Country Overview – Singapore
- Dubbed the ‘Silicon Valley’ of Asia
- Ranked the best tech hub in Southeast Asia, and 2nd in Asia
- Ranked No.2 globally in 2020 by the World Bank in the Ease of Doing Business
- Strong government policies to digitalize the country’s economy
- Various government programs to help startups grow and expand in the region
Singapore at a glance
Population: 5.7 million
Languages: English (Main), Mandarin Chinese, Tamil, Malay
Average cost of living:
- Rent: US$1100 onwards
- Living cost per month: US$ 1300 onwards
Singapore is recognized as one of the top tech hubs in the world where up to 59% of the world’s multinational tech companies have established their regional headquarters in the country. This includes companies like Google, Facebook and IBM having a presence in the country. In addition, more than 11 of the region’s unicorns are based in Singapore such as SEA, Lazada and Grab amongst others.
The country also has the following accolades to boost
- Best tech hub in South East Asia and ranked No.2 in Asia
- Ranked No.2 globally as 2020 by the World Bank in the Ease of Doing Business
- Ranked No.1 globally in Smart City Performance
- Ranked 1st in IP Protection in Asia and 3rd globally
- 2nd in the world for startup talent
Despite its small population, plenty of tech companies utilize Singapore’s positioning to expand into the South East Asian region. For instance, companies such as Grab and Lazada are operating in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and more while smaller scale tech startups are utilizing Singapore as its base of operations for the region as well. More notably, Singapore based SEA has since entered into both the Brazilian and Mexican market.
The government is actively involved in the startup community by implementing ‘tech friendly’ policies such as the Smart Nation program that aims to streamline digital services for individuals and businesses and rolling out urban mobility and technology solutions.
Government agencies were formed to implement and integrate the island nation into a tech metropolis.
- Govtech – Agency tasked with realizing Smart Nation possibilities
- Infocomm Media Development Authority – Agency tasked with regulatory capabilities for a converged info communications sector
- Startups SG – Startup SG was created to provide Singapore-based startups with access to funding sources and mentorship programs where qualifying startups can access cash grants, equity financing, and business loans.
Part of the packages offered by these agencies to attract and cultivate tech startups includes the following:
- Infocomm Media Development Authority Programs
The agency offers a wide range of programs such as SG:D SPARK that addresses the key challenges faced by the info communications sector and supporting the growth of promising Singapore-based startups in this area For more details, do check out this link here for all the programs that are available.
- Startups SG Programs
Various programs are available for startup founders, incubators and investors under the Startup SG Programs scheme. Most notably, the Startup SG Equity program provides funds ranging from US$ 1.5 million – US$ 6 million dollars.For foreign tech startups, there are two programs currently available
Incubators and Accelerators
There are more than 50 incubator and accelerator programs in Singapore. These include government run programs, along with those from the private sector and even corporate venturing arms of major multinational companies.
The aim of these incubators and accelerators is to grow budding startups to become giants in the region, before they make their move globally. According to Crunchbase, there are over 515 portfolio companies in the accelerator stage with up to US$99.2M raised to help fund these companies. Of the 515 companies, there had been 16 exits by companies such as RedMart, Tradegecko and more.
Please find below the following lists that we had compiled
According to Crunchbase, there are over 294 VCs in Singapore with US$14.9 billion raised, of which the biggest VC funds in the country includes the following:
Funds Under Management
- Vertex Holdings – US$1.5 billion
- B Capital Group – US$ 300 million
- Insignia Ventures Partners – US$ 250 million
In general, the funding ecosystem in Singapore is very robust and strong. This is further validated by the support of key investors such as Eduardo Saverin, co-founder of Facebook having established his own VC fund in Singapore under B Capital Group.
In addition to the range of Venture Capital funds available, Singapore also boast a strong list of angel investors which according to Angel.co, there are up to 1100 angels residing in the island nation.
Looking for more information about the Startup ecosystem in Singapore? Do check out the other lists which we have compiled below
- Comprehensive List of Incubators in Singapore
- Comprehensive List of Accelerators in Singapore
- Comprehensive List of Venture Capital Firms in Singapore
Last Updated: March 2021
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