Singapore

Singapore #18

MEMBERS:
Enterprise Singapore

"Singapore’s start-up ecosystem is home to regional unicorns, top talent, and sophisticated investors. It is the ideal base to address Southeast Asia’s trillion-dollar digital commerce and climate-tech opportunities."

Steve Melhuish
Co-founder, PropertyGuru Group and impact investor
Top 25 Global Ecosystem in Talent & Experience
Top 10 Global Ecosystem in Funding
Top 15 Asian Ecosystem in Performance

Highlights

With its rising middle class, pro-business environment, and booming internet economy, Singapore is an attractive hub for startups. Department of Statistics and Enterprise Singapore data shows that there are close to 4,000 startups in Singapore, over 220 VCs, and over 200 accelerators. Singapore minted 11 new unicorns in 2021, and many global corporations have set up innovation centers here in recent years.


In 2021, 52% of equity funding generated in Southeast Asia was from Singapore, according to Enterprise Singapore. Investors are attracted to Singapore’s position as an entry to Southeast Asia and to Singapore’s high-quality startups. Enterprise Singapore provides support programs under Startup SG and Enterprise Singapore ’s investment arm, SEEDS Capital, has co-invested in 160 Singapore-based startups.


The government allocated an additional S$300 million in the 2020 budget to support the growth of tech startups in key emerging sectors including Advanced Manufacturing, Life Sciences, and Agtech. Cleantech is also quickly growing here, with startups including VFlow Tech, Terrenus Energy, and Red Dot Analytics bringing attention to the region. To support sustainable growth, the Singapore Government announced in its 2021 budget that it will issue green bonds on select public infrastructure projects, with up to S$19 billion in public sector green projects identified. In 2022, it was announced that $35 billion in green bonds will be issued by 2030 to fund green public sector projects.

Ecosystem by the Numbers

TOTAL EARLY STAGE FUNDING
(2019H2-2021)
$3.2 bn
GLOBAL AVG.
$687 m
ECOSYSTEM VALUE
(2019H2-2021)
$89 bn
GLOBAL AVG.
$28.6 bn
MEDIAN SEED ROUND (2019H2-2021)
$850 k
GLOBAL AVG.
$671 k
MEDIAN SERIES A ROUND (2019H2-2021)
$6 m
GLOBAL AVG.
$4.7 m
SOFT. ENGINEER SALARY (2021)
$45 k
GLOBAL AVG.
$46 k
12 bn
GLOBAL AVG.
11.3 bn
224
GLOBAL AVG.
101
Amount ($)
Count (#)

Exits

(2017-2021)
EARLY-STAGE FUNDING GROWTH TIER (2018/19 VS. 2020/21)
8
Calculated on a scale of
1 (lowest) to 10 (highest)
TOTAL VC FUNDING (2017-2021)
$17 bn
GLOBAL AVG.
$4.5 bn
TIME TO EXIT (2017-2021)
6.8 years
GLOBAL AVG.
9.4 years

Sub-Sector Strengths

AI, Big Data & Analytics

The Singapore government has been ramping up and encouraging investment in tech startups, including companies focused on AI, Big Data, and Analytics. Follow-on investments are expected through programs such as Startup SG Equity. Hosted by the National University of Singapore, AI Singapore is a national AI program to anchor Singapore’s AI capabilities. Innovation intelligence startup PatSnap raised $300 million in March 2021, bringing its valuation to more than $1 billion, and AI-driven tech company Advance Intelligence Group raised a $400 million Series D in September 2021, making both companies unicorns.

Life Sciences

Singapore's biomedical innovation ecosystem has grown nearly six times over the past decade, with over 360 biomedical startups and SMEs established in the region to date. Enterprise Singapore reported that a record $600 million was raised in related funding between January and September 2021. Doctor Anywhere raised a $65.7 million Series C round in August 2021, one of the largest private funding rounds ever raised by a healthtech company in Southeast Asia.

Agtech & New Food

The Singapore government has dedicated $45.2 million to its new Agri-food Cluster Transformation Fund, which is focused on supporting farmers through technology and boosting domestic food production. In February 2022, Nex Gen Foods raised $100 million in the largest Series A deal for a plant-based meat company globally to date. The startup was founded in the U.S. but is now headquartered in Singapore.

Reasons to Move Your Startup to Singapore

Government Support

Enterprise Singapore, a Singapore government agency under the Ministry of Trade and Industry, has a suite of startup-friendly policies, including grants for first-time entrepreneurs, talent placements, and co-investments. Together with other government agencies, it works closely with private sector ecosystem partners such as VCs and accelerators to support growth in Deep Tech sectors. Global support organizations and investors including 500 Startups, Plug and Play, Sequoia, and many more have a presence in Singapore, connecting the ecosystem to the global community.

Talent Development & Attraction

Singapore welcomes entrepreneurs and tech talent with initiatives including the Entrepass visa for foreign founders. In addition, [email protected] and TechPass provide visas for Singapore-based startups to attract global tech talent. Large corporations including Dyson and biotechnology company BioNTech have set up headquarters in Singapore to tap into the diverse and growing engineering and science talent. Semiconductor manufacturing company GlobalFoundries is building a new S$5.4 billion plant in Singapore.

Selected Startup Organizations

Startup Genome Members

"Ranking as the #18 Global Startup Ecosystem overall, Singapore is a leading example of a thriving startup community. It is thrilling to closely collaborate with Enterprise Singapore to take a data-centric approach to studying this success."
Stephan Kuester, Head of Ecosystem Strategy of Startup Genome

Key Ecosystem Players

Startup Genome
Partners

500 Ecosystems Singapore PTE. LTD.
500 Startups
Action Community for Entrepreneurship (ACE)
FocusTech Ventures
Starburst Accelerator
Startup X PTE. LTD.
Trendlines Medical Singapore

Featured Articles from
Local Ambassadors

Kristabel Quek
Kristabel specializes in innovation management and entrepreneurship. She believes in creating value, virtuous communities and ecosystems. With background in materials engineering, Kristabel ventured into technology transfer, focusing on using technopreneurship, entrepreneurship, and intrapreneurship to bring ideas to commercial market
Kristabel Quek | Co-Founder, edgex Pte Ltd
Zi Xin Lee
Having finished a Bachelor's in the US, a Master's in China, and a stint at ZhenFund looking at Indian and Southeast Asian start-ups, Zi Xin is a cross-cultural, multilingual and curious young person who yearns to help Singapore become a Global Asia Node for innovation, technology and enterprise.
Zi Xin Lee | Ambassador
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