Venture capital (VC) raised in 2022 amounted to a record high of 0.32 per cent of Malta’s GDP, more than quadruple that raised in 2021, when it stood at 0.07 per cent of GDP. This puts Malta firmly in 10th place among other European countries, ahead of the Netherlands (0.29 per cent) and behind Lithuania (0.38 per cent). Estonia continues to lead the way, coming first with 3.59 per cent of its GDP being raised being VC, up more than one per cent compared to 2019, according to the latest State of European Tech report.
This demonstrates an increasingly dynamic start-up ecosystem in Malta. At present, there is one Malta-based unicorn (a business with a valuation of more than one billion euros), VistaJet, and 2021 also featured a Maltese co-founder of a US-based unicorn, SmartAsset.
This increased dynamism is also reflected in the Government’s actions, which in 2022 held its second Start in Malta festival, a two-day event by Malta Enterprise focused on fostering a start-up ecosystem bringing together investors, founders, and up-and-coming entrepreneurs.
This year Malta also launched a start-up residency programme for non-EU nationals, a three-year residence permit, extendable for an additional five years, during which beneficiaries are able to reside in Malta while launching their start-up venture.
Malta also ranks seventh when it comes to how many start-ups there are per capita, with 624 start-ups per million, right behind Denmark and ahead of Switzerland, almost three times the European average of 269 start-ups per million.
With the incentives in place and growing interest in Malta as an investment destination for start-ups, it’s increasingly possible that Malta will have another unicorn in the coming years, with the right regulatory framework in place and when the global economy starts stabilising.
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