The Singaporean startup scene is HOT: Singaporean and Finnish entrepreneurs’ perspectives

FBC Corporate member Innovation House Finland in Singapore gives us an insight on startup scene.

Pete Karumo, Finnish, 10 years in Singapore,  Co-Founder of Innovation House Finland – Singapore

When I moved to Singapore ten years ago I wanted to start a business. I was told to go to Blk71 where I could meet fellow entrepreneurs and find out about the local startup scene. I was surprised to find just two house blocks, one of them was number 71 which gave the now-famous name. The whole area had only a handful of startups and – to put a number to it – the total available funding in the country was around $50m.

Ten years on, the startup area is still affectionately called Blk71 and a couple of buildings still look a bit run down but..don’t let this fool you!

In past five years Singapore has become one of the top startup hubs (if not #1!) in the world and Blk71 has grown to be THE innovation and entrepreneurship area in the country, bustling with hundreds of startups. It is a superstore of new businesses on probably any sector. The hot ones are all there: AI, cybersecurity, fintech, logistics, healthcare, wellness, e-commerce, to name a few.

The skyscrapers next door host all key government organizations to support the startups and drive international commerce. In number terms, the available funding (both public and private) has jumped to around $1.5Bn. Singapore has truly transformed itself again and brought about an entrepreneurship and innovation movement.

We at Innovation House Finland – Singapore, in the heart of Blk71, embrace this movement and offer Finnish/European high growth companies a launchpad to Singaporean and APAC markets as well as for innovators from ASEAN region to Europe via Finland.

As serial entrepreneurs we know that startups need all the help they can get in making it easy, fast and affordable to set up shop abroad. With ease of doing business, transparency and knowledge-sharing at its core, we make scaling up overseas an easy task by providing all tools for growing a company. ​


Jo Soh, Singaporean, Co-Founder of Innovation House Finland – Singapore, Managing Director of Mercatus Capital and Eight Mercatus

We formed a partnership with Innovation House Finland  (IHF), the fastest growing co-work platform in Finland whereby they provide a community driven “business home” concept with holistic wellbeing and smart working services. By partnering with IHF, we are able to cross pollinate our startup communities, entrepreneurs, innovators from ASEAN region to Europe via Finland, and at the same time, attract Finnish/European high growth and deep tech companies to Singapore.  We believe that providing a total immersive and thriving environment, coupled with the right eco-system is the key to success for our startups.

Mercatus Capital has been investing and mentoring startups in Singapore and the region since 2006.  More recently, as part of our rejuvenation process, we have launched a new initiative, Eight Mercatus, an innovative startup platform which provides a complete eco-system that helps startups grow and scale.


Elli Yli-Krekola, Community Manager – Master’s student in University of Helsinki, Finland, 2 months in Singapore

I came to Singapore in January to get an experience about living abroad, and to finish my master’s thesis. The sun, humidity and greenness felt really welcoming after Finland’s cold and dark winter. Singapore is definitely one of the most interesting places I’ve ever been – the multiculturalism and the mixture of futurism and nature are inspiring, and the climate makes you feel you’re on a holiday all the time. While enjoying everything in Singapore, I also get an unique experience in business world through Innovation House Finland in Singapore. After spending a few days in Innovation House Finland, it felt like a piece of Finland and home when I entered the office here. Not everyone gets to see how an intercontinental co-working community is built up and I’m really happy to get to be part of it!

Elli Yli-Krekola