Plexal in 2024 FT ranking of Europe’s Leading Startup Hubs 

A 2024 rundown of Europe’s Leading Startup Hubs has been revealed and Plexal is named on the list, which has been compiled by the Financial Times, data firm Statista and FT-backed startup publication Sifted.

Europe’s Leading Startup Hubs are defined by the FT in its methodology as: “…the top centres for founders offering incubator and/or accelerator programmes to people who want to build or grow a company. Requiring at least one physical location in Europe, we call these centres for founders startup hubs.”

It’s both encouraging and timely to see startup hubs spotlighted in a high-profile fashion such as this, building on the nation’s innovation clusters gaining momentum in recent months. Innovation clusters can deliver a community-powered pathway to economic growth across regions and startup hubs are an essential component of clusters achieving this.

So, of the 125 centres named by the FT, we’re thrilled Plexal has been included in Europe’s Leading Startup Hubs list, securing the 8th position in the UK & Ireland, and 28th in Europe overall. This validates our presence as a fixed place in Stratford, Shoreditch, Cheltenham and Manchester, but also through our programmes which cross the UK from Cardiff and Edinburgh.

Our recognition in the FT ranking comes following the rise of tech hubs report by The Sunday Times, which highlighted the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, where Plexal’s head office and one of our innovation workspaces is located on the Here East campus.

Part of the assessment process required alumni to evaluate the programme they participated in, detailing their thoughts on mentoring, infrastructure, legal assistance, business development advice, as well as funding and networking opportunities. Additionally, veteran entrepreneurs and investors were also called upon to provide their feedback to determine Europe’s Leading Startup Hubs.

John Thornhill, Innovation Editor at the FT, wrote: “Many of Europe’s most promising startup hubs are linked to universities. But academic founders have often criticised universities for being overly protective of intellectual property and demanding too high an equity stake in any university spinouts, suppressing value for other investors. 

European startups have also suffered from a lack of growth capital to enable promising companies to reach global scale.”

At Plexal, we recognise that we’re stronger together which is why we’re focused on closing the gap between organisations, enabling startups and scaleups to access government, industry, academia and investors across startup hubs and innovation clusters.

Plexal CEO Andrew Roughan says: “All too often innovation clusters are mistaken for new real estate developments. Whilst the capital injection and momentum that causes the buildings is helpful, the innovation clusters need architecting, curation, experimentation, collaboration and leadership.” 

Through our collaborative innovation model, companies are better positioned to solve society’s challenges with insights from government and larger organisations, providing their solutions more opportunity to receive funding, in turn driving economic growth and prosperity for communities.

Read more here on why the stars are aligning for innovation clusters to fuel UK economic growth.