New Savills research reveals that the world's top 12 locations for tech businesses are cities. And not just the big global centres of New York, Singapore, Mumbai and London. As our map shows, smaller cities, such as Austin (pictured above), Dublin and Stockholm, also feature in the top 12.
So why cities rather than out-of-town campuses or science parks such as Silicon Valley? A key driver is access to human capital. Start-ups, scale-ups and established tech companies compete fiercely for talent, not buildings. Cities are, in general, where that talent wants to live and work.
Clearly, there must be a strong tech infrastructure, with fast, affordable broadband, and an engaged consumer market. A tech city must also have a business environment conducive to growing a company, as well as access to venture capital and start-up incubators.
There needs to be a young, entrepreneurial, tech-savvy workforce, as well as immigration policies that allow talent to be recruited from elsewhere if not available locally. The presence of top universities and good links to industry are also essential, as is a vibrant urban culture – perhaps even a counterculture – with cafés, bars and restaurants. A high quality of life, good transport, easy commutes, low crime and low pollution, are all attractive to the tech sector.
One final key element is language. English is the lingua franca of the tech sector and it's no coincidence that it's the primary language, or is widely spoken, in all of the world's top 12 tech cities.