Meet the European tech hubs courting UK firms after Brexit
Brexit may indeed mean Brexit but what are the implications for the UK’s burgeoning tech sector?
Nearly one-third of all European venture capital funding consistently comes to the UK and it has the second highest levels of venture capital invested per capita in the world, after the US.
Little wonder that immediately after the Brexit vote, a German political party paid for ads on vans to be driven round London inviting start-ups to move to Berlin.
Should the worst happen, and leaving the EU will result in a tech exodus from the UK, there are a number of places digital firms could eventually end up.
In the past three years 3,000 tech companies have moved to Berlin.
Last year it attracted a total of €2.1 billion in venture capital – more than any other city in Europe – and it has an abundance of young, talented, international people and world-leading research centres like the Fraunhofer and Max Planck institutes.
There’s also financial support for start-ups from the State of Berlin and its investment bank (IBB) with a focus on digital companies.
Dublin is home to more than 1,200 start-ups and 250 global tech companies.
Last year more than $300m in funding was secured by start-ups in the city, almost half from international investors.
The Irish government looks to play a vital role in early stage investment and there is a strong and growing venture capital and angel investor community.
Dublin sells itself as “the bridge” between Europe and the US and is significantly cheaper than London when it comes to both salaries and cost of living. It also has a young population – 40 per cent are aged under-30.
Finland has the fastest growing games industry in the world and gave us Angry Birds and Clash of Clans. Last year games companies generated a reported turnover of almost €2.5bn.
Around €1.3bn was pumped into the industry from international funds between 2013-15 while it also has support from the Finnish government.
The home of Nokia, Finland’s other strength is in information and communications technologies.
Stockholm has benefited from foreign skills in mobile and game development, among other areas.
The Swedish capital only has a population of 800,000 but continues to punch above its weight as the land of unicorns.
Figures in 2014 found it was home to more than 22,000 tech companies, with 18 per cent of its workforce employed in technology-related jobs.
Trailblazers include Niklas Zennström, the man behind Skype, and Daniel Ek of Spotify.
France’s start-up eco-system is being driven by a new generation of entrepreneurs, investors, engineers and designers under the ‘French Tech’ banner, an initiative launched by the government in 2013.
Paris’ assertive innovation policy has seen the emergence of more than 40 business incubators in the French capital.
France has three IPOs listed on Nasdaq in the last two years: DBV Technology, valued at more than €1.5bn, Critéo at over €2.3bn and Cellectis at more than €1bn.
‘e-Estonia’ is a connected nation where people can file tax returns in just five minutes. The government says bureaucracy is “a thing of the past”.
The national ID card provides a secure way of authentication in an overwhelmingly electronic environment.
Despite having a population of 1.3m – around a sixth the size of London – Estonia is said to have more start-up businesses per head than any other country in Europe.
Estonia is where Skype started life and its effect has inspired a generation of e-entrepreneurs.
The Lithuanian capital is ranked as one of the five least expensive cities in the European Union.
With the fastest growth in labour productivity and salary rates four times lower than the EU average, Lithuania sells itself as being first in the EU and eighth in the world when it comes to the ‘ease of starting a business’.
Setting up a company takes just three days there.
It also has the fourth lowest tax rate in the EU and offers additional incentives and tax breaks.
The country ranks first in the EU for broadband speeds and is home to GetJar, the world’s second largest app store.