Singapore: a hub for startups in Southeast Asia

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Entering StartupSingapore is one of the fastest growing startup markets
Singapore’s startup activities are increasing and attracting more entrepreneurs. It’s evident that the government’s efforts to fund startups have largely paid off, with about 100 startups funded under the National Research Foundation’s (NRF) technology incubator scheme (TIS). According to the industry players, more entrepreneurs from around the region are coming to Singapore to seek funding, and investment is rising along with the growing number of startups choosing to develop products here. Let us give one example. Co-founders of security software Appknox, developed to detect and suggest solutions for security flaws in mobile applications, came to Singapore from India about three months ago to develop their idea, hoping to tap the availability of funding and expertise here. ‘We have chosen Singapore because it’s one of the fastest growing startup markets. It’s well-connected to near regions andthe market is quite mature,’ said Harshit Agarwal, co-founder and CEO of Appknox. ‘Over here, we get access to advisors… We were able to meet more than 10 to 12 potential customers over here, and we were able to understand the requirements for them so it has helped us to build a product for the market.’ Recently there has been a trend of global entrepreneurs coming to Singapore to develop their products. ‘In the past, we thought if you want to build a company for the US market, you have to move to California. But now, we’re seeing lots of entrepreneurs coming to Singapore to build a global business that’s not necessarily aimed at the US,’ said Wong Meng Weng, chairman and co-founder of JFDI.Asia. ‘I think we’re really becoming the startup hub of Southeast Asia. Our entrepreneurs have come from places like Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, India, Australia, New Zealand, the US, France, and this batch, we’ve even had a team from Lithuania.’