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Europe has huge upside potential is it succeeds in building active tech communities in all cities where there are large tech talent clusters. This is because there is, perhaps unsurprisingly, a very high correlation (r-squared of 0.914) between the strength of tech community engagement within cities, as defined by the number of tech-related Meetups, and the rate of companies formation.

But not all cities with large engineering talent pools have been able to build vibrant communities where people meet up frequently to exchange ideas and knowledge.

When cities succeed in building active communities around their engineering talent, as measured by the number of tech-related Meetup events hosted per local developer, the data suggests that capital investment follows in larger volumes. The strength of tech community development is a critical leading indicator signposting the future potential of the European tech ecosystem.

There is huge geographic diversity amongst the Top 20 fastest-growing tech hubs in Europe, as measured by the annual growth in attendees to tech-related Meetup events in those cities. Zug in Switzerland, home to a growing crypto community, ranked number one as the fastest-growing community overall.

Legend

  • YoY growth 2017-2018 (%)
Note:
2018 annualised based on RSVPs to end of September 2018. Only hubs with at least 1,000 RSVPs in 2017 are included in the analysis.

The number of tech-related Meetup events in Europe continues to hit new highs, although the rate of year-on-year growth is decelerating. In 2018, the level of activity on Meetup alone equates to around 200 events hosted every single day through the year.

Legend

  • Events hosted
  • YoY growth (%)
Note:
2018 annualised based on data to end of September 2018

Today, if you build a business that’s obsessed with the customer, the capital will come to you.

We've recently done deals with amazing companies in cities as diverse as Marbella to Bristol. Gone are the days where growth capital is limited to the Valley, a fact that Silicon Valley itself now acknowledges: with the majority of VCs based there now planning to invest internationally. Today, if you build a business that’s obsessed with the customer, the capital will come to you.

Simon Cook

Draper Esprit

The density of these tech-related Meetup communities relative to the overall population of individual countries varies significantly across Europe, led by Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Switzerland.

Legend

  • # of active members per 1,000 inhabitants

In Europe's largest and most mature tech communities, there are signs of a slowdown in the level of participation around tech-related Meetup events, but outside those leading hubs there continues to be rapid growth in engagement, including in cities such as Hamburg, Zurich, Manchester or Wroclaw.

Top 20 hubs by level of tech Meetup activity in 2018, ranked by number of Meetup attendees

Legend

  • London
  • Berlin
  • Paris
  • Amsterdam
  • Munich
Note:
2018 annualised based on RSVPs to end of September 2018

The top 10 most popular subject areas for tech-related Meetup events are mostly foundational topics, such as software development or open source, but it is notable that blockchain/crypto topics have stormed into the top 10 in 2018.

Note:
2018 annualised based on data to end of September 2018

Talent is necessary, but talent alone is not enough. Cities need to engage that talent in active communities to drive greater levels of company formation.

Tech communities and company formation

0.914
The correlation between the strength of tech community engagement within cities and the rate of company formation and funding has an r-squared of 0.914.