That you didn’t expect

Ian Lucey
Ian Lucey
Jun 20, 2017 · 5 min read

In recent years, startup hubs have been a growing trend worldwide and the competition to be the leading spot for startups has never been so great. Governments love startups as they have many positive impacts on the economy, such as driving economic growth and increasing employment.

We included the big mac index to show the purchasing power parity between the countries discussed.

Here are the top 5:


Although politically Brazil has been very unstable in recent years, its startup scene is thriving more than ever. In 2013 , the Brazilian Startup Association estimated that there was 10,000 startups in tech alone. Brazil is going through one of its worst recessions in history, yet their their tech sector has the 10th highest growth rate in the world.
According to research by the B.S.A, over $1.3 billion is invested in startups per year and the country now has over 1000 businesses with a very high potential to become billion dollar companies.

Investment isn’t too hard to find either in the region. Startup Brazil (a federal government programme) invests $87,000 in each venture it approves along with other government institutions such as SEED & Startup Rio, tech funding available through research programme’s such as São Paulo based FAPESP. Also, there is a large number of VC’s in Brazil looking to invest in and benefit from Brazils fast growing startup scene.

Big Mac Index: $5.12

Brazilian Startups to watch:


New Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai are the leading cities in India for startups in terms of funding and investment deals. Total funding for Indian venture capital-backed companies was around $7.3 billion in 2015 alone. India is currently considered the third largest startup ecosystem in the world, only trailing the US and the UK.

In 2016, the Indian prime minister launched a $1.5 billion fund for startups and this initiative included new tax breaks for companies and their investors. He also promised cheaper and faster response to patents and 80% rebates on the cost of patents. Along with this, there will be a mobile app to allow companies to be established in just a day.

Big Mac Index: $1.62

Indian Startups to watch:
FluxGenCapital FloatUNBXD


This is likely to be the least expected country in this article. Romania is one of the poorest countries in the EU, yet it is showing potential to become the next big startup tech-hub. Bucharest, the capital, is leading the way in this as it is now home to many young and many upcoming entrepreneurs. Romania joined the EU in 2007 and now it is the second fastest growing economy in Europe with Ireland in first place.
The country is home to roughly 350 startups who mostly have learned to start up on very minimal budgets and to bootstrap their startups — they had no other option. One major strength of Romania for startups is their internet speeds; at peak, they have the fastest internet speeds in Europe and the 6th fastest in the world. This is a huge advantage for tech startups.

In 2016 alone, Romanian Startups raised around €11.3 million. In comparison to other countries these may seem unsubstantial — but in a country where funds are very hard to come by, this shows the rapid growth occurring within Romania’s startup scene.

Good news for Romania is that there is a growing number of VC’s, Seed Programmes and Angel Investors in their market, which can only continue to increase the growth of their startup hub. Some of the top global companies are now noticing this growth in Romania and are looking to get involved.

Big Mac Index: $2.5

Romanian Startups to watch:
Vector Watch FaceRigAxosuits


There is a relatively young, yet quickly maturing, startup scene in Germany and unlike many other countries — their startup hubs are spread around the country and not concentrated into one major city. Berlin, Munich and Hamburg are the biggest cities in the country for Startups. One of the biggest advantages of Germany for startups is that office spaces in these major cities is much more affordable in comparison to other European major cities. According to KFW, there are roughly 760,000 startups incorporated in Germany each year.

There is a huge number of investors and accelerators active in the German startup market for startups to go to for funding. EY has reported that about $11–12 billion is invested in German Startups each year. On top of this, the German government has committed to investing €2 billion into startups over the next decade (€200 million a year) through a government owned VC to aid startup growth.

Big Mac Index: $3.97

German Startups to watch:
Delivery heroWatchmasterSMACC


This is the smallest country in our top 5 with a population of only 5.5 million, yet it is becoming one of the top spots in the world for startups. In the last year it overtook Silicon Valley as the #1 place for Startup Talent thanks to their innovative policies and great startup ecosystem. The tech startups in Singapore enjoy significant government subsidies which hugely aids growth. Research claims that by 2020, Singapore will be home to 188,000 millionaires.

The government in Singapore has committed to investing $4 million into deep-tech startups.
There are over 400 VC’s active in their market. $1.1 billion was raised by Startups in Singapore in 2015 which is a huge step up compared to $0.08 billion in 2010. This shows the growth in the startup in Singapore huge in recent years. Another strength of Singapore is that mobile and broadband penetration rates are extremely high which makes it a superb potential market for tech startups.

Big Mac Index: $3.89

Singaporean Startups to watch:
Active AINugitSpark Systems

The more expected ones…

United States

The United States of America has one of, if not the largest, Startup ecosystems in the world. In the top 10 Cities based on startup ecosystem — 6 of the top 10 are American. Close to 500,000 new startups are established each year and this has been a consistent figure since then 1970’s thanks to the major startup hubs based in Silicon Valley, New York, LA, Boston and Chicago. Silicon Valley is well known as the Startup capital of the world. America encourages entrepreneurship in all aspects.

$58.6 billion was invested in American Startups in 2016 alone. The U.S. governments tech budget is eight times the size of Apples — they spent $82 billion in 2016 on Information Technology. The U.S. government offers endless supports, grants and tax incentives for Startups making it a great spot to start a business.

Big Mac Index: $5.06

American Startups to watch:

United Kingdom

In 2016, the U.K. saw a record number of 650,000 new startups, according to the CFE, which works out at roughly 80 new startups an hour. The capital, London, is Europe’s tech capital with the fourth highest startup output in the world. The U.K’s digital tech industry turned over an estimated $170 billion in 2015. The UK is currently considered the second largest startup ecosystem in the world. It has a very mature ecosystem which is subsequently home to many large corporations.

The U.K. is such a global market, which means there are endless opportunities for both large corporations and small startups. Roughly $5+ billion is invested in startups each year in the U.K . The government offers tax benefits for startups, startup loans and also run programmes such as SEIS, Innovate UK, etc. which offer different routes to source funding. London, in particular, has a high concentration of seed funds, angel investors and accelerators.

Big Mac Index: $3.73

UK Startups to watch:
Social ChainEve SleepTails

The Lucey Fund

Helping startups happen | A venture technology firm based in Dublin

Ian Lucey

Written by

Ian Lucey

Helping startups happen

The Lucey Fund

Helping startups happen | A venture technology firm based in Dublin

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