Amsterdam is now the third most favourite city in Europe to found a startup. Plus, of all startup ecosystems in countries across Europe, the Dutch startup community has grown the most in the past year. Due to massive startup inflow, the startup population of the lowlands has increased by 31%. These are two of the main takeaways of the Startup Heatmap, which has been revealed by ESI, the European Startup Initiative.
Amsterdam third most favourite behind London and Paris
The ESI is a volunteer based non-profit organization, which was founded in 2012. Their research is based on an online survey that was open to founders from November 2015 to April 2016. The main question the online survey asked to its respondents was: “Where would you like to startup if you could begin all over again?”. Obviously, “Usual suspects” London and Berlin topped the charts with 15% and 14% of respondents respectively. Amsterdam was only just behind them in third spot with 10%. The Dutch capital beat other attractive up-and-coming hubs like Dublin, Barcelona, Munich, Stockholm, Copenhagen or Vienna. It is no stretch to interpret this data as basically saying that Amsterdam is now the third-most favourite startup city in Europe.
Founders rate talent over capital
The Heatmap, presented in the month when Amsterdam is having its hottest September temperatures ever, reveals several other interesting discoveries. For instance the map shows that a lot of founders must be expats who love to travel. It turns out that 23% of startup founders have started their company in a country, which is not their country of origin.
Move to where the money is
Interestingly, founders do not necessarily move to where the money is. Surprisingly enough, access to capital is only the fourth-most important reason for founders to choose where to set up shop. Only 44% of respondents consider capital as a relevant factor in deciding a location choice. The most important reasons are access to the right talent and the presence of a healthy eco-system with respectively 71% and 69% of respondents rating these factors as highly important. This-most mentioned factor was the amount of local costs, which 51% of respondents mentioned.
While the Netherlands in general and Amsterdam specifically are consolidating themselves as some of Europe’s main start-up hotspots, things are not looking as well everywhere else. A country that needs to worry particularly is Italy. The proud Mediterranean nation is looking at a startup braindrain as it is losing almost one third of its startups. So many companies have said Arrivederci to Italy in the last year alone that the country has seen a net migration outflow of a whopping 29%.
Don’t believe the hype
The Startup Heatmap also focuses on media coverage with some interesting outcomes. As mentioned before the Italian hubs are struggling with a worrisome outflux, yet Rome and Milan are doing well in the field of startup media coverage. This leads to one of the other key findings in the rapport: Media buzz alone will not attract startup founders to a city. The clearest case of this is Manchester, which has been getting heaps of press, yet it only ranks 26th in ESI’s list of rising stars.
A reference for founders and investors
The aim of the Startup Heatmap is to pinpoint which Startup cities in Europe are the hottest, to find out how far their reputation travels, and to discover why are people moving to startup a company in a city in another country. By mapping out the perception and the attractiveness of startup hubs in Europe, the ESI hopes to provide a reference for startup hotspots as well as igniting public debate. And of course the map serves to provide orientation to investors as well as startups.