Amsterdam among world’s top 20 startup ecosystems

Amsterdam among world’s top 20 startup ecosystems

For the first time ever, Amsterdam has featured in the top 20 of the Global Startup Ecosystem Ranking, a report from data benchmarking firm Compass.

Thanks in part to the success of StartupDelta, a regional network of entrepreneurs, cutting-edge talent and funding opportunities, the Dutch capital earned the 19th spot on the index, and is moving closer toward becoming a top destination for business founders.

Startup hubs in the Information Age

Compass’ index is based on data from 11.000 surveys and 200 interviews involving regional experts, entrepreneurs, investors and other stakeholders.

It considers how successfully startups from a particular area are performing, their market reach and the funding, talent and experience fuelling their growth.

Steve Blank, a Silicon Valley success story, prefaces this year’s report by calling attention to why startups are important objects of study. The role they play, he claims, is to overturn traditional corporate strategy and industries by pushing "disruptive innovation".

The rise of widespread, instant communication, new technologies, and the new expectations these changes bring means organisations must search for novel ways of doing business. Startups represent the front lines of creative adaptation, experimenting with new methods and structures.

American startups in the lead

According to this year’s index, the world’s top four leading startup ecosystems are all located in the United States.

However, the researchers emphasise that startup culture is now moving beyond known hubs like Silicon Valley and Boston to become a "global phenomenon".

Aside from Amsterdam, four European cities make the top 20: London (sixth), Berlin (ninth), Paris (11th), and Moscow (13th).

Amsterdam a "strong newcomer"

Amsterdam’s startup community cracked the top 20 this year due to its superb infrastructure and high growth ambition. Today, it is the fifth most significant startup hub in Europe, but it is also the third fastest-growing after Berlin and London.

The work of government-led initiative StartupDelta in concentrating the country's entrepreneurship resources into a strong, connected community also earned big points for the city.

Startup Delta also successfully peitioned the Dutch government to introduce the startup visa, a residence permit for entrepreneurs who want to launch a business in the Netherlands.

Amsterdam's performance

Among individual categories, Amsterdam scored highest (10th in the world) in Market Reach. The researchers attribute this to the small size of the Dutch domestic market, which encourages those starting a business in the Netherlands to work in multiple languages and seek customers abroad. The United States and Germany are both favoured markets.

When it comes to the Funding category, however, Amsterdam ranked last among the top 20. The report encourages investors to look to Amsterdam as a region full of untapped opportunities.

In the Experience category, Amsterdam loses points for the tendency of many established startup leaders to leave the country in the later stages of their business. This means it can be difficult for new entrepreneurs to find mentorship.

The top 10 global startup ecosystems

Ecosystem Rank
Silicon Valley 1
New York City 2
Los Angeles 3
Boston 4
Tel Aviv 5
London 6
Chicago 7
Seattle 8
Berlin 9
Singapore 10



Emily McCallum


Emily McCallum

Emily grew up in a small coastal town in western Canada and moved to Utrecht in 2014, after completing her studies in Vancouver and Germany. So far, she has been...

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