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Top 15: Europe’s biggest startup cities in 2015

In 2011 and in 2012, we tried to come up with a ranking of Europe’s biggest startup cities. Both articles, which involved a fair amount of research, generated a lot of interest among our readers. Now, after pausing in 2013-14, it’s time for an updated ranking to find out what has changed since then.

In order to come up with the new ranking, we collected the following information and put it into an Excel sheet:

  • a) The top 60 European cities – in relation to this year’s visits on EU-Startups.com – and the associated number of unique visitors;
  • b) The number of startups that are registered for each of these European cities on CrunchBase (both for 2015 and in total);
  • c) The number of startups registered on AngelList for each city (both for 2015 and in total).
  • After that, we gave each of the these numbers specific weights to get the right ratio;

Overall, we applied the same algorithm to our list as in the past. The only change was that in order to come up with a slightly more accurate ranking this year, we gave the number of unique visitors an even lower weight than in 2011 and 2012.

Please note that the resulting ranking isn’t a final judgment about the real importance of each of these cities for the European startup world. It’s more like a mirror of the digital presence of these cities in the English-speaking startup universe. And here we are:

1. London                  2. Paris                3. Berlin

4. Amsterdam           5. Barcelona         6. Madrid

7. Dublin                   8. Stockholm         9. Copenhagen

10. Milan                 11. Munich             12. Lisbon

13. Helsinki             14. Zurich              15. Warsaw

If you compare this ranking with our results of 2012, you’ll notice that the first four positions have stayed the same. Although Paris and Berlin were very close this time! Here are some changes/trends we noticed while comparing the results of 2012 and 2015:

  • Between rank 5 and 15 there were quite a lot of changes. It starts with Spain’s two major startup hubs. While Barcelona and Madrid were very close, this time Barcelona made the race!
  • Dublin went from rank 9 in 2012, to rank 7 in 2015. This was likely impacted by initiatives like Web Summit, and Ireland’s startup friendly politics.
  • Copenhagen has seemed to develop quite well. The Danish capital made a huge jump from rank 12 to 9.
  • Also quite a surprise was Lisbon, which was not even on the list in 2012, having now made it to rank number 12. You might have noticed, that people have started talking about the startup hub Lisbon, saying things like: “it’s Berlin, but with a beach”.
  • Hamburg and Vienna didn’t make it into the Top 15 this year. Instead, Warsaw entered the ranking and landed at number 15.

Again, our ranking isn’t meant to be a final judgment about the real importance of each of these cities for the European startup world. Investment activities haven’t been considered either. But we think that the ranking above is a nice indicator for some trends in the development of startup hubs in Europe.

By the way: If you’d like to stay up-to-date regarding startup news and interesting opportunities, make sure to subscribe to our free weekly EU-Startups Newsletter.

Thomas Ohr
Thomas Ohr
Thomas Ohr is the "Editor in Chief" of EU-Startups.com and started the blog in October 2010. He is excited about Europe's future, passionate about new business ideas and lives in Barcelona (Spain).


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