If you wanted to launch your own tech startup as little as five years ago, you needed deep pockets and extensive knowledge on how to build every element of your business—from HR systems to communications to payments infrastructure. Today, building a successful business is far less onerous and expensive. You no longer need to spend precious developer resources on engineering projects that aren’t core to your product, nor a hefty amount of capital.
Instead, startups are now being propelled by an ecosystem of cloud tools that make the fundamental aspects of starting and scaling a business a lot easier and more affordable. Stripe recently partnered with a host of VCs, startup hubs, and accelerators in Singapore—including SeedPlus, Jungle Ventures, Golden Gate Ventures, General Assembly, and 500 Startups—to survey startups in order to better understand how this phenomenon was impacting Singapore’s startup economy.
Our survey ultimately uncovered the Startup Stack, a set of around 150 cloud-based tools that are helping startups to scale on a pay-as-you-grow basis. With these cloud-based tools, Singapore’s entrepreneurs can grow faster and do more with fewer resources. In fact, 93 percent reported that these tools have made starting a business cheaper, and 97 percent said that these tools have made it easier to launch a tech startup in Singapore.
Here are my three key takeaways from the study:
1. The rulebook for starting and running a business has completely changed
Tools like Slack, AWS, GitHub, Stripe, and Google Analytics have become a central part of startups’ armoury as they look to minimise developer focus on non-core functions of the business, such as hosting, payroll and payments.
From day one, entrepreneurs are able to access the same software as larger businesses, all on a pay-as-you grow basis. With AWS, for example, a business launched today would have access to the same service as a Fortune 500 company.
2. By lowering the barriers to entrepreneurship, local businesses are able to expand internationally faster than ever
The Startup Stack is helping businesses go global fasterㄧsix out of ten Singaporean startups are already selling internationally. And of those that are not already selling internationally, half intend to go global in the next year. Nearly all the startups surveyed (94 percent) said that they believe using cloud-based software has made it quicker to go global from Singapore.
A great example of this is inventory and order management startup TradeGecko. TradeGecko’s mission is to empower every commerce entrepreneur to build the business of their dreams. Founded in February 2012 in Singapore, TradeGecko is already serving over 15,000 users in 90 countries from offices in Singapore, Toronto and Manila. TradeGecko has relied on the Startup Stack—including Slack, Xero and Stripe—to power this international growth and collaboration between their global teams.
3. Cloud tools are enabling the creation of entirely new business models
Cloud tools are also enabling startups in Singapore to disrupt existing industries for the better, and create entirely new business models. This even applies to seemingly ‘offline’ industries, such as elderly care. Homage is a great example of a Singaporean startup that has used the Startup Stack to change how we think about healthcare.
Cloud-based software has been central in Homage’s ability to create a technology platform that seamlessly connects caregivers with those in need. The technology platform has enabled these caregivers to move away from a fixed schedule model, to an on-demand session model which empowers those in need of care to make better choices, and ultimately lead a more fulfilling life.
Startups like TradeGecko and Homage really show how companies no longer need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to the basic building blocks of their businesses. Instead, they are able to focus their resources on what matters: building a great product, building a great team, at scale.
With the support of the Startup Stack, it’s never been easier to convert a great idea into a great business. Two thirds of the startups we surveyed (64%) believe that they could not have launched their businesses from Singapore as little as five years ago. By removing the barriers to starting and scaling a business, entrepreneurship around the world is being democratised. I’m truly excited to see what the next five years will hold!
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