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Pack Your Bags: 10 Great Startup Cities That Aren’t San Francisco

By Aaron Agius
Business.com / Entrepreneurship / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Not just Silicon Valley! Here's our list of 10 cities around the world that are helping drive startup growth that are not San Francisco.

When most people think of startup cities, Silicon Valley and San Francisco come to mind.

And sure, they’re home to many great engineers, tools and advisors that can help your startup along the way, but San Francisco is far from the only hub where entrepreneurs can go to succeed.

Here are 10 other cities around the world that are helping drive startup growth:

Related Article:What Is the Best City to Launch a Startup?

Tel Aviv, Israel

Tel Aviv has quickly become a great resource for tech startups in particular, mainly thanks to great minds from Tel Aviv University. In fact, it boasts the highest density of tech startups of any city in the world, giving birth to a wide variety of successful companies:

Companies launched in Tel Aviv Israel
With a mature startup ecosystem, the city has on hand all the important team members and tools startups need to succeed, including angel investors, mentors, venture capital firms and employees.

New York City, USA

Many international startups are choosing NYC as a gateway to access the US market, thanks to the city’s array of tools and resources that help drive startup success.

Built In NYC, for example, is one such community that helps people find jobs with startups, plans startup events, and offers other resources. Having Wall Street close by also has its advantages - making it easy to find venture capital firms and angel investors.

Even better, for entrepreneurs who work from their laptops, is that NYC is full of friendly co-working spaces to set up shop and meet like-minded individuals.

Beijing, China

China might not be known for encouraging innovation, but steps are being made to change that, turning Beijing into a desirable hub for local startups.

The government is offering new support for enterprises by setting up a VC fund for startups, focusing on the seed stages. The Ministry of Science and Technology also provides consulting and financial services for high-tech firms.

Seattle, Washington

Seattle is one of the most educated cities in the United States, with about 55 percent of people having at least a college degree. And if you can’t find the talent you need in Seattle, look no further than the suburbs (Bellevue and Everett), where startups are also planting roots and and finding success:

Washington State cities population and education graph

As a hub for innovation, Seattle has served as a launching pad for hundreds of successful startups, such as Zulily and Cheezburger. It also saw 110.40 percent deal growth in 2015, and 26.37 percent average growth since 2012.

Related Article: 7 Startups That Will Become Unicorns In The Next Year

Warsaw, Poland

Warsaw has a much stronger entrepreneurial history than many of its neighbors, making it an attractive locale for top companies such as Google. It’s also great for entrepreneurs on a budget, the capital city of Poland is cheaper to live in than most European capitals.

Warsaw also sponsors Bitspiration, the biggest conference for startups in Poland, along with many other events, meetings and organizations encouraging their growth. The country boasts several startup success stories already, such as LiveChat (IPO) and Allegro.

Montreal, Canada

Montreal is home to four top engineering schools that are annually churning out computer science graduates with innovation in mind. It’s also a cultural melting pot, filled with affordable talent and cheap rent for startups on a budget.

The city’s potential has also attracted the attention of venture capitalists, firms invested Canadian $295 million last year. If you’re looking to find an up-and-comping startup city to grow your startup, Montreal is full of resources and opportunities.

Boulder, Colorado

Boulder, Colorado has beginnings in 1952 as the U.S. government's hub for nuclear innovation. This important role has only accelerated its growth in innovation since. The city also has all the on-demand talent a startup needs, with 69 percent of the labor force having at least a BA:

Population and education graph in Bolder, Colorado
Boulder’s startup density is six times the national average, higher than any city in the US. In terms of per-capital venture capital, it’s outranked only by San Jose and San Francisco.

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam is making major strides to attract international talent and grow their local startups. One method is Startup Amsterdam, an initiative to keep start-ups and investors informed and help connect them.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs has launched a similar initiative on a larger scale to nurture a strong startup ecosystem in Europe.

The city has also attracted Startupbootcamp, a global network aimed at accelerating startups, and plans to host a variety of high profile startup events, such as Disrupt TechCrunch and Wearable Wednesday.  

Paris, France

Paris is known as the home for a wide variety of startups, including artificial intelligence companies and businesses concerned with the sharing economy. The face of the historic city is quickly changing, mostly thanks young people’s disinterest in corporate life.

Unemployment is high among college graduates, leading many to start their own businesses instead. One in four graduates from HEC, a prestigious business school, are starting their own companies. Sigfox, BlaBlaCar and TheFamily are just a few startups gaining success in Paris, demonstrating its viability as a city for success.

Related Article:Get Packing: The 10 Best U.S. Cities to Get a Job In

Sydney, Australia

As a Sydneysider, I’m not exactly impartial, but if you live in Australia, Sydney is the place to be if you have a startup. Two-third’s of the country’s startups work in Sydney, and the city has produced many successful companies such as Campaign Monitor, Freelancer.com, and Atlassian.

In today’s global market, there are a lot of great places around the world where your business can grow and succeed. Louder Online has several offices around the world which makes it easy to us work diverse customers as well.

Know of any other great up and coming startup cities that deserve a spot on this list? Leave your suggestions as a comment below:
Images: Techstars

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