Chasing after Europe’s Heart: Tech Start-ups in Love with Prague

We returned from the Startup World Cup & Summit in mid-October and were thrilled to attend an event which hosted keynote speakers (such as Rovio founder Peter Vesterbacka, photographer Benjamin Von Wong or the designers of Tesla Motors) along with more than 1,000 attendees from over 20 countries. We started wondering… what does Prague have to offer?

Guest post from Deborah Busari, the European Startup Initiative

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Besides its beautiful architecture, historic gardens and parks, rich culture, and, of course, great selection of beers, the capital of the Czech Republic is home to many start-up founders, especially in the cybersecurity space (AVG, and AVAST) and in gaming (Bohemia Interactive, Amanita Design, and Warhorse Studios). And this is being recognized by founders outside the country.

At the Startup Heatmap Europe, we map the perceived quality of start-up hubs in Europe since 2012. Our latest surveys (2016, 2017) observe Prague securing a place in the top 20 favorite hotspots for start-up founders in Europe. Prague is an established Regional Champion for Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). 23% of founders could imagine transferring their business to the Bohemian capital, which places the city ahead of Barcelona, Dublin, Vienna or Budapest who all convince only 17% of CEE founders. For more insights on the latest report, download Startup Heatmap Europe 2017 Executive Summary.

Why Prague?

According to Startup Heatmap Europe 2017, when faced with the choice of starting their own business all over again 77% of founders across Europe believe that access to talent is a top factor for location choice and 62% strongly consider the ease and cost of doing business within potential location before making the jump. And Prague ticks both! Just second after Munich on access to talent, and third after Tallinn and Helsinki on ease and cost of doing business, Prague receives the highest ranking in these categories by its fans.

Therefore, Prague and the Czech Republic, which boasts a 22% share of foreign-born founders according to the Startup Heatmap Europe survey stands tall as a promising hub in the midst of the great competition for Europe’s best, offering not only to accommodate potential but also to ensure smooth business operations for its start-up guests.

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Why (maybe) not Prague?

According to 58% of the survey participants, access to capital is the third most important factor for location choice. Prague shares the lowest three positions in Europe for this indicator with Lisbon (Portugal), also a challenger hub and 8th most preferred start-up hub in Europe, and Barcelona (Spain), one of two established international hubs in Europe and among top 3 start-up hotspots for founders.  And this does not come as a surprise, as the Czech Republic ranks 23rd as a destination of early-phase investments measured by deals in Europe and even Czech investors invest 73% of their deals outside the country.

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What’s next?

The Czech Republic offers a vibrant scene dedicated to tech growth and development, amongst others. A good number of incubators and accelerators foster talent in the city, and ultimately positively impact the ecosystem of Europe. Due to a growing base of potential investors in the market and the high level of local talent, start-up initiatives are becoming a norm.

Accelerators such as StartupYard, Node 5, Startup Camp, TechSquare, UP21, and The Hub are just part of the strong force behind Prague as emerging tech hub, offering start-up ventures various forms of advice. If you want to explore further the opportunities for you to startup in the city of Prague, we advise you to read the Prague Startup City Guide by Startus.cc.

Deborah Busari volunteers as Communications Intern at Startup Heatmap Europe. She currently consults startups, small- and medium-sized businesses in Europe across a range of areas. 

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