Twelve technology-based startups are interested to enter the stock market in order to raise funds.
The companies are: Sheba.xyz, Chaldal, Zantrik, Landknock, Hellotask, Bondstein Technologies, Brain Station 23, eCourier, Khaas Food, Divine IT, AnnaNovas IT, and CMED Health.
The companies already met with the stock market regulator last week to discuss the matter.
"We spoke with the startups to boost their confidence and show that we are eager to allow them faster listing on the sme board," said Rezaul Karim, spokesperson of the Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC).
The small-cap board, called the DSE SME, was rolled out on April 30 of 2019 with a view to helping small and medium enterprises raise funds from the market. Companies of this size were previously shut out from the process due to their lower turnover.
"The trading board is ready, rules and regulations are ready," Karim said
Some other companies also asked to be listed but the regulator had to reject those for some unavoidable reasons, he said.
"The tech startups are interested to go public so we met them," he said, adding that if the companies meet all the requirements, they could fast-track the listing process.
A small company should at least have paid-up capital of Tk 5 crore to get listed with the country's bourses. After listing, its paid-up capital should be at least Tk 10 crore.
Not all investors are allowed to trade on the SME board. The qualified investors are: merchant bankers and portfolio managers, asset management companies, mutual funds and collective investment scheme (CIS), stock dealers, banks, financial institutions, insurance companies, alternative investment fund managers, alternative investment funds, market makers, issuer of listed securities, resident or non-resident Bangladeshis, individuals having minimum net worth of Tk 1 crore, and other institutions as approved by the commission.
Startup companies have huge potential to grow so it is a good initiative for the market to invest in them, said Arif Hossain, a qualified investor.
Besides, the companies will also get finance as a result.
"However, the companies should have good intentions," Hossain said, adding that tech-giants like Microsoft and Apple were once startups.
Among the 12 startups, some are already major businesses.
For example, Chaldal is now the country's largest online grocery shopping venture while Sheba.xyz, launched in July 2016, provides numerous services and solutions to both service seekers and providers.
Waseem Alim, CEO of Chaldal, said that they are keen to be listed in the stock market but some requirements might not be fit for all startups.
"As per requirements, the paid-up capital should not be higher than Tk 50 crore but many of us have higher capital than needed to run the business. So, the ceiling should be more than Tk 50 crore," he said.
"As many startups remain in loss for many years, we cannot take part in the main market," he added.
There is a requirement that a company needs to make profits for three years at stretch to be listed in the main market.
"However, this is definitely a good step from the regulator as many startups have partners abroad," Alim said, adding that talks with the BSEC are still in the primary stage.
Startups mainly focus on their activities rather than formal accounting, which is a problem for issue managers, said a merchant banker, preferring anonymity.
Merchant banks are the issue managers when a company enters the stock market and since they handle pubic funds, they need to be careful on all accounts.
But since some startups have good potential, the BSEC should make considerations and provide facilities to expedite their listing.
So far, two companies have submitted their applications for listing on the SME board but were later rejected, the merchant banker said, adding that the board is an opportunity for small companies.