Category Archives: General Articles

Overview of The Global Startup Ecosystem

This article offers an overview of the global startup ecosystem and looks at a wide range of cities that dominate ecosystems in each region. While some areas are flushed with venture capital funding and others are in the process of breaking through infrastructure and technological problems for a spot on the table, the global startup ecosystem as a whole shows how innovation and growth pockets all around the world are evolving in different ways. This mini-guide will delve within each region as set out on our annual Global Ecosystem Report and highlight notable players and fast-evolving ecosystem developers in each area. 

Are you interested in startup innovation and entrepreneurship? You can access more reports on global and regional economic development as well as our new Coronavirus Innovation Map that shows the best countries fighting the pandemic and facilitating new developments in the pandemic era.

North America 

North America is without a doubt the Queen of the global startup scene, with 412 startup ecosystems represented in our annual report. The majority of the ecosystems (383) are from the United States; they are also by far the top contender globally in the area of startups and innovation. Following the trend of the last couple of years, the United States stands comfortably above other ecosystems in terms of strength and entrepreneurship mentality. 

The United States has also shown high adaptability during the period of the pandemic, claiming the first stop in our Coronavirus Innovation Map, and especially within the ecosystem of San Francisco. Canada (ranked 4th globally) is the second strongest support player in the region with 29 ecosystems present in the Top 1000 report. A number of notable companies have started in Canada, like software and messaging service Slack.

Overview of North America region by numbers: 

Cities in the Top 1000: 412 

Countries in The Top 100: 3

Most powerful regional ecosystem: United States 

Ecosystem overperforming in certain vertical: Edmonton, Canada massively overperforming in the vertical of energy and environment in place 25 (from 91 ranking overall) 

Overall trend in the North American region: Continued dominant presence of the United States and steady growth of supporting ecosystem players.

Asia Pacific 

In contrast to Europe that has remained relatively stable, the region of Asia Pacific is showing massive growth potential in the near future that will bring huge momentum to the area. Australia is another strong supporting player in the ecosystem that in some ways resembles Canada in the North American ecosystem, but is yet to be able to compete against the giants and needs to keep growing. This region is one of the most diverse in its players, with strong economies like that of Japan and Singapore, and emerging ecosystems in countries like the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia that were until recently seen as outsourcing destinations. 

Singapore, Taiwan, Australia and South Korea, Japan and the Philippines are notably also present in the Coronavirus Innovation Map as countries that have led the fight against the pandemic with innovative solutions. Taiwan, in particular, had a spectacular year, with renewed support from the government and public sector and digital solutions in the areas of technology and health during the pandemic. Manila is also pushing for a spot as one of the top-performing ecosystems in the region and the introduction of the Innovation Startup Act, will surely support and push growth in education and innovation across the country and remove obstacles to operation and expansion.

Overview of Asia Pacific region by numbers: 

Cities in the Top 1000: 118 

Countries in The Top 100: 19

Most powerful regional ecosystem: Australia

Ecosystem overperforming in certain vertical: Sunshine Coast, Australia, overperforming in the vertical of foodtech in place 55 (from 259th); Kyoto, Japan, overperforming in the vertical of hardware in 95th position (from 251st); Taipei City, Taiwan, massively overperforming in the hardware vertical in an impressive 8th position (from 42nd); Manila, Philippines, overperforming in the vertical of education in position 36th (from 88th). 

Overall trend in the Asia Pacific region: Very well-positioned for future growth, with a strong focus to the West and domestic markets in China and India. Cultural mindset slowly geared towards more open economies. 

Read More: Startup Ecosystem Guide Asia


This is a region that can be characterized as one of the best ranking ecosystems as a whole with top-performing players concentrated in certain regions that continue to perform admirably. Historically Europe has never created a massive startup corporation in the style of Amazon or Apple and Microsoft but there are high hopes that this is changing. While there is potential for it to become a dominant region in the startup ecosystem scene it is not yet able to compete with the giants and challenge the authority of the USA, as China has in recent years. Smaller countries, especially in the Baltics are also slowly emerging and showing their strength, especially in the vertical of fintech, like Kyiv in Ukraine that is a powerhouse of developers. One of the biggest obstacles in the European ecosystem is its top ranking players are not part of the European Union. The United Kingdom has taken 2nd place in this year’s Global Ecosystem Report, and there are no signs of another regional ecosystem being a strong contender following Brexit.

Similarly, Israel and especially Tel Aviv, although not geographically part of Europe (it is grouped under Middle East and Africa in the annual report) is a key member of many transnational frameworks in Europe and has strong economic and trade relations. Overall, this signifies the inability of the European Union to accommodate startup business ventures and lack of government support and bureaucratic frameworks can slow things down significantly. 

Overview of Europe region by numbers: 

Cities in the Top 1000: 339

Countries in The Top 100: 45

Most powerful regional ecosystem: United Kingdom 

Ecosystem overperforming in certain vertical: Slovenia is greatly overperforming in the vertical of foodtech in place 11th (from 35th); Moscow already ranked high in global 9th place is overperforming in verticals of health (5th) energy (5th) and education (2nd); Vilnius in Lithuania is also overperforming in most verticals in the 75th position overall and with strong verticals in hardware (17th), fintech (29th) and marketing (26th). 

Overall trend in Europe: The overall key players in Europe remain relatively stable and there is a lot of movement in Eastern Europe and the Baltics with ecosystems particularly strong in fintech and a focus on flexible government frameworks and startup visas.

Read More: Startup Ecosystem Guide Europe

Latin America & Caribbean 

The startup ecosystem scene in Latin America and the Caribbean showed signs of slowing down with a lot of regional hubs like Lima, Rio de Janeiro and Bogota dropping in the rankings. While the unfilled potential in the region is evident there are a lot of new cities and countries joining the startup scene and awareness from regional players is also opening up.

With the government and public support placing importance on development and innovation, the future for Latin America and the Caribbean shows very positive signs. One advantage of the Latin America region has always been the shared language with Spain as an entryway to the European market. Brazil and specifically the city of Sao Paulo that has climbed to the 18th position globally, is the strongest country in the ecosystem, with 29 cities present in the Top 1000 report and strong efforts to reduce bureaucracy and relax regulations for entrepreneurs. At the same time, Chile is also actively building their “Startup Chile” programme and working on attracting foreign investors and entrepreneurs in their ecosystem, an example that is being copied by other regional ecosystems. In addition, major international corporations like e-commerce giant Mercado Libre and tech startup Rappi are two of the massive companies that show the potential of South America. 

Overview of Latin America and Caribbean region by numbers: 

Cities in the Top 1000: 76

Countries in The Top 100: 15

Most powerful regional ecosystem: Brazil 

Ecosystem overperforming in certain vertical: On a country level the Chile and Argentina ecosystem are massively overperforming in areas of energy and ecommerce respectively; while on the city level the ecosystem of Sao Paulo (18th globally) and Mexico City (53rd globally) are leaping in the vertical of fintech (17th and 21st respectively). Cali, Colombia, is massively overperforming in the vertical of hardware with a ranking of 103rd from a 330th globally. 

Overall trend in Latin America and Caribbean: A lot of strong regional players supporting the Latin America and Caribbean ecosystem that is supported by the presence of Brazil, Chile and Argentina.  

Middle East and Africa 

Incredibly diverse and with signs of great potential, Africa and the Middle East is one region that can drive massive developments. Israel is the strongest player in the ecosystem with a significant difference between its ranking in place 3rd position globally and the runner-up in the region, United Arab Emirates, at 43rd. The United Arab Emirates is also the only ecosystem in the Middle East and Africa, outside of Israel to make it to the top 50 list. Overall, the startup scene here is performing on two fronts, trying to build new ways of doing things while at the same catering to and fixing existing and painful problems within the system. While progress is slow, most of the startup ecosystems in Africa and the Middle East were non-existent a few years ago and are moving towards the right direction. 

For some regional players like Cape Verde, a strong public sector commitment has been integral to the development of the local ecosystem. Somalia and the growing ecosystem of Mogadishu is another pertinent example of innovation and movement during tough economic conditions, proving the enthusiasm and drive of the local ecosystem developers and entrepreneurs. The most successful fintech startup in Africa, the Kenyan M-Pesa, is still celebrated more than 10 years later, for the ways it disrupted the way people transferred money and made leaps for the African ecosystem. With improvements in internet penetration and VC interest, tech hubs are growing stronger in Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Ethiopia and many others. 

Overview of the Middle East and Africa region by numbers: 

Cities in the Top 1000: 55

Countries in The Top 100: 20

Most powerful regional ecosystem: Israel 

Ecosystem overperforming in certain vertical: On the city level, Nairobi, Kenya is overperforming in a range of verticals from a global 116th position to 74th in e-commerce, 60th in energy and 63rd in fintech; Lagos is another strong regional player in e-commerce ranking 50th from a 127th globally. 

Overall trend in Middle East and Africa: Great things are happening in the background even if they are not yet in top positions. Developers and entrepreneurs often have to overcome political and economic stability and lack of infrastructural developments.

StartupBlink organizes monthly pitching events focusing on one startup ecosystem at a time that is looking for foreign investors. Connect with other entrepreneurs and local ecosystem thought leaders. Join us here

The Contributors Programme – StartupBlink Internship Opportunities

StartupBlinks Contributors Programme offers recent graduates, students and general ecosystem fans the opportunity to gain direct experience with data research in the fields of business and startup innovation. This will be a one-of-a-kind academic and career programme and will give you the chance to be part of a remote and global team of passionate professionals. 

StartupBlink releases the most comprehensive annual report of startup ecosystems, ranking 100 countries and 1000 cities. We owe a great deal to our team of dedicated contributors for their help in accomplishing this report.

We are always looking for new Data Research interns to support our team. All eligible candidates can submit their application through the form at the bottom of this article.

StartupBlink Internship

What We Offer 

  • Prepare for the competitive job market with continuous professional development
  • Gan rich research knowledge on the field of startups and data analysis
  • Be part of our dedicated Telegram channel where you can ask questions and connect with other industry professionals 
  • Build a compelling Linkedin profile and enhance your CVs with practical work experience to stay in the cutting-edge of your industry. 
  • Join our monthly team building calls, including periodic calls with StartupBlink’s top leadership. 
  • Feature as an intern in the “Data Research Interns” section of StartupBlink’s Global Ecosystem Report, that is shared with dozens of public sector officials and startup ecosystem developers around the world. 
  • Feature in the “About” section of StartupBlink’s website until a month after leaving the organization.
  • LinkedIn recommendation from StartupBlink’s CEO (upon request).

The internship is also open to organizations and universities. Contact us directly to discuss your needs here.

What you will be doing 

As a leader in the space of startup research analysis and ecosystem support, StartupBlink is committed to strengthening our diverse pool of future ecosystem developers in areas of innovation and technology. You will directly help us on the research of startups across different locations with the final goal of having the most accurate and robust information on our map and 2021 Global Startup Ecosystem Report. Interns will gain insight into the technical and administrative operations of StartupBlink, with free access to our knowledge base and the opportunity to impact decisions on relocation and investments across the globe. 

There will be a variety of projects to pick from based on your interests and current events. You will be compiling and analyzing data from our global network of startup ecosystems to ensure the most accurate information is presented. StartupBlink is also involved in vertical projects in specific industries like our latest Coronavirus Innovation Map, showcasing cities and countries leading the fight against the pandemic.

StartupBlink Projects

StartupBlink has overseen and launched projects with current and new partners to develop accurate ecosystem maps with information that will help developers make relocation and financial decisions. Some of the projects we have worked on are: 

Startup Blink Ecosystem Map – Following a successful pilot in 2015, the Startup Ecosystem map is an interactive platform with data on hundreds of startups, coworking spaces, accelerators, investors and so much more, from across the globe.  

Covid Innovation Map – The Coronavirus Innovation Map is a collaboration project with the Health Innovation Exchange by UNAIDS and Moscow Agency of Innovations. It highlights notable ecosystems that are paving the way in the fight against the pandemic in the fields of diagnostics, prevention, treatment, life and business adaptation and grant and support initiatives. You can access the full Covid-19 Innovation report here

Learn more about the work we do on our “About us” page.

StartupBlink Internship: What do we look for in an intern?

  • Interest in everything startup related, especially ecosystem-wise, and a high level of motivation!
  • Working-level of English.
  • At least 50 hours of collaboration, in a span of 2 to 4 months.

Some of our Data Research Contributors

StartupBlink Contributors Programme

Fortune Chuku is passionate about open innovation and technology adoption research in developing economies. He is the founder of Techative, a tech, and startup news portal based in Nigeria. Fortune holds a bachelor’s degree in Electronic Product Design from the University of Hull, UK, and a master’s degree in Information Systems from the American University of Nigeria.

Startup Blink Contributors Programme

Jack Hoang holds a commerce degree from Ryerson University and is currently studying Software Development. With a background in IT and research, Jack has focused on research topics such as ecosystems sustaining innovation, and user-adoption on project management tools. 

Pooja - Startup Blink Contributors Programme

Pooja Thakker is a research scholar with the heart of an entrepreneur. Fervent about start-ups, published several research papers on start-ups and its ecosystem and has a passion to promote innovation ecosystem. Currently pursuing doctoral studies in Management from Nirma University, India and on the journey to find key players which play a crucial role in the emergence of innovation ecosystem for developing countries.

To read more about our contributors you can browse our About page.

Selection Process 

All application submissions are stored in our database and evaluated by hiring managers. Shortlisted individuals will be contacted by StartupBlink on the email they have supplied in their form.

There is no set number of positions for Data Research interns available per season. Individuals interested in working on the Global Ecosystem Report should apply before January 15th. Applications for the StartupBlink Internship are approved based on business needs.

If you’re interested in this great opportunity, please contact us through this form.

Vilnius Startup Ecosystem: Overview and Insights

Vilnius, the capital and largest city of Lithuania, has a relatively unknown startup ecosystem that is on the fast track to becoming one of the key players in the region and has managed to achieve tremendous growth in a very small period of time. Currently the second-best ranked ecosystem in the Baltics, according to our latest Startup Ecosystem Ranking Report for 2020, Vilnius is well-positioned between neighbouring Russia, Scandinavia and Central Europe countries to establish itself as an emerging tech hub. 

This article will provide an overview of the Vilnius startup ecosystem, explore insights from our recent Global Ecosystem report and provide an analysis of the challenges and strengths currently present. 

Click here for Vilnius rankings in the Startup Blink Global map. 

Are you interested in startup innovation and entrepreneurship? You can access the Startup Blink Ecosystem Ranking Report of 2020 that ranks 1,000 cities in 100 countries worldwide here with insights on global and regional economic development. Don’t miss the Coronavirus Innovation Map that shows the best countries fighting the pandemic and facilitating new developments in the covid-19 era.

Overview of Vilnius Startup Ecosystem – The City 

Vilnius is a small city of 552,000 people known for its baroque architecture, laid back charm and relatively low cost of living. But one really needs to visit Vilnius first to understand the cultural drive, level of enthusiasm and atmosphere of innovation that powers the ecosystem and creates solutions for technology to be used to make life better.

Capitalizing on its obscurity, Vilnius has made headlines with tourism destination slogans such as the award-winning ‘Vilnius – the G-spot of Europe’ campaign, and the more recent ‘Vilnius: Amazing Wherever You Think It Is”. Primarily aimed at European tourists, the campaign led to a tourism increase of 12.5% according to CNN and put Vilnius on the map as a holiday destination.

This quirky, bold and fearless culture of Vilnius, has also appealed to startup founders and overseas investors that are drawn to the vibrant and close-knit community on offer both in the private and public sectors. In particular, the public sector support in the field of startup innovation has created a friendly and open regulatory system for businesses that as Inga Romanovskienė, Director of Go Vilnius has said, creates “… a city with a startup mindset – an extremely fertile soil for a startup scene to thrive.”. 

In terms of talent, the maturity of the ecosystem is also progressing at a fast pace, with one of the highest concentrations of highly skilled developers for a country of its size, boosting the local ecosystem. The rapid growth alone is a true testament to the presence of an experienced, and marketing-oriented technical talent pool in Vilnius.

Insights from data on Vilnius

As a young startup ecosystem that has been established only in the last 10 years, Vilnius has managed to increase its ranking for yet another year, with a leap of 10 spots, to sit at a global rank of 75. In Europe and the Middle East region, Vilnius is in the 24th position and is greatly overperforming in the verticals of e-commerce, fintech, hardware, marketing and transportation. As the largest ecosystem in the country, this has led to a positive increase for the Lithuanian startup ecosystem as a whole, that is currently ranked in number 15 globally, just two spots below neighbouring Estonia. 

The main vertical focus in Lithuania is fintech, with revolutionary industry practices and considerable effort put forward investments and upgrading of local regulations that have created huge incentives for entrepreneurship activity. With a number 4 place in the Global Fintech Index, and Vilnius ranking 5th in the EU, Lithuania has cemented its position as an emerging European hub, with progressive regulations, a Fintech sandbox and more than 100 Fintech startups in the country. The lack of bureaucratic red tape and complicated paperwork has also earned Lithuania the 11th place in the world for ease of doing business, according to the World Bank’s annual rankings. Lithuania has also recently celebrated its first-ever unicorn, Vinted, showing its tech industry potential both regionally and globally.

Startup Visa in Vilnius

Launched in 2017, the Startup Visa Lithuania is a government initiative and one of the many proactive steps taken that have strengthened the startup ecosystem and attracted foreign investors. Interested parties will find a streamlined and hassle-free process to guide you through relocating and accessing legal, administrative and government support to ensure the smoothest integration.

Notable Startups in Vilnius 

Vinted is the largest online international C2C marketplace in Europe, dedicated to pre-loved fashion, with a growing member base of 25 million users spanning 12 markets. In 2019, it became the first startup born in Vilnius to reach unicorn status.

Citybee started in Vilnius as the first carsharing business in the CEE and has now grown to provide users with access to many different modes of transport, such as e-scooters, bicycles, passenger cars, and cargo vans.

MailerLite– provides an intuitive powerful email marketing solution backed by world class support. In 2019, SaaS Magazine recognized MailerLite as the 5th fastest growing SaaS business worldwide

Vilnius Startup Ecosystem - Tesonet Company

Tesonet– One of the largest Lithuanian startups operating in Vilnius and potential next unicorn even though the company does not attract investors. Tesonet provides expert services in cybersecurity and digital products and has a large team of more than 500+. 

Important Players in the Vilnius Startup Ecosystem 

Vilnius Tech Park – one of the largest tech parks in the Baltics and a marvelous initiative in a beautiful location of more than 9 thousand square meters. Originally the palace of the Lithuanian noble family, the site was repurposed and used as a military hospital until the Vilnius City Municipality transformed it into a center of innovation. It brings together a hub of coworking spaces, accelerators and global companies

Go Vilnius – the official development agency of the City of Vilnius, is focused, among other things, on supporting visitors, investors and relocating entrepreneurs. 

Vilnius Universityan active participant of the startup ecosystem and with over 17,000 students Vilnius University has close partnerships with businesses that draw on its talent pool through recruiting events, internships and trainings. The university also runs specific “Innovation Support Services”. 

Enterprise Lithuaniaa non-profit agency operating under the Ministry of Economy and Innovation and important supporter and facilitator of the startup ecosystem in Lithuania. 

Startup Lithuaniapowered by Enterprise Lithuania, the governmental institution, which aims to support business establishment, entrepreneurship and fosters export. (Source: Startup Lithuania) 

Summing Up

It is always interesting to see relatively smaller ecosystems flourish despite their size and population. Vilnius is one of those ecosystems that continue to improve as years goes by. 

This Baltic City’s growth was not overnight, it was the combination of the growing enthusiasm for entrepreneurship and the government’s support that is slowly pushing Vilnius in the limelight. 

With programs such as the Startup Museum and several startup support systems, we only expect to see further growth in Vilnius in the coming years.

StartupBlink organizes monthly pitching events focusing on one startup ecosystem at a time that is looking for foreign investors. Connect with other entrepreneurs and local ecosystem thought leaders. Join us here

EP-10: Startup Ecosystem Latest Trends (The StartupBlink Ecosystem Summit)

In the second episode of a three-part series taken from the StartupBlink Ecosystem Summit event (October 27th 2020), the StartupBlink team host a panel discussion on Startup Ecosystem Latest Trends, featuring Adrien Henni (EWDN), Andrew Berkowitz (Zwile Media) & Valto Loikkanen (Startup Commons).

The StartupBlink Ecosystem Summit is a quarterly gathering of some of the world’s foremost experts and leaders in ecosystem development, and offers a forum for learning and knowledge-sharing on what it takes to create an environment where entrepreneurship flourishes

StartupBlink is the world’s most comprehensive startup ecosystem map and research center, working with more than 50 municipalities and governments worldwide. Its global startup ecosystem map has tens of thousands of registered startups, coworking spaces, and accelerators, creating a robust sample of innovation globally.

Looking for more data on startup ecosystems?

Don’t forget to take a look at the StartupBlink Pro Account to receive access to extensive analysis tools to support your research and decision-making process.

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A Startup Ecosystem Guide: Asia

The Asian startup ecosystem is by far the largest and most populated in the world, with a fast-growing economy and the highest continental GDP. 

The ethos of the Asian startup ecosystem is influenced by its vast geographical area that spans more than 45 countries, and a steadily increasing middle class. This is especially evident in China and India which are set to dominate future market trends but also the overall staggering 87% of the emergent middle class by 2030 that is expected to come from Asia.  

It is evident that the startup ecosystems in Asia are steadily growing and showing massive potential for future growth even if they are not currently ranking at the top. 

This article will discuss the key features of the startup ecosystem in Asia, with an overview of the strongest countries and cities in the region, as well as the broad limitations and strengths of the ecosystem. 

Are you interested in startup innovation and entrepreneurship? You can access more reports on global and regional economic development as well as our new Coronavirus Innovation Map that shows the best countries fighting the pandemic and facilitating new developments in the pandemic era.

Best Startup Countries in Asia 

The diversity of the thriving startup scene in Asia is reflected by the heterogeneity of the countries and ecosystems present in our latest 2020 Global Rankings Report. It includes 118 startup ecosystems represented in the Top 100 from 19 different countries. The top-ranking players comprise the billion population countries of China and India, the high-income nations of Australia, Singapore, and Japan, as well as smaller economies in Southeast Asia that are booming. Here are some of the countries that are consistently ranking at the top and growing in movement and momentum. 


China is a category of its own, with an inward-looking market that is in contrast to most other top-ranking ecosystems whose growth is attributed to their global network. With a strong focus on its consumer market, China has also become an attractive and lucrative option for foreign investors that want to base their companies in China or expand and target the Chinese domestic market specifically. The areas of deep tech, automation, robotics, and AI are most attractive to venture capitalists, even during the unprecedented times of the coronavirus outbreak. The strength of its domestic market, however, is also one of its biggest limitations, making it hard to attract international talent. Some of the fastest-growing startup ecosystems in 2020 were registered in China, with the cities of Shanghai, Shenzhen, Hangzhou, and Guangzhou showing meteoric jumps in the rankings. The economic integration of Hong Kong into the Chinese ecosystem is also set to bring changes to the startup scene with the preferential treatment and policy exemptions between Hong Kong and the US being renegotiated. 


Singapore has long been considered the powerhouse of the startup scene and innovation in Asia due to its stability and favourable business policies. Despite its small size and population, it has retained its reputation as a place to trade goods and has established and profitable international trading links. Supported by its geographical position, Singapore has invested heavily in its infrastructure creating a strong industrial and financial hub. Singapore is also rated 2nd in the world for ease of starting a business according to the World Bank, just slightly behind New Zealand, and boasts one of the most well-educated workforces in the world. The rapid growth of education in Singapore is a direct result of policy reform that values innovation and leadership, with ambitious standards, excellent teaching, and a desire for improvement and growth, especially in technological areas. In addition, Singapore has retained a multicultural and open dynamic, with a highly competitive job market and cost of living that people nevertheless seek, due to high-paying salaries and the highest quality of life in South East Asia. 

Fast-Growing Startup Cities in Asia  

In addition to the positive momentum of most Chinese cities, especially that of Beijing and Shanghai, and the ecosystem of Singapore, there are many top-performing regional players.

Taipei City 

Tapei has registered one of the most significant jumps in the rankings of our 2020 Global Report, moving by 208 spots to claim the 42nd position. The strong public sector and government support have catapulted Taipei City into the global startup scene, and the focus on growth and new solutions has never been more apparent than during the coronavirus crisis. Taipei introduced digital social innovation software and open data projects, combating the virus from a collaborative and information sharing perspective. With the highest internet speeds in the world, in addition to an increasing demographic of internet users, the tech-savvy population of Taiwan is also a source of high quality and well-educated tech and engineering talent. This has lead to continued interest from overseas investors in the region’s potential. Taiwan Tech Arena is one of the leading tech startup hubs in the country, offering new teams, accelerator programs, mentoring, and funding support. 


Manila is one of the most densely populated cities in the world, with more than 12 million citizens and the highest English proficiency in Asia after Singapore. In the last 20 years, the Philipines have slowly but steadily entered the tech startup industry, with companies springing up around the city from young entrepreneurs. The fast-rising middle class of the Philippines, and enthusiastically active younger generation of social media users, coupled with a low cost of living, offer great potential for the ecosystem. This is true both for foreign investors looking to base their companies there and tap into an affordable labor market but for local entrepreneurs as well. Having established a warm relationship with the West, Manila is a multicultural, friendly, and open startup ecosystem that welcomes foreign investors and has yet to take advantage of their domestic market, especially in the areas of fintech and agtech. The move from a freelancing and outsourcing to an entrepreneurship hub has been supported by multiple government programs including the recently signed into law, Innovation Startup Act, that will support and push growth in education and innovation across the country and remove obstacles to operation and expansion. In addition, the QBO Innovation Hub, established in collaboration with the public sector and the Department of Trade and Industry has established a strong presence in locations around the country, with startup and incubator programs and consultation services that allow entrepreneurs to navigate government regulations effectively. 

Top 50 Cities in Asia 

Strengths and Limitations of the Startup Ecosystem in Asia 

Overall, the startup ecosystem in Asia includes mature and developed ecosystems that are globally positioned and focused on the West, with a cultural mindset that is slowly becoming more open and very strong economies. 


The biggest barrier of entry for Asian ecosystems into the top leagues are the cultural elements of the countries when it comes to entrepreneurship. Specifically, risk aversion, conformity to traditional values, and hierarchy within businesses are all stalling the rate of growth. In addition, the focus on retaining a good reputation runs contrary to what the Silicon Valley mindset has built its empire on, with a strong fake it till you make it attitude that has not been adapted there. Fear of failure is a bigger motivating factor than success and so there is a slower and more cautious approach to new ideas. 

Risk Aversion 

On a mindset level, the attitude of entrepreneurs in the top-performing Asian hubs, including Singapore, China, and Japan, and also older and mature professionals in general, is somewhat risk averse. This creates a problematic situation for entrepreneurs to access mentoring and be part of an open and collaborative environment that can provide the necessary feedback for new ideas to come forward. In countries like India, a new cautiousness and fear of big risks has been observed, which may stem from previously easy access to funding and a desire to copy Silicon Valley practices. In contrast to previous generations of Indian entrepreneurs relied on dynamic solutions and perseverance despite the lack of capital and support systems. The pressure from family and parents to secure a stable salary through an established company rather than pursue entrepreneurship is another defining factor in places like Japan, whose government has taken steps to counteract the risk averse culture of its older demographic. 


The Asian ecosystem is also well-positioned in terms of its strengths, which can contribute to further development in the region.  

Digital Economy and Consumer Market 

The Southeast region of Asia in particular is in the midst of a digital revolution as consumers are embracing a new era where everything is accessible through the touch of a button. From increases in the use of mobile phones and internet connections to ride-sharing apps and online retailers, a range of new services and products are entering the market and being adopted at record speeds. Coupled with high population numbers and a young demographic that has eagerly embraced social media, governments, and businesses can do a lot to maximize the benefits of this era. Asia also accounts for a large percentage of the developing countries with a dynamic middle-class market that could account for almost 66% of the global population by 2030. 

Government Support 

The apprehension of previous years to forge new pathways in innovation instead of relying on traditional family-run firms and large cooperations is slowly waning off in the region. Most governments are collectively embracing new funding and support mechanisms that will allow business-oriented individuals to operate successfully and are removing obstacles that hinder the ease of being in business. The markets of Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam are growing in size and potential and taking advantage of their strong consumer market to launch programs that support the startup ecosystems in their regions. Developments in the infrastructure levels and a realignment towards attracting international talent rather than being freelance and outsourcing hubs are all clear signs of the region’s growth and long term potential that has yet to peak.