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From Bucharest to Vilnius: Sequoia Atlas Identifies Europe’s Rising Stars in Engineering Talent

Zoe Jervier Hewitt, Talent Director at Sequoia Capital and Luciana Lixandru, Partner at Sequoia Capital, personal archives
Image credit: Zoe Jervier Hewitt, Talent Director at Sequoia Capital and Luciana Lixandru, Partner at Sequoia Capital, personal archives

•   Venture capital fund Sequoia Capital launches Sequoia Atlas, an online tool designed to help founders find the best engineering talent across Europe.

•  The company found 24 cities with high concentrations of specialist skills, including Bucharest, Krakow, Prague, Tallinn, and Vilnius.

•  Specializations concentrated in Central and Eastern European cities include front-end developers, app developers, front-end frameworks and security engineers, AI engineers, and database engineers.

 

“After more than a decade in venture, I know the difference hiring the right tech talent makes to founders. Europe is an amazing environment for talent across various hubs and navigating these increasingly rich ecosystems can be difficult. We created Atlas to help outlier founders as they search for the talent they need to build the next enduring companies,” says Luciana Lixandru, Partner at Sequoia Capital.

Hiring the right tech talent is essential to the startup’s DNA from the early days, yet with 3 million engineers spread around Europe, it is not a straightforward task. A key reason is the dispersion of talent across different geographies in Europe, which has only been accelerated by remote work and digital nomad trends. According to Sequoia, 60% of European startups now operate distributed teams, and 74% of them cite access to specialist talent as a primary motivator.

Knowing where to look for the best talent depends on the specific skills and specializations you want to hire for, which is where Atlas comes in and does the research for you.

For instance, while London, Paris, and Berlin have the highest raw numbers of engineers across every discipline, the tool further reveals cities with outlier concentrations of specific skills. So, for founders looking to hire in AI, Athens, Zurich, Dublin, and Edinburgh may be the best cities for you, each with an increasing per-capita concentration of AI engineers.

The Sequoia Atlas methodology identified local density spikes for 14 different specializations, including application development, finance, graphics & gaming, hardware, robotics, security, and server & cloud.

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“Not only does this help cut down the time sourcing engineers compared to an undirected talent search but, by zooming in on Europe’s honeypots of engineering talent, your chances of finding a top 1% engineer are greatly enhanced,” Zoe Jervier Hewitt, Talent Director at Sequoia Capital, adds.

Highlights from Central and Eastern Europe

Not surprisingly, a number of cities in Central and Eastern Europe have emerged as having outlier concentrations of specialist engineering skills. These include:

•   Bucharest has a standout proportion of front-end developers, with 19% of its talent pool skilled in this area. 

•   Krakow, with its robust student population, offers an excellent pipeline of young talent and notable density of App Developers

•   Prague comes on the third place in terms of per-capita density of database engineers in Europe.

•   Tallinn and Vilnius have abundant pools of front-end frameworks and security engineers.

•   Athens has a growing per-capita concentration of AI engineers.

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Antoanela is a Sustainability Communications Specialist and Deputy Editor at The Recursive media. From these roles, she is helping organizations communicate their latest sustainability goals, strategies, and technologies. She writes about climate tech, ESG, impact investment, sustainability regulation, and related topics.