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Singapore Emerges as Top Startup Investment Destination in SE Asia: Report

A recent report highlighted Singapore as the primary destination for start-up investments in Southeast Asia in 2023, despite a decrease in overall funding. According to the report by Enterprise Singapore and DealStreetAsia, Singapore-based start-ups represented 63.7% of all equity deals in the ASEAN-6 nations (Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam) in 2023, up from 56.7% in 2022.

The report also highlighted the growth of Singapore’s deep-tech start-up ecosystem, witnessing a 31.4% year-on-year increase in deals in 2023, marking a recovery from a 38.9% drop in 2022. However, the deal value decreased by 18.4% to US$1.53 billion (S$2.07 billion) in 2023.

Cindy Ngiam, Director of the Start-up Ecosystem at EnterpriseSG, emphasized Singapore’s solid foundation and resilience in its tech and innovation ecosystem, which continues to attract investor confidence. She noted that investors prioritize strong fundamentals, especially during periods of reduced funding opportunities.

The report highlighted the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning by deep-tech start-ups in Singapore, signaling a shift in their approach to research and development and cost management. The recent surge in private funding for AI companies in the US is expected to inspire investors in Singapore.

Aditya Mathur, Managing Director of venture capital firm, commented on the rapid expansion of Singapore’s deep-tech ecosystem since 2019, noting the increase in the number of quality deep tech start-ups and world-class founders. He highlighted Singapore’s ability to generate sufficient deal flow, making it a significant player in the global start-up landscape.

In 2023, venture-backed private companies in Singapore secured US$6.1 billion in funding, a decrease of 44.7% from 2022. This decline mirrored the overall trend in the ASEAN-6, where deals decreased by approximately 53%. The report also observed a shift in investor focus towards early-stage funding.

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