Report: The Netherlands is the leading startup ecosystem in the EU

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The Netherlands is the number one startup ecosystem in the EU, surpassing both Paris and Berlin.

That’s according to the 2024 Global Startup Ecosystem Report (GSER) by Startup Genome, which ranked the Netherlands at 14 globally.

According to the report, the country has reached a $96bn ecosystem value between H2 2021 and 2023 — well above the global average of $29.4bn.

During the same period, the Netherlands saw the birth of six unicorns, including Mambu and bunq. In 2024, the country has already added two: fintech startup Datasnipper and property management system Mews.

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Funding-wise, last year, Dutch VC-backed startups raised $2.2bn, with the number of deals rising to 414 from 393 in 2022. They created 151,000 jobs in the Netherlands and 256,000 globally. The Dutch tech ecosystem is especially strong in health and life sciences, agri-food, and the chip sector.

London leads in Europe

When it comes to all of Europe, London remains the leader with an ecosystem value of $621.5bn in 2023. The UK capital is now home to 103 unicorns and has witnessed a whopping 800% increase in VC investment over the past decade.

The GSER report also ranks London, in a tie with New York City, as the world’s second top hub, only behind Silicon Valley. The three regions have retained the top three spots since 2020.

Europe houses the majority of emerging ecosystems

Europe dominates GSER’s “Top 100 Emerging Ecosystems” category, accounting for a 42% share. North America and Asia follow with 27% and 17%, respectively.

Madrid and Barcelona claim the first two positions, with the Spanish capital jumping up 12 ranks thanks to large exits and unicorns. Meanwhile this year, Athens entered the category for the very first time, after local fintech unicorn Viva Wallet helped increase the city’s ecosystem value to $4.2bn.

Cause for cautious optimism

According to the report, the global market outlook is improving with increasing activity in both Series A funding and exits. The emergence of unicorns is also showing signs of recovery. The first quarter of 2024 saw the birth of 25 new unicorns — the most since Q4 2022.

Cleantech and GenAI appear to be the most promising sectors for future growth. Late-stage cleantech startups raised 2.5x more funding in H2 2023 than in H1 2020, while GenAI investments surged to accrue nearly 20% of all VC funding for startups last year.

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