London has taken top honours in the FDI Strategy category of fDi x TNW Tech Cities of the Future 2021 study, followed by Berlin and Paris respectively. 

The FDI Strategy category included 32 submissions from cities across Europe. Each submission addressed 10 questions concerning the start-up ecosystem and the current strategies offered to potential start-up investors in the respective cities. Each question was then reviewed by a panel of judges from fDi and TNW. 


Tech COF overall rankings

Download a PDF of these rankings here: fDi x TNW Tech Cities of the Future 2021 


London is once again the judges’ favourite in this year’s FDI Strategy category. Led by its economic development agency London & Partners, the UK capital has used its strengths in capital availability, talent resources and well-developed infrastructure to maintain its position as the European home of the most private companies valued above $1bn.

London & Partners offer an array of programmes and initiatives aimed at supporting and stimulating investment in the city. These include the Business Growth Programme which, since 2017, has supported more than 400 companies in expanding their teams, creating jobs, raising finance through investment and strengthening management talent and teams.

Furthermore, the UK’s Tech Nation initiative provides a strong support network for entrepreneurs in London and across the country, as well as visas to international digital talent.

Companies in London can also apply for the wide range of financial funding and tax incentive schemes on offer such as the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme, Enterprise Investment Scheme and, as of May 2020, the £40m ($55m) Clean Growth Fund, which aims to supercharge green start-ups across London and the UK. 


Berlin has climbed to second place from third in the previous ranking. Working closely, Berlin Partner for Business and Technology and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Berlin aim to provide investors with the support, resources and incentives needed to thrive in the technology industry.

Platforms such as the Berlin Partner for Business and Technology and the city’s ‘Gründen in Berlin’ network ensure that businesses in the city have sufficient support, knowledge and resources to reach their full potential.

In light of the pandemic, the German capital provided a range of “corona funding programmes” for start-ups to handle the turbulent period, including grant, loan and equity options, ensuring that the city’s start-up community had financial options available during the economic hardships of 2020.


Paris reached third place in the FDI Strategy ranking. 

Choose Paris Region has provided excellent support via the Global Open Innovation Network, which gathers well-established corporate groups that want to stay ahead of innovation and disruptive technologies and engage with fellow innovators.

Infrastructure, including more than 200 co-working spaces and shared offices, world-renowned universities and business schools such as the Ecole Polytechnique, Paris Saclay University, and PSB Paris School of Business, boost Paris’s attractiveness to international tech companies.

Paris supported its start-up ecosystem during the pandemic with a “Resilience fund” and “Bounce funds” made available by the Regional Council of Île-de-France, which provided businesses with cashflow support to safeguard their businesses through the pandemic.

This article first appeared in the August/September print edition of fDi Intelligence. View a digital edition of the magazine here.