International startups

The 2018 Startup Heatmap focuses on movement across borders. European founders, it states, have bred “a completely new form of entrepreneurship: the interconnected or distributed startup company.” European entrepreneurs move and connect across borders, so they can activate the capital, talent, market opportunities and regulatory frameworks they need.

Mobile entrepreneurs

In numbers, this means that 60% of startups have employees, investors or entities abroad, 28% of founders in Europe were born in another country from the one they operate their company in, and almost a third of those moved specifically to start up their business. Talent, too, is exceptionally mobile: according to the survey, European tech talent moves 10 times more than the average EU citizen.

Popular startup hubs

In all this moving around, Amsterdam keeps its spot in the top ten of founders’ favourite startup hubs, ranking at sixth place. And the Startup Heatmap’s chapter about the “evolution of the top 20 most recognised startup hubs in Europe” specifies how the so-called “challenger hubs,” which includes Amsterdam, are drifting apart, with Amsterdam and Lisbon staying ahead while others are struggling.

Talent versus capital

One of the most interesting insights from the Heatmap is that there is a strong geographical discrepancy between talent and capital. This means that founders and talent don’t necessarily move where capital concentrates. And neither does capital follow talent: it “takes time to adjust to identify new centres of entrepreneurial activity”. This, according to the Heatmap, results in “massive misalignments” of talent and capital. For example, Germany’s talent inflow is 61% higher than the capital available, whereas France‘s talent inflow is 66% lower than the percentage of its EU deals. On this graph, the Netherlands is on the same side as Germany, though the divergence is not as high.

Interconnected Europe

As a conclusion, Europe’s startup ecosystem is a constantly evolving network of hubs, with interconnected startups – those that make full use of this cross-border activity – on the rise. 

Amsterdam in startup rankings

Check our overview of international reports and surveys ranking Amsterdam’s startup ecosystem and its performance in the fields of tech and innovation.