London’s startup scene is booming — you need only read Wired to see that. But what are Europe’s other hot digital cities — and which are the companies and founders to watch? Welcome to Wired’s first annual guide to the continent’s rising stars.
Spend a few days in Berlin and it’s not long before a clear parallel becomes apparent: London, circa 2000. The difference? One of them has a significantly larger economy. According to the IMF, Germany — with a GDP of $3.3 trillion (£2 trillion) in 2010 — has by far the biggest economy in Europe (the next largest GDP is France, with nearly $2.6 trillion. The UK’s is $2.2 trillion).
Where Europe’s most populous country differs from the UK is in its level of economic decentralisation. According to Hilmar Schmundt of news magazine Der Spiegel, Frankfurt is where the money is; Hamburg and Munich are the centres of media and venture capital; whereas Berlin is the creative — and tech — hub of the country.