March 18, 2024

Top 10 startup hubs in Europe

The UK is home to half of the top 10

Sadia Nowshin

4 min read

A new ranking by the Financial Times, Sifted and data provider Statista has rated 125 of Europe’s startup hubs — centres that offer incubator or accelerator programmes to founders who want to build or grow a company — to find the best on offer across the continent. 

Scores were devised by Statista using a weighted combination of information provided by the centres; alumni ratings; the industry’s perception of the centre; and the track record of companies that went through the programme. 

So, which have been deemed top of the class? 

Munich-based UnternehmerTUM dominates both the overall list and Germany’s ranking — and it was also found to have the best network for founders. In Europe’s biggest tech ecosystem, the UK, which boasts half of the top 10 hubs listed below and 19% of the overall list, Southampton’s SETsquared takes the crown; in France, it was Lille-based EuraTechnologies. The list is full of centres that are located outside of the countries' capitals, with regional areas hosting many innovation hubs. 


After the UK, Germany and Spain have the most startup hubs on the list, with 13% and 12% respectively.

Wondering how other centres ranked in the top 125 list? Check out the full ranking here.


Location: Germany
Score: 86.8

Programmes offered at Munich’s UnternehmerTUM include an incubator for budding founders in the very early stages of company creation, an accelerator programme for startups with a prototype and an accelerator specifically for sustainable technologies. Among its alumni are global transport provider FlixMobility, spacetech Isar Aerospace and smart thermostat maker tado. 


Location: Belgium
Score: 83.6

Brussels-based startup studio Hexa helps companies build a startup from scratch and offers its founders the capital needed to survive the first year of startup life, with an in-house product and talent team to help develop the company. 

Alumni companies include spend management software Spendesk, embedded banking provider Swan and angel investment platform Roundtable. 


Location: UK
Score: 82.7 

Southampton-based SETsquared works with founders who are building creative tech businesses in the southwest of the UK. Hubs are based in the universities of Bath, Bristol, Cardiff, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey. It supports students to get into entrepreneurship, helps with scaling a business and has an accelerator programme for new early-stage ventures. 

Startups including autonomous vehicle charging provider MOLE, quantum company ORCA Computing and treatment safety testing techbio ImmuONE are among its list of alumni. 

Founders Factory

Location: UK
Score: 82.4

London-based Founders Factory offers a venture studio for founders with an idea to find a cofounder, and an accelerator for pre-seed and seed-stage startups. Participating companies also get pre-seed funding and access to relevant corporate partners. Alumni include media company Fanbytes, data visualisation platform Flourish and content management system Storyblok

Growth Studio

Location: UK
Score: 82.3 

London-based Growth Studio runs accelerator programmes for founders building sustainability-focused startups, helping them to validate ideas, gain traction and prepare to raise their first round. Its most recent programme was focused on startups in the clean air and anti-pollution space. 

It says it has accelerated over 600 startups since 2016, across 62 programmes based around the world. 

LSE Generate

Location: UK
Score: 81.8 

LSE Generate offers a support programme for students and alumni of the London-based university who want to develop entrepreneurial skills and launch a company. Its offering includes an accelerator for MVP-level startups, a mentorship programme, an early-stage pitching competition and sessions to support scaling and growth. 


Companies that have been through one of its programmes include feminine hygiene startup Flo, contraceptive advice platform The Lowdown and sustainable footwear company Allbirds. 

Startup Braga

Location: Portugal
Score: 81

Braga-based Startup Braga provides a training programme to help budding founders come up with business ideas, an incubator for startups in need of resources and workspaces and an accelerator. The latter is for early-stage startups working in biotech, digital economy, nanotechnology, sustainability or health. 

The centre’s alumni includes Hypelabs, which offers phone communication without signal or internet access and NEVARO, which is developing VR tools to treat psychiatric illnesses. 

ESA Business Incubation Centre

Location: The Netherlands
Score: 80.9 

Noordwijk-based ESA Business Incubation Centre says it boasts the largest incubation network in Europe, focusing on helping startups working in spacetech get off the ground. Founders get access to €50k in equity-free funding, workshops and legal advice, among other services.

Startups that have gone through the programmes include greenhouse gas monitoring startup AIRMO and Isar Aerospace.

Royal Academy of Engineering Enterprise Hub

Location: UK
Score: 80.5

The Royal Academy of Engineering runs four programmes: a pre-seed programme for founders in the North of England and Northern Ireland; fellowships for academic research to be commercialised into a business; an accelerator for early-stage founders; and an incubator exclusively for alumni. 

Startup Lisboa

Location: Portugal
Score: 80

Lisbon-based incubator Startup Lisboa supports startups in the first year of activity with mentorship, partnerships and access to investors and office space. It also runs five programmes alongside the incubator: three accelerators focused on sustainability, foodtech and healthtech, plus a programme for people wanting to set up shop in Lisbon and a summer school for teenagers. 

Alumni companies include electric scooter maker Wyze Mobility and NFT mining platform Mintbase. 

Sadia Nowshin

Sadia Nowshin is a reporter at Sifted covering foodtech, biotech and startup life. Follow her on X and LinkedIn