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Cities looking to become world leaders in tech must have certain provisions in place – an abundance of co-working spaces, access to venture capital and supportive government initiatives among them. Culture Trip’s top tech destinations for 2019, however, offer more than that. They match start-up savvy with cultural cool, allowing tech’s greatest minds to get inspired by the food, music, history and architecture that make their chosen home unique.
The rising star of the Lone Star State, Austin is a bastion of business creation – and it’s easy to see why. The city’s start-up ecosystem has it all: entrepreneurs, investors, community networks and incubators (collaborative programmes that provide workspaces, seed funding, mentoring and other benefits for start-ups), as well as fresh tech talent emerging from The University of Texas at Austin. In 2017, a study from The Kauffman Index found that, every month, 51 out of every 100,000 adults in Austin were becoming entrepreneurs, and that there were approximately 105 start-ups for every 1,000 employer businesses within the city that year. But it’s Austin’s cultural appeal that’s landed it a top spot on Culture Trip’s wishlist. One of America’s fastest-growing cities, Austin boasts a mouthwatering food scene, a worldwide reputation for live music and a cultural landscape that includes both established networks and emerging creative hubs. Each year the city hosts South by Southwest, Austin Fashion Week, the Austin Poetry Slam, the O. Henry Pun-Off and Art City Austin, while the city’s unofficial motto (“Keep Austin weird”) is an illustration of its freethinking, risk-taking culture.
While London leads the European start-up scene in venture-capital investment and growth of new businesses (with Paris and Berlin hot on its trail), it’s Lisbon that’s caught Culture Trip’s eye. Supported by local government, the Portuguese capital has become a desirable spot for start-ups, with the StartUP Voucher initiative offering more than 400 entrepreneurs a one-year fellowship to pursue their ventures in Lisbon, and a flurry of new incubators and accelerators (fixed-term programmes that offer seed investment and mentorship to start-ups and culminate in a public pitch) launching across the city. This emergent tech city has committed to hosting one of the world’s leading tech conferences, Web Summit, for the next decade, and when it comes to culture, Lisbon’s combination of sun, surf and low rents means the Portuguese capital is Culture Trip’s pick for Europe’s most attractive start-up destination.
Tel Aviv may be the most obvious tech hub on this list, but its continual success in stimulating innovation means it is still worthy of note. As the centre of ‘startup nation’, this city is home to hundreds of high-tech companies and scores of accelerators. And with the highest start-up-per-capita rate in the world, Tel Aviv offers entrepreneurial prowess matched only by its cultural chops. Boasting 15 kilometres (nine miles) of Mediterranean coastline and 300 days of sunshine per year, as well as numerous cafés, bars and boutiques (all of which are frequented by the incredibly stylish residents), this Israeli city is sure to remain a desirable destination for tech entrepreneurs looking to set up shop in 2019.
This bustling cosmopolitan city is rooted in history but firmly focused on the future. With new co-working spaces, accelerators and start-up events popping up every day, and access to local and global venture-capital funding rising steadily, Hong Kong’s tech and entrepreneurship scene is blossoming. Pair that with the city’s unique mix of Taoist temples, Edwardian edifices and skyscrapers, not to mention its exciting food and entertainment scenes, and you’ve got the perfect cultural destination for entrepreneurs.
It may not match Sydney in size or venture-capital investment, but Melbourne’s start-up scene is growing fast. The region reportedly has one accelerator for every 41 tech start-ups and 15 co-working spaces for every 100 tech start-ups, but it is Melbourne’s status as the capital of cool that places it among the world’s most attractive cities in which to start a business. From its rich café culture to its atmospheric restaurants, lively rooftop gardens and intimate underground theatres, Melbourne is a great place for culturally minded entrepreneurs.
For more of this series, check out our wishlist article on the best TV and film destinations for 2019.
Interested in planning your own dream trip to a city this year? Start your journey by saving your favourite articles and inspiration in a Culture Trip Wishlist. It’s the easiest way to keep all your research in one place while you discover what is special and unique about each place.