Silicon Valley is internationally renowned as the biggest startup hub in the world. The sheer number of internet and technology-driven companies to have emerged from the region has made Silicon Valley famous, and the area's countless venture capitalist firms continue to attract talented young entrepreneurs seeking investment.
Its name has become synonymous with cities boasting a vibrant, fast-moving and prosperous technology sector, and the startup business model it pioneered has been replicated around the world. Venture capitalists are therefore looking for new cities with fresh talent and innovation, in search of a new generation of startup enterprises. Silicon Valley now faces competition; in this article we will put San Francisco to one side, and explore the top five cities for tech startups in 2013.
5. New York City, USA
The startup scene in New York City has exploded in the last year. Google, Facebook and Twitter have all opened major offices in the city, and the region is home to dozens of thriving startups such as Gilt, Etsy, and Warby Parker. This is largely down to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has made a concerted effort to make NYC an appealing home for aspiring entrepreneurs. Many pundits expect the city to overtake Silicon Valley within the next few years.
4. London, UK
The recent proliferation of web-based startups in the Old Street area of East London inspired its nickname: "Silicon Roundabout". The region's aging architecture might be in need of a facelift, but its technology sector is booming. English Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged to rejuvenate Old Street by injecting fifty million pounds into the area, as a means of supporting its blossoming technology industry. Silicon Roundabout will feature the largest civic space in the whole of Europe, which will function as a resource to nurture young people’s skills and - in the long run - create thousands of new jobs. Cameron also stated that once the civic space is ready, the region could theoretically support over two hundred tech startups a year. Watch this space!
3. Tel Aviv, Israel
Like London, Tel Aviv also has a Silicon Valley inspired nickname: "Silicon Wadi". Israel's technology exports recently hit $30 billion, and Tel Aviv is seen by many experts as the Middle East's equivalent of San Francisco. The entrepreneurial spirit is boosted by a dedicated commitment to R&D, and by the highly educated population of 7.5 million. Check out Wired for a run-down of some of the most successful startups to have emerged from this prospering city.
2. Washington D.C., USA
Cities that foster passionate people tend to be fertile ground for the startup business model. Whatever their interests, passionate people possess the drive and creativity needed to fuel tech innovation. In D.C., the passion is politics. The city is routinely flooded with well-educated children from affluent areas, many of whom come in search of careers outside of the typical Congressional variety. Skeptics should check out Proudly Made in D.C., a site dedicated to the city's thriving community of startups (which include the likes of Opower, Taxi Magic, and Living Social).
1. Hong Kong, China
Those interested in staying one step ahead of the game should keep their eyes on Hong Kong. In recent years the city has witnessed the emergence of a thriving startup culture, and one that experts predict could soon become a booming new technology hub. Forbes recently speculated that Hong Kong could become the Silicon Valley of the East, given its recent explosion of innovation in industries ranging from mobile gaming, energy, healthcare and education. One of Hong Kong's strengths is that it brings together expatriates of different cultures, leading to a hot pot of innovative thinking. Combined with the region's startup-friendly legal system, Hong Kong is building the foundations of a truly international technology startup scene.
This article was written by Tom, a technology enthusiast and traveller who blogs for HotelClub.com. If you're looking to visit the next Silicon Valley, be sure to check out HotelClub's Hong Kong hub.