Silicon Valley-bound tech entrepreneurs take heed: these days, you can launch a digital venture from just about anywhere. That said, a few places in the world stand out amongst others as having the right ingredients for nurturing a fledgling startup.
Most of these locales combine the right balance of talent, cost/quality of living, local support for entrepreneurs (e.g., accelerators, incubators, co-working spaces), and more. The following are the top 13 cities from around the world best suited for launching a tech startup in 2017.
13. Oslo, Norway
Oslo may be one the more expensive places to launch a startup, but this price comes with unique benefits: one of the lowest crime rates in Europe, a high volume of skilled professionals trained in IT and creative disciplines, high quality of living, and more. The country also boasts an easygoing business environment and relaxed formalities for starting up. Local incubators and accelerators such as StartupLab, SmartOslo Accelerator, and Oslo International Hub are just a few of the leading organizations active in the Oslo tech ecosystem.
12. Warsaw, Poland
What do leading startups LiveChat, BaseCRM, UXPin, and Positionly have in common? All were proudly developed in-country by Polish developers. In fact, the country boasts some of the most competent—and affordable—programmers and software engineers in the world. Additionally, low cost of living and rental prices make this East-Central European capital city one to consider when scouting locations for your startup.
11. Santiago, Chile
Santiago is at the center of Chile’s up-and-coming startup ecosystem—one that has captured the attention of international investors and the global tech community. The city boasts a health economy, workforce of innovative professionals, and low level of bureaucracy—at least when compared with other LATAM cities. Start-Up Chile, LATAM’s leading accelerator, was created by the Chilean government to encourage tech innovation from abroad to relocate to the country. The program offers a myriad of resources to fledgling startups, including USD $45,000 in equity-free funding.
10. Stockholm, Sweden
Stockholm possesses many qualities that set it apart as the ideal home for tech startups: leading broadband adoption/penetration rates in Europe, a high concentration of IT professionals, and a highly-educated workforce proficient in multiple languages. The latter has much to do with the city’s educational institutions and universities, including Sweden’s preeminent technical institute: KTH Royal Institute of Technology.
9. Hong Kong
Several facets of Hong Kong make it an ideal place, certainly one of the best in Asia, for launching a tech startup. Digital entrepreneurs working on device and hardware-related ventures will appreciate the city’s close proximity to Shenzen, the maker capital of the world. The city also gives attractive tax incentives to business owners, including no capital gains tax and a 16.5% corporate tax rate.
8. São Paulo, Brazil
Despite the recent economic downturn, São Paulo’s tech startup ecosystem continues to dominate in the global tech startup arena. Unsurprising, Brazil’s largest city is where most of the country’s startup ventures are located—as well as the regional headquarters of tech giants like Google, Uber and Airbnb. This has led to a surplus of highly-qualified, transient talent—some of the best in South America and LATAM—available for hire by innovative startups.
This global financial powerhouse was recently cited by Mercer as offering the highest quality of life in Asia, as well as possessing the best infrastructure in the world. The Singaporean government plays an active role in spurring local innovation—in fact, it recently established the Startup SG program to provide financial and mentorship resources to new entrepreneurs.
6. Bangalore, India
Bangalore may be India’s third most populated city, but it leads the nation when it comes to tech startup innovation. Many of the city’s success stories such as Flipkart and InMobi attest to the region’s penchant for producing local unicorns. The local tech ecosystem’s global reputation for success has positioned it favorably when it comes to VC investments and time to raise capital.
5. Paris, France
Paris’ startup ecosystem is widely regarded as one of the world’s preeminent centers of tech innovation—a result of the city’s cosmopolitan populace, highly-educated workforce, longstanding tradition of design and creative excellence, as well as local government support: grants, subsidies, loans, mentorship programs, and more. Recently, the country introduced the French Tech Ticket—a program that offers €45,000 in investment, office space, and a resident permit fast-track—to attract tech entrepreneurs from abroad.
4. Austin, Texas (US)
Austin is a city that seems to have it all: a thriving music and arts/cultural scene, world-renowned university, and of course—a thriving tech startup ecosystem. Fledgling tech startups will appreciate the expansive pool of tech-savvy professionals, affordable housing prices, and local community of over 50 startups, incubators, and accelerators.
3. Berlin, Germany
Like Austin residents, Berliners enjoy an arts and music scene celebrated the world over. Tech startups looking to situate themselves at the heart of Germany’s cultural epicenter need look no further—affordable living/office spaces coupled with relaxed visa and immigration policies make Berlin the ideal place for starting up. Just ask Careship, Babbel, Wooga, or Clue—a few local startups that have experienced global success as of late.
2. Wellington, New Zealand
The success of Wellington’s tech startup ecosystem is a combination of several factors: a high standard yet low cost of living, no-frills/inexpensive process for setting up shop, no capital gains tax, to name a few. And New Zealand is not just one of the most beautiful and friendly countries in the world—boasting some of the best weather conditions year round—Forbes recently named New Zealand as the best country in the world for doing business.
1. Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Known for its long history of innovation, Amsterdam is widely regarded as the first city of the modern age; it’s here where the world’s first stock market and corporation was born. Unsurprisingly, the city’s tech startup ecosystem has grown to become one of the biggest startup hubs in Europe—notable firms include Bynder, Booking.com, and Travelbird, to name a few.
As you can see, Silicon Valley is no longer the first and last place on the map when it comes founding a tech venture. Tech entrepreneurs with global aspirations should consider one of these leading cities when looking for the right environment to launch their startup ventures.