Startup Bangladesh Ltd, flagship venture capital fund of the ICT ministry, announced the first series of investments of Tk 15 crore or $1.75 million to seven startups today.
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 "ShotoBorshe Shoto Asha" initiative to invest Tk 100 crore in 50 startups in 2021 as part of efforts to mark the birth centenary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the 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 Ltd could bridge the gap between the startups and their potential with required capital financing. The tech-solutions provided by startups could support the nation achieve 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.
NM Zeaul Alam PAA, senior secretary of the ICT Division and chairman of the board of directors of Startup Bangladesh Ltd, was also present.