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“I find it hard to talk about what I do. Some people would find it crazy,” says one entrepreneur. Adds another: “I psych myself up when I run. That’s how I deal with things.”

Theirs and 150 other anonymous responses were captured in a survey on Singapore startup founders last year, which found that two in three founders have poor mental health, three out of four are easily irritated, and seven out of 10 have difficulty maintaining close relationships as a result of running a start-up.

Even so, the siren song of the start-up life has charmed thousands, with the republic’s start-up count quadrupling from some 1,000 players in 2014 to over 4,000 in 2020, according to PwC.

What kind of person would give up the secure embrace of a corporate role to strike it out scrappily in today’s prestige-driven nation?

Related: How these buzzy start-ups are reshaping the fashion industry