The best startup cities in Europe: A Guide

Europe has many cities that can offer excellent conditions to startup founders, including talent pools, affordable resources and in many, a high quality of life. Some places have been on the radar of entrepreneurs for years, while others are just starting to capture their interest. In this article, we will present the 10 highest-ranked European cities in 2020.

  1. London, United Kingdom
  2. Berlin, Germany
  3. Moscow, Russia
  4. Paris, France
  5. Amsterdam, Netherlands
  6. Barcelona, Spain
  7. Stockholm, Sweden
  8. Kyiv, Ukraine
  9. Madrid, Spain
  10. Munich, Germany

The Best Startup Cities in Europe

To find out which cities are the best places to run a startup, StartupBlink has analyzed startup ecosystems in 1,000 cities and 100 countries to publish its annual Global Startup Ecosystem Rankings Report 2020.

Best Startup Cities in Europe

In the report, Europe continues to fare well, with 20 countries (including Russia and the UK) in the top 30 countries club. Other than that, there is a strong presence of CEE (Central and Eastern European) countries, affecting 6 out of the top 25 countries.

1. London, United Kingdom

London, the capital of England and the UK, is the highest-ranked European city on the list and UK’s stronghold on the global startup ecosystem. Ranked globally 3rd, just after San Francisco and New York, London is known for its dynamic community, a high concentration of investments and capital, as well as a vast talent pool. The city is full of numerous accelerator programmes and tech events.

2. Berlin, Germany

Berlin is London’s biggest competitor for Europe’s Startup Hub title, based on the Global Startup Ecosystem Rankings Report 2020. Berlin ranks 8th globally and is the second-highest ranked startup ecosystem in Europe, despite a minor decrease in the rankings compared to 2019. Berlin is a bustling ecosystem specializing in B2C startups and the main sectors are e-commerce, AI & ML, fin-tech, healthcare, and blockchain. 

3. Moscow, Russia

Next on the list is the mega-hub of Moscow, which increased by 1 spot since 2019 to be ranked 10th in the world. This city is an example of a megacity with an outstanding ecosystem, and home to some of the world’s most talented technical entrepreneurs and top centers in high-tech and creative industries. The metropolis has a developed economy, a comfortable urban environment, and a mature, innovative ecosystem in which bold ideas are born and implemented. 

4. Paris, France

The French capital city, Paris, is the 4th highest ranked startup ecosystem in Europe. While this year it has not moved from its position in the global rankings in 2019 (12th), Paris remains the only French city in the top 100 club. The capital city is an exciting place to be for startup players due to an evolving regulatory system, increasing talent pool and new local and foreign interest that this ecosystem continually receives.

5. Amsterdam, The Netherlands

While the 5th highest-ranking European city after London, Berlin, Moscow and Paris, Amsterdam is the 20 in the global rankings – falling 4 places from its position in 2019. Among the startup players, The Netherlands and Amsterdam are particularly known for the leading tech magazine, TheNextWeb, and a global startup event. The Dutch are also known for initiatives specifically helping entrepreneurs who stay off the beaten track of raising investment and instead build businesses by self-funding. A few initiatives that come to mind in this field are Nomadlist by Pieter Levels and Betalist by Marc Kohlbrugge. 

6. Barcelona, Spain

6th European startup hub is a Southern Europe’s city of Barcelona that keeps its position from 2019 as 27th globally. Great weather, high standard of living and vibrant community attracts entrepreneurs and startup founders to Barcelona. This city is also a shining example of one of Europe’s most vibrant ecosystems, where policymakers have decided that innovation, technology, and industrialization are keys to the future growth of the city. 

7. Stockholm, Sweden

Sweden’s startup ecosystem is mainly concentrated in its capital, Stockholm. While it has fallen by 5 places this year to be ranked at 29th globally, it has still ranked as the 7th best startup city in Europe. Nordic nations are known for do-it-yourself attitude and independence, working more as solopreneurs and less as co-founders or teams when compared to other countries. However, more and more startup events and conferences are taking place in the city for sharing success stories and collaborating.  

8. Kyiv, Ukraine

At Number 8, the capital city of Kyiv stands at 34th globally. Kyiv is one of the most dynamic startup ecosystems in Eastern Europe and a great spot for developing new businesses and creative ideas due to the inexpensive cost of living. Ukraine, and therefore Kyiv, are known for hundreds of thousands of tech specialists with outstanding skills in AI and math. Consequently, many global brands open their branch there and open up a lot of business opportunities and outwork activities. Kyiv has an extraordinary mix of American creativity, Eastern European costs, and highly skilled developers.

9. Madrid, Spain

Barcelona is not the only Spanish city among the top 10 European startup hubs. Madrid stands 9th in Europe and 35th globally – dropping two places from its position in 2019. Being the capital of Spain makes Madrid an important gateway to Latin America as it is both a political center and one of the world’s top tourist destinations. It is a very liveable city, with excellent infrastructure and a melting pot for talent.

10. Munich, Germany

The only new entry in the 10 best startup cities is Munich, Capital of Bavaria region of Germany, and the country’s 2nd strongest hub of innovation. Ranking at 38 globally, the country has moved up by 3 places since 2019, partly due to its reputation as a green and sustainable living hotspot, making it attractive to aspiring entrepreneurs.

A rare pool of high quality corporations like SAP, Siemens, and Bosch fund initiatives within the German startup ecosystem as part of their open innovation activities. Giving entreprenuers in cities like Munich, opportunities for growth.

More than just the Capital Cities

While all but two of the 10 best startup cities in Europe are in fact capital cities, so much can be said of the non-capital cities around Europe that are growing rapidly to help propel their national ecosystems forward. In our next article we will take a look at those non capitals that are truly overperforming on the world stage.


This list was compiled based on the results of Global Startup Ecosystem Rankings Report 2020 that ranked 1,000 cities and 100 countries worldwide. If your city was not included in this list yet but you want to find out the current status of your local startup ecosystem, download the Report for free here and start discovering.

Compiling the list for Europe was made simple with the help of the PRO account, and our Ecosystem Partners

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