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Startup Bangladesh to give Taka 17 crore to 8 Startups

Dhaka, 16 March 2022: Startup Bangladesh, a flagship venture capital fund of ICT Division will give Taka 17 Crore to the country’s 8 startups under an initiative `Shotobarshe Shoto Asha’, launched earlier marking birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and 50 years of independence of Bangladesh.

With this second series of investments a total of Taka 34 crore were given to 15 startups so far to scale up their products and services and improve their qualities. Startup Bangladesh will give Taka 100 crore 50 startups to create entrepreneurs and employment in the country.

The announcement to give Taka 17 crore to 8 startups came at the second investment announcement ceremony under the initiative- `Shotobarshe Shoto Asha’ organized by Startup Bangladesh at BCC auditorium, Agargaon today.

Presided over by Managing Director of Startup Bangladesh Sami Ahmed, the function was addressed among others by State Minister for ICT Zunaid Ahmed Palak, H.E. Mustafa Osman Turan, Ambassador of Turkey to Bangladesh, Dr. Md Abdul Mannan PAA, Executive Director, Bangladesh Computer Council, Dr. Khandoker Azizul Islam,

Joint Secretary, ICT Division, Wahid Sharif President, BACCO.

The 8 companies and their startups are: 10 Minute School (edutech), Frontier Nutrition (food manufacture/nutrition), Hello Task (Consumer Service), iFarmer (agritech), Loop (logistics & supply chain management), Shuttle (transportation), Truck Lagbe (logistics & supply chain management), Zantrik (automotives).

Addressing as chief guest Zunaid Ahmed Palak said the government has been encouraging young talents to come up with quality and sustainable startups to develop a culture of innovation and startups.

“It (government) undertakes various initiatives including framing policies, formation of Startup Bangladesh venture capital fund and allocation of Taka 500 crore for it for flourishing startups,” he said adding with these initiatives a startup ecosystem has been developed in the country.

“Young Entrepreneurs & innovators are the pioneers in building the Digital Bangladesh and government has made youth Entrepreneurship agenda as one of the top priorities in its policies for future,” the ICT state minister said

He said the startups could play a vital role in addressing the market needs, which will serve as the foundation for far-reaching consequences in the GDP’s overall growth.

Dr. Md Abdul Mannan PAA, said the government’s various efforts will enable the nation to innovate faster, create new jobs, develop technical skills, and realize the goals of vision 2041. “We now want to put emphasize on building digital economy by flourishing ICT sector to help turn Bangladesh into a develop country 2041,” he said.

Mr. Sami Ahmed, Managing Director, Startup Bangladesh Limited added that Bangladesh holds the most promising opportunity for venture capital and private equity investments for Startup Industry in the region & that Startup Bangladesh Limited is committed towards fostering Entrepreneurship & build a sustainable Startup Ecosystem to position Bangladesh as the next Startup Hub of this region.

He also added that Startup Bangladesh will look forward to investing in Bangladeshi born seed to growth level Startups that has the potential to bring positive impact in the economy of Bangladesh.

LAMEA TANJIN TANHA BECOMES THE NATIONAL WINNER IN THE GLOBAL STUDENT ENTREPRENEUR AWARDS, BANGLADESH CHAPTER

Lamea Tanjin Tanha will go on to represent Bangladesh at the 2021-22 GSEA Global Finals in USA. HE/SHE will be competing against the top student entrepreneurs from around the world in the hopes of winning over US$50,000 in cash and donated prizes.

Entrepreneurs Organization Bangladesh has organized a competition Titled “6th EO Global Student Entrepreneur Awards Bangladesh 2021-22” with Startup Bangladesh Limited working as Strategic Partner. The final day of the program entailed the Grand Finale with Finalists pitching to win with their innovative ideas & a colorful closing ceremony held on the 23rd of February in the ICT Division, Agargaon, Dhaka.

Lamea Tanjin Tanha became the proud winner of the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA) National competition, a program of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization. She bested HIS/HER competitors with HIS/HER innovative TransEnd that HE/SHE runs while also attending college.

This local student entrepreneur will go on to represent Bangladesh at the 2021-22 GSEA Global Finals. HE/SHE will be competing against the top student entrepreneurs from around the world in the hopes of winning over US$50,000 in cash and donated prizes.

The Award program is designed to inspire students to start and grow entrepreneurial ventures. In order to qualify for this award contest, an individual has to be an undergraduate student and the owner of a for-profit/social enterprise structured (revenue generating) business that has operated for at least six consecutive months. Five student entrepreneurs from different universities have competed head to head in this finale against each other for this prestigious award.

Mr. Zunaid Ahmed Palak MP, Honorable State Minister for ICT Division, Government of Bangladesh graced the event as Chief Guest. N M Zeaul Alam PAA, Sr. Secretary ICT Division was present as Special guest. MD. Altaf Hossain, Project Director & Joint Secretary, iDEA & Mr. Sami Ahmed, Managing Director, Startup Bangladesh Limited was present as Guest of Honor. Mr. Mike Kazi, EO president & Sharif Zahir, GSEA Chair & Farian Yusuf, President Elect, EO Bangladesh and Vice Chairman Paragon Ceramics Ltd. also spoke at the grand Finale. The jury for the grand finale was Madiha Morshed, Managing Director, Ascent Group, Faatin Haque, Chairperson, Trade Design Solutions Ltd, Hasan A Arif- head of portfolio, Startup Bangladesh, Zareen Mahmud Hosein, Director Shasha Denims Ltd, Asif Zahir, deputy managing director Ananta group.

Speaking as the chief guest, Mr. Zunaid Ahmed Palak MP, Honorable State Minister for ICT Division, said, “Young Entrepreneurs & innovators are the pioneers in building the Digital Bangladesh and Govt has made youth Entrepreneurship agenda as one of the top priorities in its policies for future. We believe by fostering youth entrepreneurship we can ensure the growth of future generations. We believe young innovators & entrepreneurs could play a crucial role in addressing the market needs, which will serve as the foundation for far-reaching consequences in the GDP’s overall growth.”

He also shared that; the Government created a national entrepreneurship platform to support the startup ecosystem. He further added that Startup Bangladesh Ltd. could bridge the gap between the startups and their potentials with required capital financing. He also praised EO Bangladesh for running such a platform to inspire young entrepreneurs.

Mr. N M Zeaul Alam PAA, Sr. Secretary ICT Division commented that, Bangladesh has already made good progress in developing the entrepreneurship & startup ecosystem and vowed to support the ecosystem through strategic coaching and networking through initiatives by ICT Division.

Mr. Sami Ahmed, Managing Director, Startup Bangladesh Limited added that Bangladesh holds the most promising opportunity for venture capital and private equity investments for Startup Industry in the region & that Startup Bangladesh Limited is committed towards fostering Entrepreneurship & build a sustainable Startup Ecosystem to position Bangladesh as the next Startup Hub of this region. He also added that Startup Bangladesh will look forward to partner with EO Bangladesh to work towards building Investor Network that can benefit the Bangladesh Startup Ecosystem

Mr. Mike Kazi, EO president while talking about the growth of ICT Industry in Bangladesh Mr. Mike Kazi said that “It is not often that an entire country is bent towards growth, from the unskilled worker to the skilled workforce to its top leaders and its rare in this world when the innovation is led by the government. Digital Bangladesh has not only been a slogan but a checklist of plans that are getting ticked one after another.” In his speech he also praised all the partners.

Sharif Zahir, GSEA Chair, We received applications from all over Bangladesh and it has been inspiring to listen to the stories and presentations of the contestants whose businesses look beyond generating profit to bring social impact within their communities

Bangladesh is the proud host of the 25th World Congress on Information Technology (WCIT) 2021

We are delighted that Bangladesh is the proud host of the 25th World Congress on Information Technology (WCIT) 2021, one of the most important and prestigious ICT events in the world in Dhaka, Bangladesh from November 11-14, 2021.

Welcome to Digital Bangladesh!

Stay tuned for more exciting news to follow!
www.wcit2021.org.bd

We are delighted to be the Ecosystem partner of She Loves Tech Bangladesh 2021.

We Believe together we are ready to support the participants stepping into the success. Visit this link for more competition info: https://buff.ly/2woeX8A

The curtain falls on BSEC’s “Rise of Bengal Tiger: Potentials of Trade & Investment in Bangladesh” Roadshow with Startup Bangladesh Limited unveiling greater opportunities in the Startups and Technology Sector of Bangladesh in Silicon Valley

On the final day of the roadshow in the US, local and international delegates join “US- Bangladesh Tech Investment Summit” to discuss investment opportunities in Startups and Technology Sector of Bangladesh, the untapped investment goldmine of Asia.

Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC) has organized a weeklong roadshow titled ‘The Rise of Bengal Tiger: Potentials of Trade and Investment in Bangladesh’ in the cities of New York, Washington D.C, Los Angeles and San Francisco to promote Bangladesh’s economy, investment opportunities and capital markets. The final day of the program entailed, “US-Bangladesh Tech Investment Summit” held on the 2nd of August in the Hyatt Regency, Santa Clara, California.

In this event Mr. Salman Fazlur Rahman; MP, Private Industry & Investment Adviser to Hon’ble Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Ms. Lisa M. Gillmor; Mayor, City of  Santa Clara, California and Professor Shibli Rubayat-Ul-Islam; Chairman of BSEC were present amongst dignitaries from the concerned ministries and regulatory authorities including Mr. Abdur Rouf Talukdar Senior Secretary of Finance Division, Mr. Tapan Kanti Ghosh Secretary of Ministry of Commerce, Ms. Fatima Yasmin Secretary of Economic Relations Division, Md. Sirazul Islam Executive Chairman of BIDA and Executive Chairman of BEPZA and Ms. Tina Jabeen, Managing Director and CEO of Startup Bangladesh Limited. They were joined by eminent guests- Mr. Vijay Menon, Executive Director; TiE, Mr. Christian D. Malesic, President & CEO, Sillicon Velley Central Chamber of Commerce, Rahat Ahmed, CEO & co-founder of Anchorless Bangladesh amongst others who spoke on the occasion. A panel discussion was also held with prominent guests of Silicon Valley on potentials of trade & investment in Bangladesh & moderated by Mr. Shameem Ahsan, President, VCPEAB. Mr. Anis Uzzaman, Founder & CEO of Pegasus Tech Ventures and Ms. Tina Jabeen, Managing Director and CEO of Startup Bangladesh Limited delivered the keynote speeches.

Bangladesh has shown remarkable economic growth and progress in various business sectors, especially in the information technology in the last decade. The country has developed itself as an outsourcing hub, especially for the USA market where it also enjoys a strong commercial relationship.  However, the investment potentials are greater that can be tapped for further growth in startups and overall technology sector.

Bangladesh’s tech industry is rising and is fast emerging as a tech startup hub in South Asia with significant socio-economic development and attractive business and investment climate. A number of global venture capital and angel investor firms have already invested in a number of startups in Bangladesh, and more are in the process of doing so. During the session, the high-level speakers and delegation outlined their views and discussed the potentials and promises presented by the land of Bengal Tiger.

The program kicked off by Prof. Rubayat-Ul-Islam, Chairman of BSEC.  He noted, – “the promotion of vibrant startup ecosystem & modernizing the small cap boards & alternative investment rules to provide robust support to the venture capital, private equity & startups are showing very positive result & we are expecting that this sector in coming months & years will grow a lot.” He also added, “many prominent VC & PE firms has made investment in local startups in the recent years like sequoia capital, Pegasus Tech Venture, Y combinator, 500 Startups, Golden Gate Ventures, Razor Capital are few to name.”

Speaking on the occasion, as one of the keynote speakers Ms. Jabeen paid tribute to Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and highlighted steadfast leadership of Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for successfully leading Bangladesh for more than a decade. In her keynote speech she upheld the Bangladesh Story – the story of consistent growth spearheaded by the current government led by the visionary Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and the impetus behind the growth journey; Bangladesh’s perspective plan 2021-2041. She presented to the audience how under the leadership of the Mr. Sajeeb Wazed, the Honorable ICT advisor to the Honorable Prime Minister & guidance of Mr. Zunaid Ahmed Palak, the Honorable state Minister of ICT Division, the Digital Bangladesh vision is leading advancement of the economy with robust FDI, what are the key incentives and facilitators that are opening up greater possibilities.  The speaker exemplified the successful stories of homegrown startups, how they are already attracting international investors validating that Bangladesh is ready to be the next breeding ground of unicorn in Asia.

Ms. Jabeen further discussed the current state of foreign direct investment and strategies to encourage US investment partnerships with Bangladeshi startups. Opportunities and potential collaborations with US-based NRBs and local venture capital firms in developing and guiding efforts to support promising startups have been explored. Startup Bangladesh Ltd., the only government backed venture capital fund, is leading this strategy through building a startup ecosystem, she added.

Ms. Lisa Gillmor, Mayor of City of Santa Clara spoke in the event.  She welcomed the dignitaries from Bangladesh and acknowledged the unprecedented development in economy of Bangladesh in the recent years under the visionary leadership of Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to fulfill the dream of Shonar Bangla by the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.  She stressed on building up stronger partnership for development of the business sector.

Md. Sirazul Islam, Executive Chairman of BIDA said during the panel discussion that BIDA is there to facilitate all types of investment into the country.  He also added that IT based startups in the country are heavily incentivized.

Mr. Abdur Rouf Talukdar, Senior Secretary of Finance Division stated, the role of government is to support the business. He added, we are developing infrastructure; we are investing in human capital and that will basically incentivize private sector investments.

Mr. Salman Fazlur Rahman, MP, Private Industry & Investment Adviser to Hon’ble Prime Minister of Bangladesh paid homage to Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. He highlighted various initiatives of the present government under the visionary leadership of Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. He trusts that Bangladesh’s strong democratic and socio-economic relationship with USA will only strengthen in the near future through more investment in local businesses and startups and encouraged NRBs and expatriates to come forth and invest in the opportunities presented by the nation.

Mr. Tapan Kanti Ghosh, Secretary of Commerce and Mr. Vijay Menon, Executive Director of TiE also spoke in the event promoting the tech entrepreneurship in Bangladesh.

a luncheon was also hosted prior to the event by Tina Jabeen, Startup Bangladesh to exchange views with Mayor Park & prominent dignitaries of Silicon Valley & Bangladesh Startup ecosystem

The session was very well received in the Silicon Valley and was attended by numerous tech industry conglomerates, private sector leaders, local Startup founders alongside distinguished NRBs, potential foreign Investors and media.  The local investors acknowledged the robustness of startup ecosystem in Bangladesh supported by government of Bangladesh and showed interest to learn more about investing in startups in Bangladesh.

Startup Bangladesh Ltd. organizes “Shotoborshe Shotoasha | Rise Up”, a webinar Series in partnership with High Commission of India and StartUp India

To commemorate Mujib Borsho, the Golden Jubilee of Bangladesh & 75th anniversary of India’s Independence, Startup Bangladesh Limited hosted the first session of the six-part webinar series titled “Startup Landscape in Bangladesh & India: Tech Startups Transforming the Future” which was inaugurated by State Minister for ICT, Govt of Bangladesh, H.E. Mr. Zunaid Ahmed Palak and High Commissioner of India, Shri. Vikram Doraiswami.

Startup Bangladesh Limited; Bangladesh’s flagship venture capital fund under the ICT Ministry, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh earlier launched its inaugural campaign “ShotoBorshe Shoto Asha-Century of Million Dreams” in March 2021 with a commitment to invest BDT 100 Crore in 50 startups this year. The VC firm announced its first series of investments on 31st March 2021 to seven startups – Chaldal, Pathao, Sheba XYZ, Dhaka Cast, Moner Bondhu, Eduhive and Intelligent Machines. In continuation of this groundbreaking initiative, Startup Bangladesh Limited is undertaking various programs throughout the year, one of which is the webinar series featuring six sessions over the next six months in partnership with High Commission of India, Dhaka. This series is also being supported by Startup India, Bangladesh Startup Consortium, BD-AIR, & Economic Reporter’s Forum.

Speaking as the chief guest, Mr. Zunaid Ahmed Palak MP, Honourable State Minister for ICT Division, Government of Bangladesh Said, Prime Minister from India Shree Narendra Modi mentioned in his speech in 26th of march in Dhaka that 50 young entrepreneurs he wanted to invite India to visit, I also would like to invite our young startups from India to Visit Bangladesh so that we can arrange a B2B match making session face to face, if not possible after finishing this webinar series we can arrange digital matchmaking so that 50 startups from Bangladesh selected by Startup Bangladesh Limited and 50 Startup from India selected by Startup India can have a B2B exchange tour.

H.E. Vikram K Doraiswami, the High Commissioner of India and the Special Guest also spoke on the occasion. He stated that that in the next 6 months, the RiseUp platform will bring together mentors, innovators, entrepreneurs, investors, etc from India and Bangladesh. He hoped that the platform will facilitate an effective cross-learning opportunity that will benefit talented entrepreneurs from both the countries, especially young innovators. High Commissioner also recalled that during the recent state visit of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi to Bangladesh in March 2021, the Prime Minister had invited 50 Bangladeshi entrepreneurs to visit India and connect with India’s start-up and innovation ecosystem. He stressed that the RiseUp series could facilitate such linkages to jumpstart tangible cooperation.

Ms Tina Jabeen; Managing Director and CEO of Startup Bangladesh Limited expressed that “Among all frontier markets, Bangladesh holds the most promising opportunity for venture capital and private equity investments. Startup Bangladesh Ltd. looks forward to collaborate with Indian High Commission and Startup India in building a stellar regional startup ecosystem.”

The inauguration was followed by a panel discussion on Startup landscape in Bangladesh & India : how tech startups are transforming the future with innovation in this region. Notable speakers and panel members included Mr. Rahat Ahmed, Founding Partner & CEO, Anchorless Bangaldesh, Mr. Waseem Alim, Co-founder & CEO, Chaldal, Mr. Sharad Sharma, Co-founder, iSPIRT Foundation, Mr. Yamini Bhushan Pandey, CEO, AIC – Indian School of Business, Mohali. The session was moderated by Mr. Bijon Islam, Co-founder & CEO, LightCastle Partners. Other sessions will have discussions on regulatory environment for Startups, overcoming hurdles to create a successful startup, Fund raising strategies, strategies for startups to go international and a deep dive into startup Opportunities in Bangladesh and India.

Mr. Rahat Ahmed, Founding Partner & CEO said that, Indian local startups doing incredible job by creating value through wealth creation with the help of international capital along with their own investment. So, we can follow this by helping Bangladeshi startups to raise capital so that they can increase their wealth locally as well as hire locally which helps from continuous brain drain happening in other places for the last 20 years.

Mr. Sharad Sharma, Co-founder, iSPIRT Foundation added While sharing the journey of Indian Ecosystem throughout the last decade Mr. Sharad Sharma emphasized on the potentials of Bangladesh and Indian startups over international’s and said that let Silicon Valley innovate for the first billion, together we will innovate for the next six billion.

While speaking about the growth and progress story of the company the CEO of Chaldal Ltd., Mr. Waseem Alim said that without the support from government in last 2 years, like the visionary decision of government to allow the e-commerce companies to deliver during the COVID crisis and the investment from Startup Bangladesh Limited investment to Chaldal, it would not be possible to continue the growth of their business.

 

Mr. Yamini Bhusan Panday said that There are three specific factors that has helped the Indian startup ecosystem to really thrive, 1. Government policy and regulatory framework, 2. flourishing of funding organisations, 3. the supplementary supporting organisations, i.e. incubators, accelerators, mentorship firms.

Mr. Bijon Islam, Co-founder & CEO, LightCastle Partners said that “I like how this collaborative spirit among everybody in this webinar and learning goes both ways, I think that’s a great spirit for developing startup ecosystem in our both countries.”

Throughout the series, Startup Bangladesh Limited will partner with national and international stakeholders from the South Asian Region and emphasize on bridging the information gap among investors and investment seeker. The sessions have a great line up of Bangladeshi and Indian speakers ranging from industry experts, venture capitalists, renowned startup founders.

The Shoto Borsho Shoto Asha – Rise Up webinar series is also supported by Economic Reporters Forum, Bangladesh StartUp Consortium and BD AIR.

Startup Bangladesh Ltd. invests in the Top Startups of BIG 2021

Bangabandhu Innovation Grant (BIG) is a platform to encourage young entrepreneurs to venture their innovative ideas of startups and build a startup ecosystem by establishing this event as a flagship program at the national and international levels. Bangabandhu Innovation Grant (BIG) was initiated by the Innovation Design and Entrepreneurship Academy (iDEA) in 2019. The first Bangabandhu Innovation Grant was handed over to the ten winning startups from the second chapter of the national level contest ‘Student to Startup,’ on October 16, 2019. And to celebrate the birth centennial of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibor Rahman, the groundbreaking ‘BIG 2021’ was announced with a larger scope. 

The three main focuses of this initiative are: University and Stakeholder Activation Campaign, a TV reality show, and an international roadshow to encourage and solve various practical business challenges using effective strategies and innovation & technology. The iDEA project is organising BIG 2021 with the support of the Bangladesh Computer Council (BCC), Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority(BHTPA), Controller of Certifying Authorities (CCA), and a2i. There are also different trade associations as private partners, including BASIS, BACCO, BCS, ECAB, ISPAB, and BIJF. 

Bangabandhu Innovation Grant 2021 will showcase the talent and creativity of local talents and aspiring entrepreneurs through a thirteen-episode TV Reality Show. Startup Bangladesh Limited, the flagship venture capital fund of the ICT Ministry, is one of the proud sponsors of the TV reality show alongside Bangladesh’s two prominent enterprises Evaly and Walton. At a press conference on June 9, 2021, Ms Tina F Jabeen, Managing Director and CEO of Startup Bangladesh Limited, said, “ As a Venture Capital Fund.Startup Bangladesh Limited is honored and proud to sponsor Bangabandhu Innovation Grant (BIG) 2021. We look forward to making potential equity investments of up to one crore each in multiple startups contingent upon Due Diligence approval from the Company. These startups will join “Shotoborshe Shoto Asha” vintage.“ She assured that Startup Bangladesh Limited is determined to enable faster innovation, create new jobs, develop technical skills, and realise the vision of Digital Bangladesh by strengthening the startup ecosystem of Bangladesh and empowering the entrepreneurs. This company is continuously supporting early-stage to high-growth tech-based and social impact companies in the form of capital, financial guidance, and operational guidance considering the startup requirements. 

Startup Bangladesh Ltd. launched “ShotoBorshe Shoto Asha” with a commitment to invest BDT 100 Crore in 50 startups in 2021 to celebrate the birth centennial of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the Golden Jubilee of Bangladesh. Therefore, joining the“Shotoborshe Shoto Asha” pipeline will be a significant milestone for the top startups of BIG 2021. 

The reality TV show will air on Ekattor TV from the 1st of July and continue till 31st July, and during the course, the top sixty-five national start-ups will pitch their ideas. These startups will also get the opportunity to join a six-day-long boot camp and factory visits before the reality show. In each episode of the reality show, five start-ups will compete with one another, and from each round, the top two start-ups will be selected. In the end, a total of twenty-six start-ups will go to the final round and will be receiving a grant of BDT ten lakh each from the iDEA Project. Ten international startups will join these top twenty-six local startups in the final round. 

The ten international startups were chosen from a pool of two hundred and fifty-five registered ideas in the BIG International Startup Competition 2021. For this competition, more than seven thousand startups registered from fifty-six countries. This groundbreaking campaign was run in one hundred and forty countries and received an enormous response. 

In the final round, the winning startup will get USD 100,000 as prize money. The remaining thirty-five startups will get a grant of BDT 10,00,000 from the Innovation Design and Entrepreneurship Academy (iDEA) of the Information and Communication Technology Division. Prime Minister’s ICT Affairs Adviser Sajeeb Wazed Joy will be present in the Grand Finale to hand over the prizes to the winning startups.

“Ask Us Anything: Getting Investment” Webinar session arranged by Startup Bangladesh Limited 20th of April, 2021

Nestled between India and China, Bangladesh has remained relatively obscure to the startup investment rush in Asia that is until recently. Riding on solid fundamentals the ecosystem is coming of age – with more than USD 275 million+ in foreign direct investment made in Startups over the last 7 years while creating more than 1.5 million+ in direct/indirect employment. The nation’s startup scenario is transforming rapidly and has come a long way, with miles to go. To enable the nation to innovate faster, create new jobs, develop technical skills, and realize the vision of Digital Bangladesh, the ICT Division, under the steadfast leadership of Honorable State Minister Mr. Zunaid Ahmad Palak has taken pioneering initiatives to ignite the startup ecosystem of Bangladesh.

With that in hindsight, Startup Bangladesh Limited– the first and only venture capital company owned by the Government of Bangladesh was formed in March 2020 with a committed fund of 500 crores ($65 million). Startup Bangladesh Limited recently launched its inaugural investment initiative “ShotoBorshe Shoto Asha” and declared to invest BDT 100 crore in 50 startups in 2021 as part of its efforts to mark the birth centenary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the Golden Jubilee of Bangladesh. The company announced its first series of investments worth BDT 15 crore ($1.75 million) to seven startups on 31st March 2021.

Post the announcement, Startup Bangladesh Limited very recently organized “Ask Us Anything: Getting Investment” – a webinar on 20th April 2021, to address the queries received from numerous startups and entrepreneurs across the country and provide further clarity on the overall investment and due diligence process.

Speaking on the occasion, Ms. Tina F. Jabeen; Managing DIrector & CEO, Startup Bangladesh Limited appreciated all the startups for the overwhelming responses and queries received so far and thanked everyone for joining. In response to many of the queries received during the session, she shared that Startup Bangladesh Limited is a natural progression of the previous startup and entrepreneurship related project under ICT Division. Under the Startup Bangladesh Campaign of ICT Division, IDEA Project and Startup Bangladesh Ltd. are two separate initiatives where IDEA primarily provides startup grants while on the other hand, Startup Bangladesh Limited is a Venture Capital and it will make equity investments in seed, early and growth stage startups with the option to co-invest, run as fund-of-funds, asset manager and provide other support to local startups and stakeholders. She assured that Startup Bangladesh Limited is committed to support startups not only through one time grant or investment rather support startups in their journey on different stages. She further added that this flagship venture capital fund is a monumental effort by the Government of Bangladesh and supported by our visionary leader Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Mr Fayez Ahmed, Investment Manager of Startup Bangladesh Limited shared the major industry focus of the fund currently; including but not limited to –       Fintech/Financial Services, Health-tech/ Healthcare, Enterprise Solutions/ Software, Entertainment & Lifestyle, E-commerce/Retail, Frontier Technology, Core Technologies/AI/Deep Tech, EdTech/Education, Food and Agri-tech/Agriculture, IoT, Logistics/Mobility, Emerging Technology Related Services.

Addressing further queries, he added that the fund is not only for commercially-focused business driven startups but also for social impact startups and enterprises.

During the presentation, Mr. Fayez Ahmed illustrated how the investment process works and talked everyone through the overall process in detail. To summarise,

  • Startup Bangladesh Limited curates the startup information and develop the pipeline from the startup ecosystem. Various platforms contribute in the deal sourcing community that supports in collecting the data alongside its investment portfolio team and other stakeholders from the ecosystem (i.e. iDEA, Bangladesh Startup Consortium, BD Angels, Grameenphone Accelerator, Anchorless Bangladesh, IDLC Venture Fund, R Ventures, Better Stories, Biniyog Briddhi, LightCastle Partners, UNCDF, UNDP, ESCAP amongst others). Hence, there is no application methodology and the pipeline is curated from the ecosystem.
  • Initial screening is completed by the portfolio and investment teams based on the criteria and available information. After the primary screening, the shortlisted startups are presented to the Investment Selection Team for further recommendations.
  • The Investment Selection Committee provides a recommendation for the eligible startups and the Board of Directors gives the final approval for an investment. Once approved, expression of interest is shared with the startups and due diligence process commences.
  • Subject to sound and satisfactory completion of the due diligence process, the investment terms and agreement are signed, and then the investment is given in two or more tranches.

At the end of the presentation, Mr Fayez Ahmed led a panel discussion session with two very important stakeholder and strategic partners of Startup Bangladesh Limited. Ms. Anita Ghazi Rahman, Founder, and CEO, The Legal Circle and Mr. Bijon Islam, Co-founder & CEO, LightCastle Partners join the panel discussion to share more indepth knowledge on the due diligence process.

During the moderated discussion, Ms. Anita Ghazi Rahman took the audience through the legal due diligence process; depicting the below steps:

1. A consolidated due diligence checklist is shared with the investee/approved startup. When the startup gets the checklist, they should collect and prepare all the papers and upload them in the data room. If some documents are not provided or missing, the investment process might get delayed.

2. Once all the documents are received, due diligence of startups (Legal, Financial & Tax) will begin. Upon completion, a due diligence report is shared with Startup Bangladesh Limited with summary. All the regulatory and compliance items are written to ensure those are completed, no file is pending, or flag if any Tax/VAT claim or other item are open.

3. Negotiation of terms of investment sheets are prepared and sent according to the type and stage of the startups.

4. Once the due diligence seems appropriate, the Terms Sheet is closed.

5. Upon satisfactory completion of all the due diligence process, the negotiation and closing of the transaction documents are done. Transaction documents mainly refer to the investment agreements and shareholders agreements. If the company is in the growth stage, it might need to execute few other documents. In this step, the negotiation is elongated depending on the stage of the startup. Two or more negotiations can be required.

6. If all the conditions are fulfilled, the investee and Startup Bangladesh Limited will sign the agreement and the investment will be progressed. dis

7. Generally, while signing the investment agreement, the amount for tranche-1 is disbursed. Some milestones or performance matrix are prepared and pre-agreed by both parties subject to which the next tranches of investment are made.

Responding to a question about the key legal requirements for a startup while planning to receive for an investment, Ms Anita Ghazi Rahman shared that a startup needs to be registered as a company.  She also mentioned that documents such as TIN, Trade Licence, VAT/Tax documents, special licence (for logistics/mobility startups etc.) are required to satisfy the due diligence process. She emphasized that startups should also maintain the minimum compliances such as at least 4 board meetings in a year, AGM at the year end, audit of loss-profit/financial statements, status of any stakeholder’s exit, etc. She additionally advised every startup to keep an extra budget and hire a legal expert to deal with all the issues so that they can be more investment ready for any interested investors.

While talking about the business due diligence, Mr. Bijon Islam talked about the business valuation, and the factors that the VC firm considers while selecting the startups for the investments.

He illustrated the 5 factors model of RomeenSheth that provides some insights on what increases the chances of getting early-stage funding.

He added that on a broader level, from an investment firm/ investor’s point of view five factors are primarily considered while looking into a startup for funding: -,

  1. Problem: If the problem is well defined.
  2. Solution: If the solution is strong enough.
  3. Market: If the market size sufficient/ if the market is ready
  4. Business: If the business model is robust enough/well explained
  5. Team: If they have the right team/workforce

Along with these five factors, impact assessment of the startup is also done to verify if it has a substantial impact on the market/community. When startups are looking for early-stage funding, they must pay attention to these factors.

For the growth stage startups, along with these key factors, few other elements like track record, existing funding history, future plans, contribution margin, degree of improvement, reduction of total costing, and customer acquisition cost, customer lifetime value etc. are taken into account. Startup Bangladesh Limited has a sectoral focus on Impact-Enterprises. If the impact of the startup is well-explained and impact measurement tools and indicators are well-defined, it will definitely increase the chance of getting funded.

He further discussed the business valuation model for a company. According to him, some indicators are considered for the business valuation such as how much money the startup going to need to run the business for 12-18 months, how the founding team is, the valuation in the financial projection (DCF), the last round valuation, previous KPIs, current KPIs, the estimation in the rise of KPIs, proper justification and explanations of KPIs, the degree of dilution of the entrepreneur, etc. He finally added that there is no linear process but these indicators play a crucial role in current business valuation.

The session was ended with a thank you note.

To learn more about Startup Bangladesh Limited please visit  startupbangladesh.vc and follow the social media pages of the company.

Startup Bangladesh Ltd. Launches “ShotoBorshe Shoto Asha” by Announcing First Series of Investments for 7 Startups.

On the joyous occasion of the birth centennial of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the Golden Jubilee of Bangladesh, Startup Bangladesh Ltd.  launched “ShotoBorshe Shoto Asha” to invest BDT 100 Crore in 50 startups in the year 2021

The company announces the first series of investments to seven startups on Wednesday, March 31, 2021.

Startup Bangladesh Limited is the flagship venture capital fund of the ICT Ministry. Under the visionary guidance of Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Startup Bangladesh – the first and only venture capital fund sponsored by the Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh started its journey in March 2020 with an allocated capital of BDT 500 crores. This effort will enable the nation to innovate faster, create new jobs, develop technical skills, and realize the vision of Digital Bangladesh. The fund will provide investment in equity, convertible debt, and grants in pre-seed, seed, and growth-stage startups. It would invest through co-investments, as a fund-of-funds and asset manager, and provide other in-kind support to startups and stakeholders.

The seven startups that received BDT 15 crores ( 1.75 million) for the first series of the investments are Pathao (ride-sharing/logistics), Dhaka Cast (health-tech), Moner Bondhu (mental health and Wellbeing), Chaldal ( e-commerce), Eduhive (education-tech), Sheba.xyz (domestic services and SME) and Intelligent Machines (software services). These startups received this fund to scale up their production, improve the quality of goods and services and develop the supply chain & marketing strategies.

Zunaid Ahmed Palak MP, the Honourable State Minister of the ICT Division, was present as Chief guest. Mohibul Hasan Chowdhury MP, Honorable Deputy Minister of Education and Principle Coordinator, SDG Affairs, Prime Minister’s Office Zuena Aziz were the Special Guest. N M Zeaul Alam PAA, Senior Secretary, ICT Division and Chairman, board of directors of Startup Bangladesh Ltd., was the Guest of Honour.

The State Minister officially launched the “ShotoBorshe Shoto Asha (শত বর্ষে শত আশা)” and declared the investment of this venture capital fund.

He also shared that, through this initiative, the Government created a national entrepreneurship platform to support the startup ecosystem. He further added that Startup Bangladesh Ltd. could bridge the gap between the startups and their potentials with required capital financing. “Startups could play a crucial role in addressing the market needs, which will serve as the foundation for far-reaching consequences in the GDP’s overall growth. The tech-solutions provided by startups could support the nation’s achieving Sustainable Development Goals by 2030,” said Honorable State Minister Zunaid Ahmed Palak, MP, ICT Division.

Senior Secretary, ICT Division and Chairman, board of directors of Startup Bangladesh Ltd., N M Zeaul Alam PAA, commented that the organization would develop the entrepreneurial ecosystem and connect entrepreneurs and startups to foster collaboration with all the stakeholders.

Ki-Hak Sung, Chairman, and CEO at Youngone Corp, also spoke the on occasion as a guest speaker. Sung shared that “I have been associated with Bangladesh for the past 36 years and am excited to be in this growth journey ahead”. The company is eyeing to invest USD 1 Billion over the next few years in Bangladesh.

Chris Burry, the Co CEO of US Market Access Inc., also shared his excitement and wished for Startup Bangladesh Limited all the success in the coming days. He believed that Bangladesh has already made good progress in developing the startup ecosystem and vowed to support the ecosystem through strategic coaching and networking.

Mustafa Usman Turan, the Turkish Ambassador, shared that he and his country Bangladesh see massive potential for collaboration in IT and innovation between these two countries and are keen to develop partnerships in the information technology (IT) and e-commerce sectors.

Tina F. Jabeen, Managing Director & CEO, Startup Bangladesh Ltd, said, “Among all frontier markets, Bangladesh holds the most promising opportunity for venture capital and private equity investments. The country’s English-speaking, tech-savvy young population is ready for deployment. With its focus on financial inclusion, social equity, and equal access to technology, Bangladesh is positioned to become a stellar performer in achieving sustainable development goals by leveraging disruptive technologies and innovative solutions.”

Triparty MoU Signing among Bangladesh High-Tech Park Authority (BHTPA), Korean EPZ and Startup Bangladesh Limited.

Press Release

Announcement of Korean EPZ IT Zone to Private High-Tech park: Beginning of new opportunities

Triparty MoU Signing among Bangladesh High-Tech Park Authority (BHTPA), Korean EPZ and Startup Bangladesh Limited.

To develop the High-tech industry, startup and innovation ecosystem in Bangladesh, a triparty MoU has been signed among Bangladesh High-Tech Park Authority (BHTPA), Korean EPZ and Startup Bangladesh Limited. This MoU singed today (22 February, Monday) at 12pm at Korean EPZ complex in Anwara, Chattogram. On behalf of BHTPA Hosne Ara Begum ndc, Managing Director (Secretary), from Korean EPZ Kihak Sung, Chairman & CEO and on behalf of Startup Bangladesh Limited, Tina Jabeen CPA, Managing Director & CEO signed the MoU.

Zunaid Ahmed Palak MP, Honorable State Minister of ICT Division was present in the MoU signing ceremony as chief guest. H.E. LEE Jang-keun, Ambassador of Republic of Korea to Bangladesh, and N M Zeaul Alam PAA, Senior Secretary, ICT Division and Chairman of Startup Bangladesh Limited was also present in the ceremony.

Under this joint initiative, all parties agreed to facilitate cooperation focused around efforts to develop infrastructures, increasing foreign investment in Bangladesh, strengthening start-up ecosystem and support entrepreneurs through upskilling through startup camps, design thinking and innovation projects in areas of mutual interests, market access and networking. Through this cooperation, parties envision to collaborate and exchange knowledge, expertise relating to technology and R&D sector for technology innovations, developing collaborative relationship with foreign countries, especially with Korea & USA and conducting joint research activities.

Korean EPZ is the first foreign direct investor in RMG sector staring their journey in 1980 and this is the 41st year of presence in the country. Currently more than 60000 employment have been created by the company. Korean EPZ is also one of the pioneering companies in RMG sector which has introduced female workforce. Chairman Sung is so dedicated and concern about the welfare of his establishment and development progress that he could not but travel to Bangladesh even in this COVID pandemic. To make Korean EPZ a world class Eco-Friendly industrial partners zone Chairman Sung has designed this area emphasizing on environmental developments. These ecological developments have created opportunity for flora and fauna to be enriched in this area. About 137 species of birds have settled among those there are huge flocks of migratory birds.

On the other hand, Startup Bangladesh Limited is a public company limited by shares established by the Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, to invest in pre seed, seed and growth stage startups, which operates as an alternative investment fund with the objective to develop a robust startup and innovation ecosystem in Bangladesh. Under the visionary guidance of Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Startup Bangladesh started its journey on March 2020 with an allocated capital of BDT 500 crores. This effort will enable the nation to innovate faster, create new jobs, develop technical skills, and realize the vision of Digital Bangladesh.

The chief guest at the signing ceremony, Hon’ble State Minister for ICT Division Mr. Zunaid Ahmed Palak MP said, Bangladesh High Tech Park Authority will create digital entrepreneurs by developing an innovation ecosystem in the country to increase investment from private sector. We want our youth to put their mind in to create jobs rather than looking for them. Through this memorandum investment will speed up in Korean EPZ. He also mentioned that Startup Bangladesh Ltd will organize scale up & mentoring programs for startups.

Additionally he said, to stay ahead in the 4th industrial revolution IT business incubators are being established in universities to work on IOT, robotics, cyber security & other modern technologies. As a part of this the work to establish IT business Incubator at CUET is being fast forwarded. Also the work is being accelerated to establish Sheik Kamal IT training & incubation center at Chandgao of Chattogram. When these projects will be implemented the port & business capital Chattogram will grow in to a modern age IT business Hub.

Ms. Hosne Ara Begum, the Managing Director (Secretary) of Banglaldesh Hi – Tech Park Authority told, 5 Hi-Tech Parks in the country is ready for investment. 327 crore taka has been invested in different Hi-Tech parks all over the country from private sector. Alongside this 13,000 employment has been created for youth through this.

Startup Bangladesh Limited’s Managing Director & CEO Ms. Tina Jabeen CPA said, there are more than 2500+ Startups working in Bangladesh that has created employment for more than 1.5 million people. She also added that through the support of digital startups more than 7,50,000 SME’s has been able to expand their business in different sectors and we envision that by the year 2025 startups will be contributing 2% to the country’s GDP.

While expressing his gratitude for announcing IT park zone of Korean EPZ as Private Hi-Tech Park the Managing Director of Korean EPZ said, by announcing Korean EPZ’s IT park zone as Private Hi-Teck Park there will be new opportunities for employment. He also mentioned that , the country’s ICT industry will flourish by the modern day initiatives taken by Government & private sector.

Along with other delegates from mentioned three parties, A.N.M Safiqul Islam (Joint Secretary), Director (Admin & Finance), Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority and Fayez Ahmed, Investment Manager at Startup Bangladesh Limited was present in the MoU signing ceremony.