The Straits Times: Singapore climbs 10 places to 8th in global start-up ecosystem ranking

SINGAPORE - Singapore climbed 10 places to eighth in Startup Genome’s latest global start-up ecosystem ranking, the first time it has entered the top 10.

According to Startup Genome, a research and policy advisory firm focused on measuring the success of start-up ecosystems, Singapore is now ranked third in Asia, behind Tel Aviv (fifth globally) and Beijing (seventh globally).

Silicon Valley clinched top spot, maintaining its position since 2020.

The ranking is based on factors such as performance, market reach, infrastructure and the quality of the talent pool.

At a dinner on Thursday organised by the Action Community for Entrepreneurship Singapore (ACE.SG) to celebrate Singapore’s rise in the global ranking, Manpower Minister and Second Minister for Trade and Industry Tan See Leng said there are now 31 unicorns headquartered here, more than half of which were set up in the past two years.

Highlighting how start-ups offer disruptive business models and are key to driving economic growth, Dr Tan said they also contribute to Singapore’s “national vision and priorities”.

“Agri-tech start-ups like Sustenir Group, which uses hydroponics and AI-powered systems to monitor variables like temperature and CO2 levels, support Singapore’s 30 by 30 goal, which is to grow the local agri-food sector’s capability and capacity to sustainably produce 30 per cent of our nutritional needs by 2030,” he said.

ACE.SG, the trade association representing start-ups in Singapore, recognised the achievements of a number of local start-ups at the launch of its awards, and signed a memorandum of understanding with the Government Technology Agency during the event.

Under the two-year partnership, they will identify and capitalise on opportunities to raise awareness of ACE.SG programmes as well as GoBusiness – a one-stop platform developed by the Government to provide local businesses with access to government resources and services.

The collaboration also aims to involve start-ups in GoBusiness’ industry research, user testing, and feedback sessions.

Singapore is currently home to approximately 4,000 tech start-ups and 200 incubators, and has consistently ranked among the top 10 countries in the Global Innovation Index. It is also among the world’s top 15 countries for ease of source funding, according to Startup Genome.

“The start-up culture in Singapore has been very supportive. We have great investors. And in terms of enterprise, the Government has been very supportive and we’re very grateful for them linking us with fellow players in a similar industry and tapping potential partnerships,” said Madam Loh Yin Ching, chief financial officer of telehealth service WhiteCoat, one of the recipients of the ACE Startup Awards.

For Sustenir chief executive Jack Moy, Singapore’s start-up environment stands out because of a “forced collaboration” culture where start-ups learn from their competitors.

“We get to mingle with one another and understand our issues and solutions,” he said.

Still, growth across the start-up sector has been mixed in recent years due to global economic uncertainties.

According to a report by government-owned tech investor SGInnovate, early-stage emerging tech start-ups in Singapore raised US$253 million (S$340 million) in funding in 2022, down 28.1 per cent from US$352 million in 2021.

SGInnovate also reported that the number of funding deals fell 17.2 per cent, from 58 in 2021 to 48 in 2022.

Data from Enterprise Singapore indicates that overall, start-ups in Singapore recorded 651 deals in 2022. These amounted to US$10.99 billion (S$14.6 billion) but fell shy of 2021’s US$11.33 billion.

Correction note: An earlier version of the story said there are 400 tech start-ups in Singapore. This is incorrect. It should be 4,000. The number of start-up deals and their overall value have also been updated. We are sorry for the errors.