Startups became one of the most promising ways of starting a flexible and developing business and there is no more rapidly developing area of business than tech. In this new world, does Hungary provides a promising climate for tech startups?
If you’re looking for a place with plenty of startups in Hungary, look no further than the capital, Budapest. It has marked its position in Europe as a tech hub that is on the rise. In recent times, Hungary has become alluring to various startups because of the availability of talented developers and engineers. In addition, there’s an increase in active homegrown VCs, and also the government is startup friendly.
The Early Days
One of the most prominent names when it comes to startups in Hungary is one Peter Zaboji. He is regarded as the father of the Hungarian startup ecosystem. He’s credited with laying the foundation for today’s thriving tech scene by coming up with various events and organizations that would bring together entrepreneurs.
After the successful buyout of Tenovis and its ensuing successful exit, Zaboji returned to Hungary at the commencement of the startup dawn in Hungary. He attempted to infuse in the Hungarian community the notion that business and innovation needed to be done on a global stage. In 2009, he came up with the Venture Acceleration Course (VAC) in Budapest. It was an English language entrepreneurship workshop series that aspired to offer basic education on the business side of creating a company.
Before 2009, even though there were various early stage technology companies, not much of what could be considered as a startup ecosystem existed. The arrival of Morgan Stanley in Budapest in 2006 created a challenging environment for startups. It offered attractive wages, so most people wanted to work there. However, Morgan Stanley’s arrival made the IT sector more attractive to future startup employees.
Peter Zaboji’s English language entrepreneurship course and the various entrepreneurial events he organized encouraged attendees to begin to think bigger and come up with products that could target the international market rather than the local market only.
Education in Hungary
We all know that education is crucial for the development of a thriving startup ecosystem.
Historically, even though Budapest has been behind when it comes to education, it has gradually started to make progress. Years back, universities in Hungary were traditionally known for their focus in the field of life sciences. Fields like business studies and innovation have never been that competitive with Western European Universities. However, things have begun to change. Budapest University of Technology and Economics specializes in the fields of math, physics, and technology.
Moreover, while focus has shifted to business education, most universities have achieved this by teaming up with large companies that could guarantee employment and high wages.
Good Economical, Technical and Human Capital Conditions
In spite of having one of the highest tax rates on products and services, prices are quite low as compared to other nations in the region. Therefore, the low cost of living and the low cost of starting up in Hungary are advantages. The workforce there is well trained in business, technology, and the English.
Technically, conditions are also favorable.
Hungary is the 6th nation worldwide when it comes to internet speed.
Furthermore, it occupies the 3rd position when it comes to the speed of the 4G network. As such, startups can easily work with wireless gadgets without having to worry about the technical setup.
Also, capital has also been in abundance owing to the JEREMIE Program. It’s a European Commission program created alongside the European Investment Fund. That’s the reason why many startups have benefited from funding, and more entrepreneurs have made a decision to start-up. In 2015, the number of startups was around 300. The increase in the number of entrepreneur and startup communities, public initiatives, conferences, and events makes the Hungarian startup ecosystem one of the most vibrant.
We have events and conferences in Hungary such as Startup Sauna, CEE global Impact Competition, and CEE Women Startup Competition. The startup community in Hungary is open, and anyone is welcome. You might meet your potential investor, mentor, employee, or even co-founder.
Examples of Successful Startups from Hungary
- Prezi – It was founded in 2009 by Peter Arvai, Adam Somlai-Fischer, and Peter Halacsy. It’s a presentation software company.
- LogMeIn – A company that offers SaaS-based remote connectivity, support solutions and collaboration.
- Ustream – This company provides cloud-based live video streaming services.
In summary, if you’re searching for a place that’s conducive for startups, then Hungary is the place to be. It has a thriving ecosystem, and soon, more global investors and consumers will troop to Hungary.
What’s your take on the Hungarian startup ecosystem? Feel free to leave your comments in the comments section below.
Source: Roland Harris – guest author
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