KL not ranked in Top 30 cities but takes 11th spot in emerging startup ecosystems

  • KL’s startup ecosystem valued at US$15bil versus global average of US$10.5bil
  • Ranked 4th emerging ecosystem in Asia-Pacific, gaming & fintech strong sub-sectors

KL not ranked in Top 30 cities but takes 11th spot in emerging startup ecosystems

The Global Startup Ecosystem Report 2020 (GSER2020) by Startup Genome was launched last week in San Francisco, unveiling its research findings based on data from 1 million companies across 150+ cities worldwide.

First launched in 2012 the annual report looks at the top 20 cities in the world with startup ecosystems, though in 2019 it expanded this to the top 30 cities while compiling reports on 150 ecosystems versus 60 that is used to cover.

Kuala Lumpur has not made the Top 20 or Top 30 list yet where Startup Genome usually partners with an in-country party to help it compile the necessary data. This year however, in Jan, it sent an executive to be its feet, eyes and ears on the ground.

Malaysia first partnered with Startup Genome in 2017 & 2018 through Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre (MaGIC) before KL dropped out from the list in 2019. For 2020, the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) partnered Startup Genome to benchmark KL’s performance against more than 250 ecosystems globally.

The highlights for Kuala Lumpur was with the city being ranked:

  • Top 10 Emerging Ecosystem in Performance
  • Top 20 Emerging Ecosystem in Talent

In addition, the report positioned Kuala Lumpur as an ideal locale for startups, citing low costs, high quality of living and talent, fast-tracked visas and robust government support as prime reasons for entrepreneurs to either start or move their businesses to Malaysia.

Surina Shukri, CEO of MDEC, attributed the positive rankings of Kuala Lumpur to the entrepreneurial vigour of local startup founders and the astuteness of the ecosystem players, which are aptly positioning Malaysia as the Heart of Digital ASEAN.

“We will not rest on our laurels and will remain steadfast in propelling Malaysia’s startup ecosystem to attain global recognition in the economic epicentres of every continent,” added Surina.

The GSER 2020 also provides guidance to public and private leaders on how to foster thriving startup ecosystems, particularly on how governments worldwide can support and leverage tech ecosystems to restart stalling economies recovering from the Covid-19 lockdowns.

“This is the time for policymakers, community leaders and foundations to double their support on local startups — the #1 engine of job creation and economic growth,” said JF Gauthier, founder & CEO of Startup Genome, adding that the various parties must come together to identify what policies actually produce economic impact and in what context.

Find out how the entrepreneurial ecosystems across the world stack up by viewing the full report.


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