Seven startups get Tk 15cr capital
Startup Bangladesh, the flagship venture capital fund of the ICT ministry, announced the first series of investments of Tk 15 crore, or $1.75 million, for seven startups yesterday.
The government formed Startup Bangladesh in March 2020 with an allocated capital of Tk 500 crore to help new entrepreneurs innovate faster, create new jobs, develop technical skills and realise the vision of Digital Bangladesh.
This time, the company has launched the "Shoto Borshe Shoto Asha" initiative to invest Tk 100 crore in 50 startups in 2021 to mark the birth centenary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Golden Jubilee of Bangladesh.
The seven startups selected for the first series of 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).
Through this initiative, the government has created a national entrepreneurship platform to support the startup ecosystem, said ICT State Minister Zunaid Ahmed Palak.
"Startup Bangladesh could bridge the gap between the startups and their potential with required capital financing. The tech-solutions provided by startups could help the nation achieve its Sustainable Development Goals by 2030."
He spoke after announcing the investments at a programme organised by the ICT Division and Startup Bangladesh at the Bangladesh Computer Council in Dhaka's Agargaon.
The startups received this fund to scale up their production, improve the quality of goods and services and develop the supply chain and marketing strategies.
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.
"I have been associated with Bangladesh for the past 36 years and am excited to be in this growth journey ahead," said Ki-Hak Sung, chairman and CEO at Youngone Corp.
The company is eyeing to invest $1 billion over the next few years in Bangladesh, Sung said.
Chris Burry, co-CEO of US Market Access Inc, shared his excitement and wished Startup Bangladesh all the success in days to come.
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.
Turkey and Bangladesh has massive potential for collaboration in IT and innovation and the two countries are keen to develop partnerships in the IT and e-commerce sectors, said Mustafa Usman Turan, Turkish ambassador to Bangladesh.
"Among all frontier markets, Bangladesh holds the most promising opportunity for venture capital and private equity investments," said Tina F Jabeen, managing director and CEO of Startup Bangladesh.
"The country is English speaking. Its 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 technologies and innovative solutions."
NM Zeaul Alam, senior secretary of the ICT Division and chairman of the board of directors of Startup Bangladesh, was also present.