London, Berlin and Paris Top-3 in’s 2016 ranking of European startup hubs

It’s fun sometimes to see what other digital news sites are doing. just released its annual list of startup centers in Europe and su-prize … London is No. 1.

Which to us is like announcing Mt. Everest remains the tallest peak. London wins by the sheer volume of capital … though not really in terms of world-changing consumer-facing digital innovations.

something-796x398What’s interesting is that at least the way keeps score, 2016 is the first time Berlin has passed Paris on the list to take the No. 2 ranking. Wait … what?

To be fair, data centers on the number of new companies springing up in each city during the previous year.

But we’ve been to Berlin, and it’s full of fairly successful digital startups and Unicorns, from Zappos knockoff Zalando to Spotify knockoff SoundCloud. (You get the idea … derivative, maybe, but profitable. And let’s not forget Number26, the new Berlin-based virtual bank.)

Paris … great town, but we can only really come up with one successful digital startup … Uber knockoff BlaBlaCar.

Anyway, here’s their list: (Yes, we cut and pasted it just so we could keep those little flag icons.)

1. London (UK)                 6. Madrid (Spain)                     11. Helsinki (Finland)

2. Berlin (Germany)                   7. Stockholm (Sweden)               12. Munich (Germany)

3. Paris (France)                     8. Dublin (Ireland)                       13. Lisbon (Portugal)

4. Amsterdam (Natherland)       9. Copenhagen (Denmark)           14. Warsaw (Austria)

5. Barcelona (Spain)          10. Milan (Italy)                        15. Zurich (Switzerland)

(The 2015 ranking had London, Paris and Berlin as the Top 3, in that order. Otherwise, the list was pretty much the same, though Helsinki jumped two spots from 2015 to No. 11.)

In the real world, we would rank Amsterdam, with Adyen and other fintech startups, much higher. And Stockholm.

London has some great emerging digital startups including money-transfer firm Azimo, and e-commerce company Farfetch (see our post here)

London also has ended up with a lot of potential unicorns that started elsewhere, then moved there in pursuit of talent and capital. They include TransferWise from Estonia (see our post here) and Blockchain from Luxembourg. Which proves the startup world isn’t so different from professional sports: If you have the money, you can buy the talent.

Here’s the methodology, which doesn’t factor in funding, revenue or other empirical data. (Which they acknowledge.)

In order to come up with the new ranking, we collected the following info and stuffed it into an Excel sheet: a) The top 50 European cities – in relation to this year’s visits on – and the associated number of unique visitors; b) The number of startups that are registered for each of these European cities on CrunchBase (since the beginning of 2015); c) The number of startups registered on AngelList for each city. After that, we gave each of these numbers specific weights to get the right ratio.

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