Madrid’s Rise as the Southern Hub for Growth and Internationalization

Madrid’s Rise as the Southern Hub for Growth and Internationalization

Multiple new international rankings place the Region of Madrid in the top of the most attractive hubs for the establishment, growth, and internationalization of startups

The latest indicators from several international rankings confirm Madrid’s 5th position in the Financial Times-fDi ranking after London, Amsterdam, Dublin, and Paris. In our own Startup Heatmap Europe Report 2023, Madrid reached the 2nd rank for the number of offices opened by unicorns. Other recent studies naming Madrid as a top European startup hub and Spain’s national leader in highly relevant indicators are the European Innovation Scoreboard 2023, Dealroom 2023, and Startup Genome Ecosystem 2023.

2nd offices of unicorns per city (Startup Heatmap Europe 2023).


Innovation and access to talent

Access to talent by startups is more favorable in those places that, like Madrid, offer higher concentrations of technological jobs, universities, business schools, and a higher level of innovative activity. Madrid occupies the 5th position in Europe in availability of developers and talent (Startup Heatmap 2023), i.e. its 4th position in the area of Artificial Intelligence (Sequoia / Sifted 2023). The Community of Madrid maintains its position as a “Strong Innovator“ in the European Innovation Scoreboard 2023 and, together with Miami, stands out as the main bridge for startups and talent between Latin America and Europe (Refresh Miami 2023).


Economic potential and business opportunities

The growth, consolidation and internationalization of startups benefit from the possibility of establishing relationships with large corporations and scaleups. Madrid, the Spanish international center of operations in multiple sectors, occupies the 5th position in Europe by number of offices opened by startups from other countries (Dealroom, 2023), the 6th position in terms of business friendliness and 10th position for its global economic potential (Financial Times – fDi). The strengths in the digital field of the Madrid Region are also notable, occupying the 3rd European position in terms of connectivity (Financial Times – fDi).

South Summit, an annual startup event taking place at La Nave in Madrid.

The attractiveness for investment

International investment in startups is closely related to the success of recent investments and the strength of local investment in early stages. Madrid, with the highest national concentration of VCs, is also the first national and the 5th European city for its attractiveness for investment (Financial Times – fDi). The region rose in 2022 to the 5th European position in total amount of exits and to the 4th position in number of high-growth startups and exits of more than 100 million euros (Dealroom, 2023). On the other hand, Madrid is experiencing in 2023 a 24% increase in the number of investment rounds in the early stages and a 12% increase in the investment obtained (Startup Genome Ecosystem 2023).


The startup support environment

The Community of Madrid concentrates the largest number of agents in the country that successfully facilitate the most innovative entrepreneurship, including public or private accelerators, especially corporate ones. Madrid is also the 4th European hub in number of support entities after London, Paris, Berlin and Amsterdam (Dealroom, 2023) and in number of participants in acceleration programs. By number and percentage of accelerated startups that raise funds, Madrid occupies the 6th and 8th position in Europe, respectively (Startup Heatmap 2023), closely related to its 5th position in number of startup kickstarter campaigns or its 3rd position in number of events of startups on Eventbrite (DEEP Ecosystems 2023).


Competitive establishment costs, specific regulation and taxation for startups, and high quality of life

Gran Via in Madrid. Photo by Alex Azabache / Pexels


The “Startup Law” approved in Spain in 2022 and region-specific regulations represent a great advance offering additional benefits for startups and for investors. The cultural, leisure and gastronomic offer, being one of the safest capitals and having public and private services with high quality standards add to the low establishment costs, which are highly competitive when compared with the main international hubs. The Community of Madrid occupies the 2nd position in Europe for its lifestyle and human capital (Financial Times – fDi) and Madrid is also the 4th city in the world in quality of life and safety (Global Power City Index 2022).

More information can be found on Startup Radar madri+d, the platform facilitating access to startups, international reports, calls, events and support entities and Invest in Madrid is the regional office to assist foreign investors. Also you can find an overview on all statistics on Madrid on the Startup Heatmap profile page for Madrid.




Featured image: Muros-Tabacalera Urban Art Initiative in Madrid, © Instituto de Turismo de España