Top 7 Rising Startup Cities In the World

Learn more about the top 7 rising startup cities from around the world

“Great cities are not static, they constantly change and take the world along with them.” Edward Glaeser

The next generation of startup cities is anything but static. In fact, the cities we’ve selected are the perfect example of places that are transforming our global economy and the world. Many places are vying to become the next startup hub, but who is doing it right? In order to attract startups, a city must have a special mix of ingredients (See Diagram). We highlighted 7 cities from around the globe that have created admirable startup ecosystems.

Wroclaw, Poland

There is no doubt that the startup ecosystem has been thriving in Poland. It’s one of the players in Europe’s new growth engine. But Warsaw is not the only city getting attention in Poland; Wroclaw is the next rising star. It’s the fastest-growing city in Poland with 200+Startups and 500+ new technology and innovation events. It has many of the must-haves for attracting investments:  Accessibility, infrastructure, research centers, support, affordability, and educated talent.

Startup Cities Wroclaw
  • 26 universities & 125,000 students
  • 250,000 IT Professionals
  • 3 startups from Wroclaw were in “Deloitte Technology Fast 50 Central Europe” describing fastest growing technology (Tooploox, Droids On Roids, and Monterail)

Companies to watch in Wroclaw:


Helsinki, Finland

What does a startup city look like that has it all? Greater Helsinki is hard to beat. It’s a vibrant city with a booming “third wave” of start-ups, most notably in artificial intelligence, health and life sciences, big data, and gaming. The capital of Finland and the most populous has garnered a reputation for being a city that has the right infrastructure required for tech innovation. Low cost of living, along with highly qualified technical talent makes it an attractive place for investment. It’s also home to Slush, one of the biggest startup tech events in the world. 

Startup Cities Helsinki
  • Awarded top 10 ecosystem for global connectedness
  • Ecosystem valued at $3.4 bn, the global average is $5 bn
  • 250 gaming enterprises and 30 of them exceed $1 million in annual sales

Companies to watch in Helsinki:


Portland, USA

Portland, Oregon has become the darling for those desperately seeking exodus from Silicon Valley. Branded as the “Silicon Forest”, it’s renowned for artisanal beer (139 microbreweries!), emerging food trends, coffee, and tech. Despite its relaxed hippie reputation, the tech scene is anything but relaxed. Businesses keep coming to Portland for its flourishing talent pool. The region’s workforce of more than one million is growing at six times the national average.

Startup City Portland
  • $98,146 average salary for a software engineer
  • 900+ Startups
  • Major Industries: Technology, Manufacturing, Recreation (1,200 technology companies) 

Companies to watch in Portland:


Montreal, Canada

Want the best of Europe and North America in one place? That’s Montreal. This charming French-speaking city is fully bilingual with 60% of the population speaking both English and French. Its convenient location to the USA, affordability and chic European vibe have made it an attractive place for businesses and talent. It’s currently experiencing a brain gain with tech talent arriving in record numbers. And it is also ranked 2nd among the 20 largest cities in North America in terms of its tax burden on companies. 

Startup City Montreal
  • 861 Million US in venture capital financing 
  • 1,300+ startups, 42 different incubator & accelerator programs
  • Global hub for AI. Since 2016, more than $1 billion has been invested in AI companies and it has the most AI academic researchers in the world
  • Let’s not forget it’s home to Gazelle.ai, the world’s first and only AI-Powered Business Intelligence Platform 🙂

Companies to watch in Montreal:


Minsk, Belarus

Right in between Poland and Russia, Minsk is the capital of the Republic of Belarus and is overflowing with highly educated tech talent. The driving force behind Minsk’s quick and steady ranking as a top tech city lies with the country’s focus on STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). Minsk is an attractive place to be for its lower living costs combined with exceptional brainpower. The presence of Google and Facebook and their acquisitions (AIMatter, Masquerade) have kept Minsk on the map and helped fuel its presence as a place to make startup dreams happen.

Startup City Minsk
  • 1.974,8 million inhabitants
  • 52 universities, 16,000 IT graduates annually
  • Since 2015, the establishment of the Hi-Tech Park reached $1,4B in 2018

Companies to watch in Minsk:


Charlotte, USA

Charlotte has a lot going for it. It has attracted millennials from all over the states for many good reasons. What do millennials value most? Quality of life. Nice weather, proximity to beaches and mountains, and a lucrative job market have made this city a popular place to enjoy life and build a promising career in tech. It’s also a rich city. Big banks and accelerator programs have made Charlotte one of the largest and fastest-growing cities in the USA. As the second-largest financial hub in the country, companies have found much success here. It’s got 6 of Fortune 500 headquarters and 14 of Fortune 1000 headquarters.

Startup City Charlotte
  • Lowest corporate income tax rate of any state (2.5% in 2019)
  • 200,000 new jobs added since 2001
  • 58K tech talent workers

Companies to watch in Charlotte:


Seoul, South Korea

In the past, Seoul was all about the giants. Simply put, failure was not an option. But much has changed over the years and Seoul has invested heavily in becoming a major player in the global startup scene. Seoul is renowned for giving the highest government backing per capita for startups in the world. Its claim to fame as the most wired country in the world has helped position it as a playground for all the latest tech trends. The fast rollout of 5G has given them a strong competitive edge and has helped them attract even more investors, accelerators and incubators around the world.

Startup City Seoul
  • $5 billion ecosystem value
  • 467 accelerators
  • 1st to launch 5G wireless networks attracting tech in mobility, virtual reality, augmented reality, artificial intelligence, and blockchain. 

Companies to watch in Seoul:


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