European startup ecosystem ranking per capita and per GDP

Till Quack
Dec 16, 2018 · 3 min read

Update Dec 17: added new section on number of startups per country.

Recently the State of European Tech Report 2018 has been published. It contains a tremendous amount of information comparing various European countries and startup-hubs. However, most of the analysis does not take into account a country’s size in terms of population or GDP. This post aims at filling some of these gaps. In short: the goal is to analyse, which European countries “punch above their weight” when it comes to offering a flourishing startup ecosystem.

How much investment do startups in various European countries attract, compared to the size of the country’s population and economy?

Cumulative capital invested since 2013, per capita. Showing top 25 European countries. See footer of this article for link to full list of European countries.

Cumulative capital invested per $ GDP. Timeframe 2013 until Sept 2018. Showing top 25 European countries. See footer of this article for link to full list of European countries.

Looking at investment per country size in terms of population and GDP pushes some smaller countries like Luxembourg, Iceland, or Malta higher in the ranking. Overall top ranked startup ecosystems like the UK or Sweden are also in the top performers, as they are in the original State of European Teach Report. In other words: no matter what way you look at it, they do well. Other noteworthy countries include Estonia, Finland, Denmark, and Switzerland. Other larger countries/economies besides the UK, Germany and France, are ranked stably in the middle of the top 25 performers.

When it comes to the number of investments (“deals”) over the last 5 years, Nordic countries as well as other smaller countries dominate the top ranks, from the larger European countries only the UK stay in the upper ranks, Germany and France move lower.

When taking into account the size of the economy Estonia is the clear winner.

While the above metrics show the investor activity per country, the number of unicorns can be seen as one measure of success.

Estonia is the winner here, both when taking into account size of population and economy. However, it should be noted that the data for Estonia here is based on a single unicorn (and similarly for a few other countries in the list).

The final question we try to answer is: which country has most startups per capita and per GDP unit? Note: the number of startups per country is not covered in State of European Tech Report 2018. However, similar to that report the data for this analysis was gathered from dealroom.co.

Number of startups per capita. Showing top 25 European countries. See footer of this article for link to full list of European countries.
Number of startups per $1000 GDP. Showing top 25 European countries. See footer of this article for link to full list of European countries.

It is evident from the charts that Estonia wins by quite a margin in both dimensions. Then mostly Nordic and smaller countries follow. The UK are the top ranked from the larger European countries.

Quack Ventures

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Till Quack

Written by

Product at mapillary. Formerly: founder of kooaba, Product at Qualcomm, Engineering at Apple. Also running Quack Ventures. Father of two.

Quack Ventures

Blog of Quack Ventures