Business World

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Silicon Valley No1 for tech, as Dublin misses top 20

Thomas Molloy

Published 23/11/2012 | 05:00

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SILICON Valley remains the world's most attractive spot for technology start-ups with other locations around the world catching up, according to a report.

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Dublin did not make the Top 20 despite being home to Google, Facebook and dozens of other technology companies.

Silicon Valley-based start-ups raise, on average, a third more capital than those in other areas, the report said.

Silicon Valley continued to lead in metrics including the amount of serial entrepreneurs, revenue models, and the level of education among business founders.

Tel Aviv was ranked second, followed by Los Angeles, Seattle, New York and Boston.

"Some years ago it was only Silicon Valley. Now there are also other innovation hubs and this trend is only going to strengthen," said Gonzalo Martin-Villa, chief executive of Wayra – a unit of mobile phone company Telefonica which commissioned the report.

"Flourishing communities in Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia have grown considerably over recent years and are now beginning to challenge Silicon Valley's domination in technology innovation," the report said.

Phil Liblin, chief executive of Silicon Valley-based writing app maker Evernote, said in a recent interview: "Silicon Valley does have a lot of magic in it. It is still the only place you can get $20m (€15.5m) without owning a suit, but you do not need $20m any more."

The proliferation of Apple and Google app stores, Facebook and Twitter have enabled starting a global company with just $50,000 (€39,000) or $100,000 (€78,000), he said.

"I think the main structural advantages are disappearing. Silicon Valley's greatest innovation in the last couple years have made itself less unique."

Tel Aviv, which was ranked as having the world's second best start-up ecosystem, after being evaluated on eight criteria including the performance of companies located there as well as their access to funding. Dublin didn't feature

So why Tel Aviv? The city is overflowing with software developers and venture capital. Larger companies, including Google, have set up offices there. Facebook is there, too, after acquiring facial-recognition developer Face.com in June.

Cultural gap

But Tel Aviv isn't a shrunken Silicon Valley. Distance aside, there's a wide cultural gap between the two. Only 13pc of founders there have lived in northern California at one time, according to the report.

That's much lower than many others on the list. For example, in London or Paris, the rate is one out of every four founders. Israeli entrepreneurs also tend to have a lower appetite for risk than their counterparts in other top regions, the report said.

Report author Mr Martin-Villa, suggests that we are moving to a world where technology centres are spread far and wide. Some will have local specialities.

London and Berlin are becoming powerful forces for companies at the nexus of the digital and creative sectors where advertising, marketing, digital arts and website creation morph into one.

While Dublin didn't make the new report, 'Fortune' magazine recently named it as one of seven cities outside the US that is good for start-ups. "Dublin is cheaper than London, boasts low corporate tax rates, and everybody speaks English," the magazine said. It praised Ireland's education, hardware and business-friendly policies

It also praised the capital's 'Silicon Docks' neighbourhood which houses tech giants Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Zynga.

The Dublin Web Summit, one of the fastest-growing tech conferences in Europe is also mentioned.

Other cities include Copenhagen, Zurich, Oulu (Finland), Eindhoven (Netherlands), Stockholm, Zurich and Singapore.

Irish Independent

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