Photo: Kuala Lumpur skyline with the Petronas towers.

Islamic Finance

Kuala Lumpur top Islamic economy for percentage of female start-up founders, equal to NYC, Shanghai – study

Kuala Lumpur has been ranked joint second with New York City and Shanghai in a list of start-up ecosystems with the largest share of female founders, according to a new study.

The three cities have 22 to 24 percent of their start-ups founded by women, according to the 2019 Global Startup Ecosystem Report (GSER) from StartUp Genome in partnership with the Global Entrepreneurship Network.

Chicago tops the list with at least 25 percent of its start-ups founded by women.

The only other Islamic economy in the top 25 is Bahrain that was ranked joint ninth with Los Angeles and Busan. The three cities have 18 percent of their start-ups founded by women.

Istanbul came in at number 33 with 13 percent of female founders, and Lagos is 43rd with 11 percent. 

The report considers gender as one factor of inclusion to measure wealth disparity.


Overall, Silicon Valley is the top start-up ecosystem globally based on seven key criteria: performance, funding, market research, connectedness, talent, experience, and knowledge.

New York City comes in second, followed by London and Beijing on joint-third, with Boston rounding out the top five.

No Islamic economy is a top 30 global start-up ecosystem but the report puts Jakarta and Lagos as “challengers” that it says has “a real shot of making the list in the future”.

$220 BLN 

Globally, total venture capital investments reached a decade-high $220 billion in 2018, says the report.

Start-ups created $2.8 trillion in value between 2016 and 2018, a 20.6 percent increase from the previous period and more than double what it was five years ago.

This year’s GSER analyses 150 ecosystems versus 60 in 2018. It includes data on over 1 million companies and survey data from more than 10,000 start-up executives worldwide.

Apart from the StartUp Genome database, primary data sources include Crunchbase, BV, Orb Intelligence Inc, PitchBook, and Startup Compass Inc.

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