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Singapore is targeting UK tech startups

If you are thinking of going global, you may be interested in what Singapore has to offer.

Having been consistently ranked by The World Bank as the world’s easiest place to do business, Singapore has embarked on an ambitious vision to build itself into a Smart Nation.

It wants to bring together entrepreneurs, researchers, academics and innovation leaders in big corporates to create the world’s first “living laboratory” on a nationwide scale and offering ‘live’ test beds for new solutions to be prototyped. The country has invested USD $22bn into research and development over the past decade to help companies develop, test and commercialise new products and solutions.

Investment is also currently flowing into the region, with venture capital investment in Asia already reaching USD $28.4bn this year (Source: KPMG & CB Insights, Global Venture Capital Report). On top of that south east Asia is home to more than 600m consumers within a three to four-hour flight radius of Singapore.

And Singapore is targeting UK startups to join its growing tech community.

The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), the Singapore government technology arm, recently carried out research on UK-based early stage tech startups to better understand the business challenges they are currently facing, and what it would take for them to consider expanding their business overseas.

Conducted by YouGov, the startups surveyed highlighted important contributors to their  business growth, the top four being:

  • finding or growing a sustainable customer base;
  • establishing the right product-market fit (54%);
  • having access to reliable and good public infrastructure such as pervasive connectivity (48%);
  • and finding suppliers (44%).

The startups surveyed include young UK tech businesses which have been going for less than 5 years, with most at the early stages of raising their seed, angel or Series A funding. To date, they have received, on average, £1.1m in funding, and said they need an average of £650,000 over the next 12 months to meet their business goals.

Most of the founders surveyed have built businesses that aim to tackle challenges in a diverse range of sectors from financial services, public/government services, education, transportation, to healthcare, using big data & analytics, mobility, and future communications and collaboration technologies.

On their global aspirations, the survey revealed that over half of the startups have an eye on international growth – 15% having already expanded their business abroad, 17% having plans to grow at least part of their business overseas and a further 19% considering international expansion in the future.

Steve Leonard, executive deputy chairman of IDA, said: “The UK and Singapore are natural partners where it comes to building tech startups that have the potential to scale globally. Both countries are working to tackle important shared global challenges arising from the realities of increasing urban density and ageing populations that have an impact on areas such as healthcare, transportation and resources sustainability.

“As Singapore pursues its vision to become a Smart Nation, it’s encouraging to see that more than half of the UK startups we spoke to are equally excited by this vision and two-thirds believe that their business is a good fit with some of the pressing challenges that Singapore is working on to improve the lives of global citizens.

“By pulling together its fast-growing community of startups, large pools of risk capital, world-ranked universities, multi-billion dollar R&D investments, big corporates, together with the commitment of the government, we believe Singapore has all the raw ingredients for entrepreneurs to build and grow their business.”