It seems like more tech companies pop up everyday, and the economic and conceptual diversity of the field is growing to the point that no single enclave could possibly contain all the innovation taking place. Check out these contenders for the next big dot on the tech startup map.
The Swedish capital is home to a characteristically humble populace -- a Scandinavian cultural idea known as the Law of Jante encourages a downplaying of individual success in favor of collective effort -- but the pure facts of Stockholm as a tech hub are far from modest.
Global tech leaders Skype and Spotify were launched there, and five local universities have pooled their energies behind a Stockholm School of Entrepreneurship. Funding is flowing into the city, too; Entrepreneur magazine reports that foreign investment and acquisitions in Stockholm amounted to more than half a billion ($US equivalent) between 2010 and 2013.
A perfect storm of startup hub conditions might be brewing in Bangalore, which is already known to some as the "Silicon Valley of India." For one thing, it's packed to the borders with engineers, programmers, technicians and scientists -- the Center for Policy research in New Delhi reports that Bangalore attracted nearly half of all highly educated inter-city migrants in India during the '00s.
Investment capital is the only scarce resource in this tech-charged city, and that may not be missing for long. Startup Festival India took place there in March 2013, and international business accelerator Kyron plans to incubate 300 new startups from its Bangalore office by 2020.
Tech companies began clustering around London's Old Street in the first few years of the 21st century, when now-global brands like Last.fm were getting their start. A few strong successes brought more companies in, and these days East London is known as "Tech City." In 2010, David Cameron announced a multi-point plan combining world-leading tax breaks on seed capital with an improved visa process for entrepreneurs, designed to spur innovation and draw even more tech talent to the British capital.
This one probably won't surprise anyone with their finger on the pulse of the global tech scene, but Israel's second-largest city bears a mention here regardless. Not only is it said to have the highest density of tech startups in the world, but the Wall Street Journal reports that the Israeli startup industry may be poised to launch 15 to 20 IPOs in 2014. One Tel Aviv company, Wix.com, went public in November 2013 and passed the billion dollar mark in valuation before the end of the year.
Even though the Upper Great Lakes hustle of Toronto tends to get the lion's share of attention when it comes to Canadian startups, its laid-back Left Coast cousin has an impressive roster of incubators, accelerators, academies and launch labs in its own right. A strong infrastructure plus the chronic under-appreciation of its tech culture helps ensure a relatively open playing field, so small, driven organizations might have an easier time finding investors ready to listen when they pitch.
Russia's Skolkovo Foundation oversees what's probably the world's biggest research and development project, an enormous business park a few dozen kilometers from the Red Square in Russia's capital city. Some of the world's biggest companies operate R&D centers there -- Samsung, Cisco and Intel, to name a few -- and more than a thousand Russian startups share the real estate. With Russia's 13 percent flat tax rate serving as a sweetener to that maelstrom of mental activity, investment and startup growth can't be far behind.
Only a few hundred miles from Silicon Valley as the crow flies, the hub of entertainment, vice and leisure in the American West is undergoing yet another rebirth. Zappos founder Tony Hsieh has taken on downtown Las Vegas as a pet project. He plans to dump at least $350 million into the city's tech infrastructure before the end of the decade, and Zappos itself moved its headquarters to the old Las Vegas City Hall building in October 2013.
These are just a few of the metropolitan areas making noise in the tech sector. Other emerging hotspots include Seattle, Singapore, and Berlin, as well as Santiago, Chile and Melbourne, Australia. And the blinding speed of business in the tech sector means that just about any one of these locales might rise to global prominence in a blink. Aspiring startup founders and international business majors would be wise to keep an eye on all of these budding silicon cities.
"Emerging Tech: 9 International Startup Hubs to Watch," John Patrick Pullen, Entrepreneur, May 6, 2013, http://www.entrepreneur.com/slideshow/226477#0
"The World's 20 Hottest Startup Scenes," Kathleen Davis, Entrepreneur, August 14, 2013, http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/227832
"Signs of Cracks in the Law of Jante," Mark Scott, The New York Times, December 18, 2013, http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/12/18/signs-of-cracks-in-the-law-of-jante/?_r=0
"Bangalore gets lion's share of educated migrants," Chittaranjan Tembhekar, The Times of India, Feburary 5, 2013, http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-02-05/bangalore/36763221_1_migrants-intrastate-migration-interstate-migration
"Kyron Accelerator looking to incubate 300 startups in India by 2020, expanding into five more countries," Sainul K Abudheen, Techcircle.in, November 5, 2013, http://techcircle.vccircle.com/2013/11/05/kyron-accelerator-looking-to-incubate-around-20-startups-in-india-a-year-expanding-into-five-more-countries/
"Candy and Monsters," William Lee Adams, Slate, December 4, 2013, http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/the_next_silicon_valley/2013/12/the_next_silicon_valley_can_london_become_more_than_a_bit_player.2.html
"Tel Aviv No. 2 city for tech startups," Itamar Ecihner, Ynet News, August 11, 2013, http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4415932,00.html
"Israeli IPO Wave Expected in 2014," Ben Fox Rubin, The Wall Street Journal, December 27, 2013, http://blogs.wsj.com/moneybeat/2013/12/27/israeli-ipo-wave-expected-in-2014/
"Vancouver Tech Startup Ecosystem Poised for a Big 2014, Experts Believe," Knowlton Thomas, Techvibes, December 20, 2013, http://www.techvibes.com/blog/vancouver-tech-startup-ecosystem-2013-12-20
"The Rise of Moscow's Prosperous Startup Cluster," Marty Munford, Mashable, February 7, 2013, http://mashable.com/2013/02/07/russia-tech-entrepreneurs/
"9 U.S. Cities You Wouldn't Think Are Hubs for Tech Startups," John Patrick Pullen, Entrepreneur, September 27, 2012, http://www.entrepreneur.com/slideshow/224504#3