Spotlight on the world’s best startup hubs

Along with Silicon Valley, there are a number of start-up scenes around the world that are proving to be essential hubs for budding entrepreneurs.


The rise of digital communication hasn’t diminished the value of real-world interaction. While it’s now possible to create and manage a multi-million dollar start-up from the comfort of your bedroom, many businesses are better off aligning themselves with like-minded individuals and companies.

With its roots in the Silicon Valley technology sector, the concept of start-up hubs has been a defining factor in the formation of the some of the world’s most disruptive companies.

Almost any population centre with an avid tech community can become a start-up hub, especially with the rise of incubators designed to assist with the development of these fledgling businesses. However, despite the inclusive nature of these communities, there are a number of cities around the world that have become globally recognised as world-leading start-up hubs.

The following is a spotlight on the some of the most active start-up hubs around the world, representing the tech centres that have continually produced companies with an innovative approach to their field of choice.

Silicon Valley – San Francisco

While other regions around the world have grown to rival Silicon Valley, its status as one of the first and most-influential start-up hubs mean it would be a criminal omission from the list.

Historical achievements aside, the San Francisco Bay Area is still a leading location on the technology landscape. It’s home to a healthy mix of established industry giants, such as Samsung, Google and Facebook, and growing companies that have been inspired by these organisations.

The region’s appeal hasn’t dulled over time either, with reports from PitchBook detailing the extent of the investment venture capital firms still dedicated to Silicon Valley start-ups. According to the organisation, Silicon Valley accounts for almost half (43 per cent) of all venture capital spending across the United States, proving it’s still an integral incubator of start-up culture.

Bangalore – India

For every established start-up hub, there are many more growing at a rapid rate in an attempt to mimic the success observed in the past.

Representatives from Virgin Entrepreneur investigated the best start-up hubs the world has to offer, finding that all continents are represented in the list of the most vibrant communities.

It’s natural that one of the most populous nations on the planet would have a stake in the growing tech industry, leading Virgin Entrepreneur to single out the Indian city of Bangalore as the region putting this country on the start-up map.

One of the key features of Bangalore’s start-up scene is the sheer amount of people present in the region, with almost 10 million calling the city home. According to Virgin Entrepreneur, Bangalore also boasts an effective support network for the businesses that open there.

The organisation also focused on the the city’s long-practised love of technology, reporting that it was home to the country’s first Institute of Science which opened in 1909.

Beijing – China

Again, the high density of China’s population centres encourages a vibrant tech start-up scene, with the city of Beijing leading the way for firms in the region. Venture Capital provider Spark Labs ranked the region seventh in its list of top 10 international start-up hubs.

However, Beijing ranked higher in some regards according to the organisation, particularly when it comes to the number of ‘unicorn’ companies that emerge from the city. Unicorn companies are those that, by Spark Labs’ criteria, are private companies that either possess a market valuation of more than US$1 billion or were acquired for the same amount.

Spark Labs found there were more than nine of these companies discovered in Beijing over the past year, putting the city ahead of Stockholm, Berlin and Tel Aviv, three cities which ranked higher overall.

There’s also a significant amount of investment present in the nation’s start-up economy as a whole. According to information research compiled by Zero2IPO Group and published on June 17 by China Daily, investors contributed around US$260 million to China’s numerous start-ups.

What makes a good start-up hub?

There are a range of variables that contribute to the effectiveness of a start-up hub. The above examples illustrate a mix of these, including a historical trend towards similar success and vibrant, bustling population centres.

According to Researcher George Foster from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, there are further conditions that can increase the effectiveness of start-up hubs. While the influence of larger organisations such as venture capital firms is one important feature, Mr Foster believes there are other bodies which are just as integral to this success.

Mr Foster states that governments have an increasing responsibility to understand what makes a start-up tick, especially in the early stages of its life. This allows the relevant regulatory bodies to craft policies and make economic decisions that have a positive influence on the way start-ups function in a particular region.

These lessons give budding entrepreneurs plenty to think about. Those looking for global success can get a feel for how other start-up scenes operate, while business owners set on making Australia a better place for start-ups can apply this information to the regions they call home.

The technology sector is driven by many fantastic, yet unheralded individuals and startup organisations who are inventive, inspirational, and passionate about making a difference. At Talent we’re passionate about recognising and supporting those exceptional people and organisations who are making the world a better place through our Talent Unleashed Awards. And while that doesn’t fit within the traditional narrative of a recruitment agency, that doesn’t bother us. Find out more about the Talent Unleashed Awards