London? Paris? Berlin? Which is Europe's Best City for Startups?
WoTo takes a look at the rise of startup hubs all across Europe and how women are getting in the game.
Is the Silicon Valley losing some of its appeal? That’s what we’re hearing through the grapevine. So where are today’s entrepreneurs flocking to? What makes these places so innovative? And are women making the most of these new hubs?
A EUROPEAN EDGE?
Some say that European startup culture has lessons for entrepreneurs in the United States. One Forbes article argues that the conditions and culture surrounding most European startups lead to a deeper sort of analysis at the beginning of a startup, one that leads to more disruption. In Europe, you don’t have one large uniform market like you do in the US. The Euro zone has 24 countries with even more business districts. This fragmented market changes the way you address a startup.
Kristof De Spiegeleer, CEO of Incubaid, a Belgian incubator, says: “Because markets are diverse, to have any chance of success, our companies must start with a technology that has significant potential to solve many problems in many markets. If we don’t have a disruptive idea, we can never make it work in so many different markets.”
LONDON, BERLIN, PARIS…
London comes out as a strong contender for best place for startups.
The UK capital hopes to lure talent with its East London "Silicon Roundabout", an area which boasts a new Google-sponsored space for start-ups as well as 300 innovative companies.
The city has also taken measures to boost the city's start-up scene,
million in funding for high-tech small and medium businesses from the government’s new Innovation
and Research Strategy for Growth.
London hosted the Digital London summit showcasing local tech talent on March 13-14 2012.
Berlin’s Silicon Allee is also home to some über cool new
technology start-up companies. Some even say it’s on the way to become a start-up mecca ! Matt Cohler, co-founder of professional
networking site LinkedIn and a former Facebook executive said that the city is
one of the best in Europe when it comes to the environment necessary to nurture
a thriving start-up scene.
"People from all over Europe, from the east and the west, converge on the city, and many of them have strong technical backgrounds," he said. "Plus, the city has a nice atmosphere and it's cheap."
What about Paris? Last year, Wired Magazine dubbed it one of Europe’s hottest startup capitals and explained that with venture capital now more accessible, the Parisian digital ecosystem is thriving.
According to blogger and tech writer Pamela Poole, “There's a thriving geek culture in Paris,
and no lack of software development expertise, thanks to superior universities
that produce superior engineers. The startup scene is relatively young,
however, which is partly due to some pretty fundamental cultural barriers. But
these barriers are showing some wear and tear.”
And women are playing a big role in the vitality of the parisian startup scene!
GIRLS ARE ROCKING IT IN PARIS
Now, too few women work in the technology sector and even fewer are involved with start-ups in general. That’s a fact whether you’re in the Silicon Valley or Europe. But there are interesting things happening on both sides of the Atlantic, and European female entrepreneurs are sending a positive message to young women.
Numerous groups are popping up to support and encourage women in
entrepreneurship, innovation and technology – including Girlz in Web, a local community for women in the
web space, that hosts a number of girl-only
networking events. And also, Paris Girl Geek Dinners
– which is the French branch of a London-based organization – has held
numerous successful events, where women gather around a meal and
Silicon Valley-based Girls in Tech also has a vibrant chapter in Paris. The organization strives to promote the advancement of women in entrepreneurship, innovation and technology through various networking events and functions.
They recently hosted “European Lady Pitch Night”, the first-ever pitch competition for European female-founded startups. 5 female-led startups were invited to pitch before an international jury, including some of Europe's leading figures in the startup ecosystem. Check out the night’s recap in this video (with english subtitles) and get inspired!
Also, don't miss the chance to vote for the first-ever list of the top 100 women in tech in Europe*. To celebrate its launch event, Girls in Tech London is compiling the list and you can nominate someone you feel is making a dramatic impact, from CEOs to creative directors, politicians to journalists, lawyers to developers, designers, investors, innovators and entrepreneurs. All nominees must be female and living/working in Europe in the tech industry.
* Voting has now closed. The results were announced on 1 June 2012 at the Google Campus in London and the list included The NextWomen's very own CEO Simone Brummelhuis.
This article was written by Virginie Long of Women Tomorrow, a career focused web magazine dedicated to young active women. WoTo brings you tips and tools to make the most of your career, but also stories and interviews to inspire your professional journey. Founded in 2011 in San Francisco, London and Paris.
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