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.