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Policy Brief, Issue 7/Democratising access to smart money in EU: evidence from the VICO dataset

Colombo, Massimo G.; Guerini, Massimiliano; Tenca, Francesca

Venture Capital (VC) is an important source of finance for the growth of innovative startups. This policy brief aims at providing novel evidence about the geographical distribution of VC activity in Europe and Israel over the 2010-2018 period. Drawing upon a unique dataset, RISIS-VICO, the research describes the agglomeration patterns of VC activity at the regional, metropolitan and industry-level.

The main findings can be summarized as follows:

i) VC deals are unevenly distributed across countries.  the UK and France are the most relevant VC markets in terms of number of VC deals, while Eastern European countries and Israel show the highest incidence rates (VC deals / GDP).

ii) VC activity is mostly concentrated in large metropolitan areas, but there is a non-negligible share of VC activity in more peripheral areas.

iii) There has been an increasing concentration of VC activity in large metropolitan areas from 2010 to 2018.

iv) Important differences emerge across sectors. The life science sector exhibits higher dispersion of VC deals outside the main VC hubs, mainly in areas with  relevant knowledge creation activity. Conversely, VC activity in the Software, Internet & TLC and R&D & engineering sectors is concentrating in large metropolitan areas.

The findings have important policy implications for democratizing the access to VC in more peripheral areas and for the development of entrepreneurial ecosystems.

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