In the last year I’ve been working with building up the online platform and offline service Capital List in London. Capital List bridges the gap between startups and investors, through facilitating introductions, consulting startups on fund raising and connecting key partners in the London startup ecosystem.
This position has given me the opportunity to work with hundreds of startups and around 30–40 venture firms in London and I’ve gained great insight into the London startup scene and its players.
End of July this year my boyfriend found out that he got a secondment placement with his law firm in Singapore for 6 months. As London can be identified as the gateway to the European market I saw the chance to learn about another eco system that is the gateway to Asia and Indonesia — two markets of unimaginable size and with a brewing startup scene. And here I am now. A month into this adventure.
Singapore + London = Happening
It’s certainly an interesting time to be connected with both Singapore and London. The Mayor of London’s Export Programmes has a planned trade mission to Singapore at the end of November this year.
Whilst, Infocomm Investments, the Singaporean governments investment arm, recently launched in London to become a bridge between Singapore and London’s tech startups. The Executive Deputy Chairman of IDA and Chairman of IIPL, Steve Leonard states in the press release of the fund:
“Because Singapore is a strong startup hub in Asia, we want to bring our great startups to London. Singapore and London are natural partners, and we see London as our gateway into Europe, and we want London to see Singapore as the best gateway to the booming Asian markets.”
My personal mission is to research, explore and document what I learn about the Asian startup scene.
Starting with a first attempt to answer the basic questions asking ‘Why is Singapore such a hot spot for startups and investors who wants to enter the Asian market’? Here is my compiled list:
1. Support from the Government
The government has been pumping in money in early stage business. Through initiatives such as Infocomm Investments they’ve provided Singaporean startups with the seed funding needed. Although it has had it hasn’t been an entire successful venture (more on this another time), it has helped Singapore to establish itself as a startup friendly place.
2. Investment safe (at least compared to other parts of Asia)
Not only has Singapore one of the lowest crime rates in the world, Singapore is also a safe place to make investments thanks to it’s political and regulatory system. After conversations with an angel investors from London who’s actively investing in Singaporean startups, he states that as early seed investments are already risky and as a foreign investor you need to eliminate external risks. Singapore’s legal system is built upon English law which further simplifies the process of investing Singapore incorporated companies.
3. The Ultimate Location
Singapore is within a few hours of reach to major emerging markets for technology companies. Look at South East Asia, China and don’t forget about the joker Indonesia with over 220 million people who at a rapid pace embracing the digital world.
4. A Great Test market
Finally, Singapore is a melting pot of nationalities and cultures there is access to a market that can be representative of users in China, Malaysia, India or Indonesia. That English is the official language removes another barrier. And do I need to mention that they are extremely tech savvy, and immersed in their mobile devices whenever the opportunity is given to them.
This list is work in progress and obviously subject to change as I learn more about this thriving startup community.