Friday, February 20, 2015

9 reasons why you should locate your startup in Krakow (Poland)

Marcin Szelag

Few weeks ago Jakub Krzych, CEO and cofounder of Estimote Inc. gave a great presentation at Stanford on the startup ecosystem in Krakow (Poland). I asked Jakub if I could use some of his slides in my presentation at Pirates on Shore in Stockholm. Some people found it very interesting, as they didn’t know that Krakow has become such a vibrant tech hub.
I decided to share with you some of the slides from the presentation and outline 9 reason why you should locate you startup in Krakow.
1. It is a fairly big country


With close to 40 million citizens, Poland is the 9th (out of 58) biggest country in Europe. With its population it makes up close to 5% of the total European population of 850M. Poland has a central location and bridges the gap between Western and Eastern Europe.
2. Decent number of Internet users


Although Internet penetration is only 65%, Poland has 25 million Internet users. This ranks it as the 22nd country in the world. There is still plenty of room to grow in the coming years. There is a high penetration of broadband. In most of the major cities there is access to high speed cable Internet.
3. Poles like their smartphones and mobile Internet

Poland has 22 million smartphone users. Most of the country is covered by 3G and 4G (LTE) networks. Cost of mobile Internet is pretty low. For around $15 per month, you get 2GB of data and a decent number of free calls.
4. Strong and stable economic growth


Poland is one of the few European countries with a growing economy. Thanks to the support from the European Union, the country is investing billions into tech and innovation.

The startup ecosystem in Poland is spread around few major cities. One of them is Krakow, which is also the second largest city in Poland.

Each city is unique and different in terms of the tech/startup community both in the number and quality of startups. Krakow is considered to be the most vibrant community. Below you will find some reasons why.
5. Krakow has talent


Krakow is home to many good universities with more than 200 000 students living in the city. Besides students there is a large number of skilled IT workers thanks to many international and local tech companies.
6. Krakow is one of the most important outsourcing hubs in the world


Since the early nineties, international companies have been setting up their outsourcing centers in Krakow. This hes led to a steady growth in the number of jobs both in advanced business services and technology outsourcing. This creates many opportunities for finding talented people to work in startups.
7. Cost of living is relatively low


Krakow is definitely less expensive than London, Berlin or Stockholm. The city offers the same quality of amenities as other European capitals, but at a fraction of the cost.
8. Thanks to a major airport, Krakow is well connected


Thanks to RyanAir, Krakow is well connected to many other European cities. The airport itself is expanding to cater for increased traffic. In 2015 it will get a direct train connection to the city center.
9. Booming startup scene


In the recent months startups in Krakow raised funding in the millions of dollars from both local and international investors. Krakow is strong in hardware (IoT) startups, especially in the iBeacon space. With many events it is easy to get connected.
Marcin Szelag is a partner of Innovation Nest VC Group in Krakow.
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