Waterloo EDC Blog

Waterloo tech ecosystem vs. Berlin, Stockholm, London, Amsterdam and Munich

Three key findings: Waterloo vs. Europe’s tech hubs

Posted by Waterloo EDC on September 15, 2020

We’ve compared Waterloo’s dynamic tech ecosystem and the Toronto-Waterloo Corridor to our American counterparts in the past. Whether it’s talent, costs or ecosystems, we’re exceptionally competitive.

What we haven’t done – until now – is compare Waterloo to our friends in Europe.

The reason is simple: it isn’t always easy to find equivalent data. However, we recently obtained new data comparing Waterloo with numerous tech hotspots in Europe, including London, Stockholm, Berlin, Amsterdam and Munich. If you like data, this is exciting. We’ve made the full comparison available here.

Want the highlights?

Here are three key findings from our new Waterloo-Europe comparison:

1. Waterloo is tops for tech talent concentration

Waterloo has one of the highest talent densities in North America. Using available data, our tech talent concentration surpasses the concentration found in Seattle (7.2%), Boston (5.5%), Chicago (2.6%), New York City (2.5%) and even Silicon Valley.

The story is true in Europe, as well. While highly-diversified cities like London (5%) and Berlin (3.4%) have a much lower density of tech talent, even strong tech-centric communities like Amsterdam (8.1%), Munich (8.6%) and Stockholm (8.8%) are below Waterloo's density.

2. Europe can’t compete on cost

Costs aren’t everything, but they are important for businesses that want to extend their runway and minimize risks. In North America we’re very competitive, but how do we stack up with our European comparison communities?

First and foremost, Waterloo salaries are very similar to those in London, Berlin, Munich, Stockholm and Amsterdam. Where we differ is in corporate taxes and real estate. For example, corporate taxes are 30-40% higher in Amsterdam and Stockholm. Real estate in Waterloo – per square foot – is half the cost you’ll find in Amsterdam or Munich, one-third the cost of Stockholm and one-eighth the cost of London.

3. Patents per capita highlights Waterloo's greatest advantage

Waterloo’s research and business community is prolific when it comes to intellectual property. Our rate of 150 patents granted per 100,000 people is 11 times the national average. This rate puts us well above communities in the United States.

The same is true with our European comparison. The highest patents per 100,000 rate among our European comparison communities is Munich, with 61 per 100,000 people. Munich is followed by Stockholm (46/100,000), Berlin (20/100,000), Amsterdam (13/100,000) and London (8/100,000). It’s not even close – if you’re looking to tap into high-density research and commercialization capacity, it’s difficult to find another community like Waterloo.


Want more information? Our new comparison includes data on annual flights to each city, global university rankings, tech talent concentration, average salaries, corporate tax, real estate costs, startups per capita and patents per capita.

Download the Waterloo vs. Europe Comparison


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Topics: technology, talent, site selection