SHM2019: Startup Highways Part IV

If you have been in Helsinki or Tallinn before, you know that the ferry between the two capitals takes only about 2 hours and departs 6 times daily both ways. However, if you are in a hurry, there are 9 planes a day making the trip in about 30 minutes.

The connectivity among the two hubs and their founders is therefore no big surprise. Nevertheless, it is not as strong as one might suspect: Helsinki-based founders can envision to startup in Tallinn at a rate of 9%, while only around 4% of their Tallinn-based counterparts list Helsinki as a favorite startup hub. Together, they attract about 8.7% of all founders in Europe. The most popular they are in their home region (27% marketshare) as well as in the CEE (13%).

The FerryLink

The Ease of Doing Business in the North

Between the two, Tallinn is however the clear leader in founder popularity, having climbed into the Top 10 favorite startup hubs in Europe in 2019 and reaching 7% of all founders from 20 diverse countries. Helsinki in comparison has fallen 7 ranks out of the Top 30, reaching 2% of all founders and 11 diverse countries. Tallinn performs best among consumer platforms and FinTech founders, where it increases its marketshare to 10%. Helsinki tries to keep pace with their competitors in the FinTech sector, where it reaches the 13th rank with 5% marketshare.

The strengths that founders see in both hubs lie in the exceptional ease of doing business. While, Tallinn also has low costs on its side, Helsinki struggles to really convince with better funding availability and industry connections. Their rating is a bit higher than the average of the Top 25, but not extreme.

The Nordic Bypass

When looking at the Nordics, it is interesting to see their strong orientation towards hubs outside the region. The map above is showing the strong one way connections originating from the Nordics, but none coming back. Besides the TallinnHelsinki connection, only the RigaTallinn link fulfills this criteria with 13% of Riga-based founders voting for Tallinn. This connection is however not mutual. All other Nordic Hubs orientate strongly towards London and Berlin with an average of 15% of their founders opting for these hubs.

The CEExpressway

The most eminent one-way connections can be found on the CEExpressway, which connects Warsaw (17th, 4%), Vienna (13th, 5%), Budapest (28th, 2%) , Sofia and Prague (33rd, 2%) to Amsterdam (5th, 15%), Berlin (2nd, 34%) and London (1st, 37%). With an average of 17% of founders, these are the strongest orientations to be found in Europe.