Budapest is the 'startup' capital of Eastern Europe

Budapest is the 'startup' capital of Eastern Europe
Budapest, Oct 21: Barack Obama, the Dalai Lama and NASA all have one thing in common - the fact that they distributed live videos on Ustream, the app of the Hungarian startup that represents Budapest's potential to become a technology hotspot of Europe's eastern region.

Hundreds of these technology seeds have been sown in the Hungarian capital in recent years, attracted by government aid, good infrastructure, the city's central geographic location and the abundance of qualified personnel.

Though still far from attaining the levels of Berlin or London, the success of several companies here has sparked great expectations for Budapest as a future startup capital of Central and Eastern Europe.

The Hungarian government has sworn to meet this challenge with various kinds of aid.

"The challenge for the government is to make Hungary the startup centre of Central and Eastern Europe by the year 2020," said Zoltan Csefalvay, secretary of state for the economy.

For that reason, the authorities have allocated 450 million euros ($575 million) to back these companies over the next six years.

The administration is also readying a tax package to specifically help such companies by reducing the amount they must pay the government, the National Innovation Office told Spanish news agency EFE.

Such optimism is based on the success of several Hungarian startups on the world market like Prezi, Ustream, NNG, LogmeIn and Gravity.

Several of these startups have enjoyed annual revenue increases of up to 50 percent, and some have hopes that profits will grow even more when the next big IT boom comes along.

Prezi is one of them, a multimedia app for creating presentations that is already used by some 46 million people.

The four big Hungarian startups - Prezi, Ustream, LogmeIn and NNG - have created Bridge Budapest, an organisation that helps introduce tech startups into the world of business.

According to Veronika Pistyur, director of the organisation, one of the characteristics of these companies is that, despite their vocation to conquer the world market, they want to stay in Hungary.

And so Bridge Budapest offers scholarships to young talents to go get their training in Silicon Valley, California's great technology centre, and then return to Hungary to apply what they have learned.


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