Update: What drives Singapore youths?
Travelling back in time, a BusinessWeek article written in 2000 talks about the Singapore government trying to cultivate a Silicon Valley mindset amongst its population and it also profiled Cozzee.com , a local internet startup. Here's an excerpt:
"Having said that, the trends I am seeing in Singapore's Internet scene are heartening. People are slowly breaking away from old, conservative work habits, taking on new risks, and starting their own businesses — perhaps not at the same speed as in the U.S., but it is definitely happening. Cozzee's most surprising employee has been a middle-aged woman who didn't know the first thing about the Internet before joining us. Yet somehow, she instinctively grasps our ideas about Cozzee's potential as an online reverse marketplace that harnesses cutting-edge technology, and she has become a gem of a saleswoman for us."
Fast forward 2006 and it seems Singapore is still mired in the premordial tide pool of internet startups if we count the amount of investment that was pumped into the local IT scene and the returns on this investment. Its no wonder so many local VCs are so conservative and pessimistic about the local industry after having been burned less than 5 years ago.
But here's another article from Silicon Valley's serial-entrepreneur-turned-VC Kamran Elahian on creating a Silicon Valley in Singapore. Some interesting facts involving Phillip Yeo's ill-fated $5 million venture in Kamran's Momenta.
On a somewhat cheerier note, here's some pictures on what could be considered Singapore's Silicon Valley:
Clarke Quay in the Central Business District of Singapore
And Suntec City – marketed as Asia's Vertical Silicon Valley