Europe’s Tech Hubs
Here’s an overview of some of Europe’s hottest tech hubs
16 March 2023
The continent has plenty to offer in terms of providing easy access to talent, product innovators, customers, suppliers, partners – as well as close links to other countries within Europe.
An increasing number of start-ups are emerging, many with small teams of developers building a wide range of apps and services. There is particular strength in services for creative industries like video, publishing and advertising. The number of accelerators, Venture Capitalists (VCs) and angel investors is increasing.
Germany’s capital city’s start-up scene plays host to a multitude of young entrepreneurs drawn in by the local culture and lifestyle, low rents and easy access to Eastern Europe’s tech talent. The city is proving strong on digital media, social games and the quirkier end of the consumer web. International investors are increasingly drawn to Berlin, with the number of angels currently growing and Samwers’ Rocket Internet providing funding for aggressive businesses with a track record.
Known as “Silicon Fen”, the tech industry here was built out of Cambridge University’s research departments in the UK and has been strong for several years. It’s home to hundreds of hard tech companies, with a focus on semiconductors, wireless, data and biotech development. Active alumni networks and VC connections make Cambridge an attractive destination for investment.
Many of Dublin’s biggest successes have been in B2B and SaaS, but there’s a wealth of different industries here, from gaming and apps to telecoms, big data and CRM software. Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, Google and other tech giants run their European operations from Dublin. Venture firms and investors are currently growing, with an eye on what’s being created by the local start-ups.
Eindhoven’s High Tech Campus in the Netherlands houses more than 100 local and international companies, and the region has strong links to research and development. Green technology, healthcare and smart materials are currently trending. Corporate investment and research funding are the major sources of financial investment for local start-ups.
The area is starting to produce batches of smart, skilful entrepreneurs who are building interesting companies – mostly in mobile and gaming. Many former “Nokians” are funding each other’s business ideas; however, the region also has good access to VC networks across the Baltics and Scandinavia.
Although jokingly dubbed “Silicon Roundabout” back in 2009-2010, London’s Tech City is piled high with consumer web services, enterprise developers, online retailers, digital media, mobile and creative development teams. London is an early adopter of new tech, and the city is home to Europe’s strongest VCs and has a growing number of early-stage investors and angels.
The M4 Corridor is a 70 mile stretch along one of Britain’s busiest motorways, which runs between Berkshire (where Vodafone, Microsoft and Oracle have had large offices) and Bristol, which has close links to the semiconductor and microelectronics industries.
The region has a number of large enterprise and data-focused outfits, alongside telecom and mobile R&D. There’s also a strong digital media scene in Bristol, which is where IMDB was first created. The area is close enough to London to benefit from the city’s sources of investment.
Germany’s venture capital industry is concentrated in Munich, not least because it’s the base for the nation’s auto industry. Two of Germany’s biggest start-up investors (Hubert Burda Media and Holtzbrinck) have bases in Munich and fund lots of local and foreign entrepreneurs.
Media, advertising and e-commerce are strong, particularly in the segments where French brands can draw on the national obsession with haute couture and luxury. Wireless has seen some inventive activity and there are some large venture companies looking inwards for ‘the next big thing’.
The region runs from Frankfurt (Germany’s finance centre) to Walldorf (home of SAP and Software AG) and it’s a hot spot for smart, enterprise-focused companies that develop software for businesses. There are lots of private angels and good funding networks; however, there is somewhat limited VC activity.
IBM, Motorola and National Semiconductor have all had bases in the central belt of Scotland, but the last decade has seen a shift towards software development, SaaS and games.
Sweden’s capital is highly connected and local entrepreneurs have a tendency to ‘think outside the box’ and challenge the status quo, whether somewhat controversially (Pirate Bay for example) or more conventionally (such as Spotify). Web and Telecoms are local strengths. Swedish investors and local VCs are proving strong.
Estonia has developed a strong engineering culture, with skills in enterprise-focused software, services and security. Although many local entrepreneurs seem to be moving elsewhere to start up on their own, a vibrant local start-up scene remains in place.
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