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.