From a major tech investor’s perspective, all eyes remain fixed on London and Berlin, but away from these high profile startup hubs, Europe is nurturing some less well known but fertile innovation hotspots for trailblazing entrepreneurs. Lithuania is among the Top 5.
It has been described as one of the world’s most inventive cities, thanks largely to its prolific patent activity; patent intensity being the yardstick of innovation used by the OECD.
Home to successful startups such as Shapeways, the 3D printing marketplace, and Gynzy, an interactive education enterprise, Eindhoven has become renowned as a centre for hardware design and high-tech innovation.
[quote text=”Lithuania may be small, but it is one of the most innovative and tech-savvy countries in Europe. The tiny Baltic nation has put itself on the map with the likes of GetJar, a cross-platform mobile app store, and Pixelmator, the image editor that was voted best iPad app last year.” name_surname=”Alison Coleman” description=”Contributor of Forbes” left=””]
At the heart of it sits the High Tech Campus, a base for more than 130 businesses, and 10,000 researchers and entrepreneurs, and Startupbootcamp, the biggest network of startup high-tech startup accelerators in Europe, has its Startupbootcamp HighTechXL branch located there, making it an ideal spot for any entrepreneur who wants to be surrounded by technical brilliance.
And if those credentials are not enough, three years ago, the Netherlands was ranked as the EU’s most entrepreneurial country by the global Entrepreneurship Monitor survey.
Hungary’s post-communist transformation may not yet be quite complete, but its capital city is now acknowledged as a prime draw for start-ups, investors and incubators in the Central and Eastern European (CEE) region.
Like many of its CEE neighbours, Hungary is a hotbed of engineering expertise, especially in the area of telecom security. CryptTalk, for example, is a call encryption service developed by the Swedish firm Arenim Technologies, but which began life as a start-up in Hungary seven years ago. While it is now headquartered in Stockholm, its R&D division remains in Budapest.
In recent times it has been names like Ustream, LogMeIn and Prezi that have taken their products into global markets, inspiring many Hungarian entrepreneurs and influencing the country’s flourishing startup culture.
Much of the city’s success as a startup hub has been credited to Peter B. Záboji and his European Entrepreneurship Foundation (EEF), which for the last seven years has been running accelerator programmes and investor events that have resonated with a new generation of Hungarian entrepreneurs.
Colabs was the first tech startup hub of its kind in Hungary, while iCatapult aims to take European technologies to the global market.
It may be small, but it is one of the most innovative and tech-savvy countries in Europe. The proof lies in its burgeoning startup community in which over $100 million has been invested in recent years.
The tiny Baltic nation has put itself on the map with the likes of GetJar, a cross-platform mobile app store, and Pixelmator, the image editor that was voted best iPad app last year.
Other Lithuanian startups gaining traction include TrackDuck, the SaaS digital project management startup looking to raise a Series A $500,000 round this year, and Planner 5D, an application that allows you to create interior designs without the need for design skills, that is also launching a Series A round.
According to StartupLithuania, new businesses are anticipating €27 million investment in 2015.
The capital of the diminutive Baltic state of Estonia, perhaps most famous for delivering Skype to the world, has an enviable reputation; that of being one of Europe’s most intelligent cities, according to the Intelligent Community Forum.
It has its own scaled down version of London’s Tech City, Technopol, next to the Tallinn University of Technology, which plays host to a large number of tech enterprises, including startups, early stagers and more established growth companies. Tallinn’s startup accelerator programmes include Gamefounders and Startup Wiseguys.
Tallinn has excellent broadband connectivity, with widespread, free Wi-Fi the result of legislation that declared internet access a fundamental human right. This, along with support from both the state and the private sector, has encouraged the rapid growth in activity that is now evident in the startup sector.
Having suffered the ignominy of being a member of PIGs (Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain) group of countries worst hit by the Eurozone crisis, many people surprised to hear that Portugal’s Lisbon-based entrepreneurial scene is booming.
Last year the country saw 35,264 new companies created, close to 100 new companies every day. In the first five moths of 2015 almost 18,000 new companies were created, an 11% increase comparing to the same period last year.
Its rise to prominence as a startup hub is due in part to an English-speaking workforce. But the Portuguese startup scene has benefited in a big way from the presence and activity of the likes of Faber Ventures, the largest VC, which invests in very early stage tech companies, Shilling Capital Partners, EggNest and the government supported programme Portugal Ventures.
Success stories include fast growing student accommodation platform Uniplaces, fashion startup Chic by Choice, and Hole19 Golf.
Read full article at Forbes.com
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