Dublin ranks number eight in Europe’s top cities for start-ups

Capital attracts young tech talent, but digital infrastructure is in bottom 10 of 60-city index

Dublin has been ranked as the eighth-best city in Europe for start-ups despite its digital infrastructure being graded near the bottom of an index of 60 cities.

The European Digital City Index assesses how well different cities across Europe support digital entrepreneurs. Produced as part of the European Digital Forum, the index provides information about the strengths and weaknesses of different areas.

Dublin ranks in first position for mentoring and managerial assistance and in second for entrepreneurial culture. These factors, “combined with the favourable economic and lifestyle conditions”, have attracted young tech talent from around the world, it notes.

However, Dublin is ranked 50th for digital infrastructure, which was cited as a major issue when the Web Summit departed the city last year. Web Summit co-founder Paddy Cosgrave criticised Dublin's infrastructure, high-cost hotels and the poor wifi reception in the RDS, before the decision to move the event to Lisbon was made.


Access to capital

The index ranks Dublin 11th for access to capital; 37th for business environment; 15th for knowledge spill-overs; 42nd for lifestyle; 32nd for market; 16th for non-digital infrastructure; and 12th for skills.

In terms of Dublin’s strengths, the index cites that 40 per cent of people are under the age of 30 and one in five are non-Irish born. Dublin’s three universities and four institutes of technology also produce 30,000 graduates per year, 28 per cent of whom graduate with science and engineering qualifications.

Strong talent and a “business-friendly environment”, with the Republic’s “low corporate tax rate” specifically mentioned, have enticed “an accelerating number” of global tech giants to call Dublin home.

Google, Facebook, Linkedin, Airbnb, HubSpot, AdRoll, Twitter, Amazon, eBay and 250 more all have their EMEA headquarters in Dublin.

World-class talent

“With 30 per cent of these companies building product in Ireland, their presence also gives local start-ups unprecedented collaborative opportunities and access to world-class talent,” it says.

“Dublin tech identity hugely benefits from a pedigree in enterprise software. It is the world’s capital of travel tech; it is building a reputation as Europe’s centre for B2B SaaS and is a growing hotspot for fintech and payments.

“The capital also shines in areas like health tech, IoT, telecom tech and edtech, with some notable global success stories like Intercom (raised €107.4 million), Boxever (raised €17.6 million) and CurrencyFair (raised €22.7 million).”

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson is an Irish Times reporter