How and Why? A Study on the Drivers of Startups Location Choice in an Italian Setting

Carlotta Maestripieri & Sara Monticchio

Student thesis: Master thesis


The attention paid by the academic world to firms’ location choice has always been high. Several well-known academics questioned and analyzed what drives firms to locate in a certain place, and which factors are the most influential in this decision-making process.
However, when searching for the same academic literature concerning startups, a poor collection of recent researches and studies can be found. Beginning from this academic literature gap, we started questioning ourselves whether it could be useful to shed a light on what drives startups to locate in a certain place, and why. Given the particularity of startups business dynamics, we thought that not all the already-studied drivers for firms’ location choice could fit the startups dimension. Indeed, in terms of outcomes startups follow very peculiar and unpredictable paths, which cannot be always associated with the ones followed by already established and operating firms.
With the high level of interest in location choice and the effects it might have in companies profit and performance over time, it is also becoming increasingly important to gain data on this topic for startups. The purpose of this study is to gain deeper insights into the factors that can influence startups location choice. In order to do so, we created a survey exposed to the incubated startups of I3P, the third public startups incubator of the world. 38 on 42 startups took actively part in the survey, helping us in gaining a better understanding of which are the most influential drivers that have led the I3P startups location choice. Specifically, what we found out is that our sample startups have been positively influenced mainly by the presence of relational connections with institutions and consumers; the proximity with other startups and the availability of a good suppliers’ network. Additionally, we discovered that some drivers are sensitive to the presence of a prior research phase done by startups. Specifically, according to our respondents, variables like the importance of Venture Capitalists, the duration of approval processes for licenses and applications and the suppliers’ network fall within this category.
We left an open door for further studies on the topic, acknowledging that our sample is not big enough to draw conclusions on the Italian startups’ location choice field, but to give a first significant glance at it.

EducationsMSc in Strategy, Organization and Leadership, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2020
Number of pages124
SupervisorsFrancesco Di Lorenzo