Global Startup Ecosystem Report 2018 – Personal Thoughts

I stumbled across the Global Startup Ecosystem Report 2018, published by Startup Genome and Global Entrepreneurship Network just recently. I found a few items that I would like to comment on, so I will go global first before zooming in on Singapore.


  1. We see a rise of Deep Tech startups, and along with it, of China. Software has allowed us to create disruptive business models and tangible intellectual property (IP) in the fields of artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, robotics. It has also allowed us to accelerate the creation of IP in other sectors, such as life sciences and automotives.
  2. The global startup revolution continues to grow. Global venture capital investments in startups hit a decade high in 2017, with over $140 billion invested. Total value creation of the global startup economy from 2015 to 2017 reached $2.3 trillion—a 25.6% increase from the 2014 to 2016 period.
  3. In this age of what we term as the 3rd wave of the Internet, we see that the top 4 growing sub-sectors to be AI (11.5% 5-year CAGR in early stage funding deals), blockchain (32.6% 5-year CAGR), agri-tech/new food (34.2% 5-year CAGR) and advanced manufacturing and robotics (37.8% 5-year CAGR). The top 3 declining sub-sectors are Adtech (–7% 5-year CAGR), Gaming (–5.4% 5-year CAGR) and Digital media (–5.4% 5-year CAGR), all of which are associated with the 1st and 2nd wave of the Internet.
  4. Of the 10 countries with the biggest growth in patent productions in the past 20 years, eight are in Asia. This massive increase in knowledge production—of which patents are only one possible measure—is particularly apparent in two sub-sectors: AI and Blockchain.
  5. The highest exit value typically still come from the USA, however, VC funding in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region has increased dramatically from 2012-2017, while that in USA has dropped over the same period.
  6. We see that the Post-IPO Revenue Growth Highest in Blockchain, Advanced Manufacturing, and AI. The figure below shows the median quarterly revenue growth (YoY) for IPOs in each sub-sector from 2015 to 2017.


Our strengths lie in the fields of fintech, digital media, big data and analytics.

Demographics about the Singapore startup ecosystem are shown in the diagram below.


  • Early-stage ventures (Entrepreneur Mindset): success defined as an exit within five years of starting for between $6 million and $1.2 billion. We refer to this as Startup Success.
    Business builders (Builder Mindset): success defined as scaling a venture profitably over a 10 to 15 year period. We refer to this as Scaleup Success.

What does this all mean?

We see a higher than average score in terms of founders who want to change the world and have experience in the sub-sector. However, some of our founders lack ambition to make the company a big MNC in the future. It is good that we are trained to build companies by creating a global business model. It is now time to focus on the application and get a CTO to help us with the technology portion. Also, the only advice I have regarding when is a good time to start your own journey as an entrepreneur is “Now!”