What is the world’s most attractive city for start-up founders?

Growth | Start-up | Surveys | Technology
Karoli Hindriks

Jobbatical, a platform that connects tech professionals with jobs around the world, today released new research examining the factors driving mobility decisions in global talent, as well as perceptions of global tech and innovation hubs.

The research, completed in partnership between University of Cambridge and Launchfield, aimed to identify factors driving mobility decisions in global talent, determine the defining factors of tech and innovation hubs around the world and map perceptions of global tech locations held by tech professionals and startup founders.

Jobbatical’s Global Talent Mobility research arrives as the UK tech sector goes from strength to strength, with research from London & Partners revealing that British tech firms have received £5bn worth of VC funding since June 2016 – more than France (£1.55bn), Germany (£2.15bn) and Sweden (£644m) combined.

Jobbatical’s Global Talent Mobility research

London identified as the most attractive city for start-up founders

  • London was singled out as the most attractive city for starting a business. Among the top 31 cities named, 11 were European, more than North America (7 cities), Asia (6), MENA (3), Africa (2), and Australasia (1)
  • London was also named the second most ‘important tech and innovation hub’ in the world, second behind only Singapore

Europe leads North America and Asia as a popular destination for tech workers

  • When asked where founders would consider starting a new company, 48% of respondents said Europe. That number sat at 24% for North America and 19% for Asia
  • Tech professionals are most interested in moving to Europe, followed by North America, Australia, and Asia

Contrary to popular perceptions, Silicon Valley is behind other destinations as an attractive location for entrepreneurs

  • When asked which cities are the most important tech and innovation hubs right now, respondents placed San Francisco behind Singapore, London, and New York City
  • When asked where founders would consider starting a new company, San Francisco didn’t crack the top five, coming in behind London, Singapore, Tallinn, Dubai, Berlin, New York, and Barcelona

Jobbatical founder and CEO Karoli Hindriks commented: “A welcoming and diverse culture is helping Europe to become a major crossroads for global tech. From Lisbon to London, there has never been a stronger, more developed group of tech and innovation hubs within the continent. There is more work to be done to meet the needs of European tech, but the destinations identified in our research are getting a leg up on attracting global talent thanks to a culture of openness and innovation.”

Jobbatical’s Global Talent Mobility research also ranked concerns for technology entrepreneurs and startup founders faced when looking to move to a different country. Ease of doing business, entrepreneurial spirit and availability of global networks were the top three criteria for making a city a good place to start companies. Earlier this year, Jobbatical announced it was working with the Estonian Ministry of the Interior to design the world’s first Digital Nomad Visa, which will help streamline the process for global talent to work in the country.

Hindriks believes that the growth of Europe’s tech sector is based first and foremost on access to talent.

She said: “There is little in place by way of policy to support modern ways of working. In order for Europe, including the UK, to continue to develop its tech industry, issues around access must be solved. A review of the visa process, in particular, is a crucial first step, with ideas like Estonia’s Digital Nomad Visa a welcome step in the right direction for the way governments can support tech companies and tech workers.”

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