offer a traveler entrepreneur.”

What they find when they arrive: “Hong Kong has a community of partners, startups, and investors for aspiring entrepreneurs. There are many programs promoting entrepreneurship in Hong Kong including Startup Weekend, Accelerator HK, PaperclipHK, and StartupsHK.”

9. Paris

top startup cities paris

What draws entrepreneurs to visit Paris: “Paris has a good network of incubators. The best-known player in the Paris startup scene is Silicon Sentier. Paris does not have as many international entrepreneurs as, for example, Berlin, but it is starting to grow. Venture capital is now more accessible and there is high software development expertise thanks to superior universities that produce highly skilled engineers.”

What they find when they arrive: “The Parisian startup scene is relatively young with high ambitions. One of the biggest international tech gatherings is the Le Web conference. Entrepreneurs will also find friendly coworking spaces such as La Cantine, which was the first one in Paris, and Café Craft as the youngest.”

10. Los Angeles

top startup cities los angeles

What draws entrepreneurs to visit Los Angeles: “Los Angeles is among the world’s top startup ecosystems after Silicon Valley and Tel Aviv. Most of the startups attracted to Los Angeles are focusing on entertainment, media, lifestyle, and fashion. Startups like Beachmint, Tinder, and Snapchat were founded in LA.”

What they find when they arrive: “With around 1,000 startups, Los Angeles is a great place to travel and network for entrepreneurs. Santa Monica is currently LA’s most important startup scene, also known as Silicon Beach.”

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Kira M. Newman is a Tech Cocktail writer interested in the harsh reality of entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and psychology. She is the founder of The Year of Happy and has been traveling around the world interviewing entrepreneurs in Asia, Europe, and North America since 2011. Follow her @kiramnewman or contact kira@tech.co.

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