SHM2019: Ideas & Narratives Shape the Startup Scene

The combination of transnational activities of many founders can create networks of opportunities between certain hubs, who then pool their resources to punch above their weight. Europe seems to be a particularly interesting case for this unplanned collaboration across borders as the high fragmentation of markets, talent pools and funds in the region push founders to find creative ways to increase the size of the pie.

Shared Narratives Are the Basis for Exchange

In last year’s report we have shown the importance of startup conferences for bringing European ecosystems together. While physical connections sometimes still manifest a challenge, we see that Europe’s startup scene is extremely well connected and aligned on the level of narratives and values.

We analyzed >3,000 news pieces on tech blogs for the topics they cover and compared those with the meetups and startup events taking place in Europe’s startup hubs.

The Hottest Topics on Startup Blogs...

The tech blogs have a very clear topic setting with AI & Data and FinTech leading the ranking by a large margin. Even supposedly hot topics like female entrepreneurship or VR and AR fall back significantly.

Comparing this pattern of topic setting with an analysis of >17,000 startup events and meetups around Europe, we discover a large overlap: AI & Data keywords reach the top 3 in all of the 22 analyzed cities with a total of 3,398 events. Fintech, which led the ranking in the tech blogs, follows with 2,605 events and 19 of 22 top ranks.

...Match with Ecosystem Activity

Topic # of events Top Positions Cities with most events Cities with most focus
AI & Data 3398 22/22
FinTech 2605 19/22
CleanTech 1721 12/22
Female 1380 5/22
Health & BioTech 1251 4/22

While Health & BioTech and CleanTech make the Top 5 in both, Gaming is more popular with tech journalists. In contrast there is more meetups on female entrepreneurship than news about it. In total there were about 1,380 events involving women in tech, with Vienna being the place with the biggest focus on this topic. Another surprising result is Madrid with the highest absolute number of FinTech meetups.

The alignment of topics across the 22 analyzed cities sheds light on the streamlining of the narratives and values that govern the startup scene in Europe. While some of this could be brushed away as a hype, we cannot underestimate the effect of a common language and understanding across diverse regions from Paris to Athens. It is one pillar of transnational networks of opportunities.