Re-visiting Startup Nation in 2017: What can Singapore learn from Israel?

Alexandru Robu
Re-visiting Startup Nation in 2017: What can Singapore learn from Israel?

Startup Nation was published 8 years ago and in hindsight, it is clear there is one path for success

Singapore is gearing itself up to become the next Startup Nation. Does this ring a bell? Yes, the tiny red dot is following the model of Israel, arguably the world’s best start up nation. As we put Israel into the magnifying glass, the model that Singapore supposes to follow, we discover a whole new trend all together.

Data protection is the best foot forward

Israel is indeed a land of startups, with over 544 startup companies offering cyber security services, according to data from Startup Nation Organization.

These cyber security companies are also more lucrative compared to other fields such as fintech, transportation, e-commerce and digital-healthcare. According to Startup National Organization, the Israelis cyber-security firms attracted around US$847.3 million in investments so far this year, far eclipsing the next competitor, fintech at US$402.3 million.

Why is investment heading towards cybersecurity firms?

Having an increasing inter-connected world of nodes, an aspiring Startup Nation must first secure its data, encrypt sensitive information, protect intellectual property and do all of this before reaping the profits from various commercial operations. That’s the reason why cybersecurity firms have gotten more funding than the e-commerce and various financial technology startups.

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In 2015, the cyber attacks have been increased by 38 per cent year-on-year or with an average of 161,927 attacks per day according to data gathered Startup National Organization. This figure is likely to grow yearly, as with more cyberattacks expected to cost business at an average cost of US$3.58 million per year. Plus, there is increasing attacks on government agencies on a daily basis at an alarming rates.

It was estimated to the total costs of cyber-crime to the global economy at around US$375-575 billion yearly.

Windfall investment for cyber-security firms

With much demands on cyber-security services,  firms have become a darling among investors, especially in Israel. Cybersecurity firms drew 15 per cent of the world’s investment meant in the sector. Furthermore, among the world’s top ten cybersecurity firms, two of them hailed from Israel, Check Point and Cyber Ark. They have a net worth of US$1.6 billion and US$1.8 billion respectively.

Having received much accolades for cybersecurity investment, Israel has become the home of R&D centres for global brand names like IBM, Oracle, Microsoft, Amazon and Citibank. Collectively, the Israeli-based cyber security firms accounted 5 per cent of the global market share, second only to the US.

The moral of story for a Startup Nation wannabee?

Following the shadows of the trail-blazing Israel, the first step for cementing a Startup Nation seems to be to focus on the security issues first. The more secured the platform, the more confidence it gives talented programmers, and thus, allows them to become more creative when developing new programmes.

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These new programmes need to be protected and be made safe from hacking to preserve data integrity.  Given the lucrative market for the cybersecurity sector Singapore must focus on becoming a cybersecurity powerhouse — then the other markets will find room to grow.

Copyright: silverjohn / 123RF Stock Photo

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