Often when experts discuss startups, they refer to businesses located in America. With so much activity happening in Silicon Valley, as well as major cities across the country, it can be easy to forget that exciting startups are being founded across the globe. In fact, some areas are emerging as major players in business today, with the number of startups multiplying each year.
This overseas growth has interestingly been fed, in large part, by the number of American businesses seeking the affordable tech skills available in those areas. Specialized talents such as applications development and engineering can fit within tight budgets without sacrificing quality. But there are many other reasons for this rapid growth. Here are a few thriving technology hubs spread throughout the world.
At the end of 2015, Israel had more than 1,400 startups and 80 accelerators. The startup culture in the country has helped it earn the nickname "the startup nation." The list of successful startups that have come out of Israel is a who's who of tech companies, including Fiverr, Waze, and Wix. According to the authors of the book Startup Nation, the rapid growth of industry in Israel can be traced back to mandatory military service for its youth. This service, the authors say, gives young people the skills and discipline necessary to start and run a business.
While still underdeveloped, the Ukranian ecosystem is experiencing impressive growth, with approximately 2,000 startups populating the area. An estimated 90,000 programmers now serve international clients, with global businesses operating more than 100 research and development centers in the country.
"US firms are competing very hard to recruit and retain engineers, and many of those end up seeking offshore teams as a way to extend their engineering teams," says Yevgen Sysoyev, Managing Partner of AVentures Capital. "There are not that many places in the world where you can build a scalable world class engineering team and Ukraine is one of them. Complex software R&D more and more comes not to India as an offshore hub, but Ukraine."
When Microsoft purchased Skype, the economic landscape of Estonia permanently changed. The founders and early employees that had built Skype took that money and reinvested it into startups, which quickly created a thriving tech industry in the area. Today, the country of only 1.3 million is home to hundreds of startups, including Transferwise and Fortuma Mobile Payments. This has given the country the reputation of having the highest number of startups per person. One feature that helps startups in the area is the ease of registering. The government has set up a system that allows a new business to register through its online portal in only a few minutes.
Estonia faces competition from Sweden, which has been labeled the startup capital of Europe. One of the best-known startups to come out of the area is Spotify, which has revolutionized the way people listen to music. The country now has the second-highest number of billion-dollar companies per capita, with 6.3 per person. Silicon Valley holds the top spot with 8.1 per person. The country's success has been attributed to its small size, which forces its businesses to think globally with every product or service they launch.
India is known for its large pool of technology talent, having long been an outsourcing hub for many major corporations across the globe. However, global support for tech startups in the country has left those startups facing a talent shortage. This has led Indian businesses to begin looking for overseas workers to serve in leadership positions within their organizations. This shortage of skilled workers has led to rapid salary increases throughout the area, further helping India's economy.
From startups to established companies, these countries are demonstrating that thriving industries exist across the world. When one ecosystem thrives, it benefits the rest of the world, since the innovative products and services that come out of that area are enjoyed by consumers everywhere. Additionally, as these countries search for skilled tech talent, they're often erasing geographic boundaries in their hiring choices, which helps developing nations grow.