Venture Capital Fund of ICT Ministry Startup Bangladesh Limited is to Invest in 7 Bangladeshi Startups
There are many examples around us where the dream of becoming an entrepreneur is shattered due to a lack of capital despite all the wonderful ideas.
While the first-world countries have all the opportunities and support to launch a startup, Bangladesh doesn't have a favourable condition to begin a startup. However, still, some enthusiastic minds took their step and became successful.
To accelerate their initiative, government-owned Venture Capital Company Startup Bangladesh Limited started their journey.
The journey of Startup Bangladesh Ltd
The cabinet has approved a state-owned venture capital company called Startup Bangladesh Limited in August 2019. According to the government's Information and Communication Technology Divisions (ICT), the Prime Minister gave policy approval to the company at a regular meeting. Once the company is established, it will be able to invest a maximum of Tk1 crore in the seed stage and a maximum of Tk5 crores in the growth-guided startup round in terms of startup valuation.
According to a written statement from the Department of Information and Communication Technology, Startup Bangladesh Limited will play a key role in creating a sustainable startup ecosystem in Bangladesh as the first state-owned venture capital company and will take the government's vision-2021 one step further.
The aim of the company is to encourage foreign direct investment in the country by transforming the innovative ideas of startups in Bangladesh into business, as well as to eliminate unemployment, create employment and economic development for the country as a whole. ICT Minister Zunaid Ahmed Polok mentioned in the cabinet meeting that the company needs to be formed to provide funding, mentoring, co-working space, legal aid, etc., to startups. In the 2019-2020 budget, the government had allocated Tk100 crore for the startup sector.
The journey started with the capital of Tk500 crore. This year, startup Bangladesh Limited will provide Tk100 crore to 50 entrepreneurs. The funds will be spent on creating young entrepreneurs, innovating technologies, advances, new workplaces, and socioeconomic change.
The announcement came at the signing ceremony of an agreement to celebrate the 50th anniversary of independence as well as the first series of startups to invest in Bangladesh. With this, the new campaign titled 'ShotoBorshe Shoto Asha' of Startup Bangladesh Limited officially started its journey on March 31, 2021. The campaign was officially announced by ICT minister Zunaid Ahmed Palak. Deputy Minister for Education Mohibul Hasan Chowdhury was the special guest.
The company gave Tk15 crores to 7 Bangladeshi startups this year. The seven companies are Pathao Limited, Sheba XYZ, Chaldal.com, Intelligence Machine, Dhaka Cast, Eduhive, and Moner Bondhu. This fund will enable them to improve the quality of their products or services, increase productivity, market and improve supply-chain management.
This time Startup Bangladesh Limited is investing only in established and successful ventures. But the company will also invest in the new entrants too, especially the students. Students need to be introduced to such startups; then they will be able to do something on their own without running after the job.
Seven Bangladeshi startups to get investments from Startup Bangladesh Ltd
Following are the details of the 7 Bangladeshi who are getting Tk15 crore.
Bangladeshi ride-sharing company Pathao is going to get more investment and this time from the government-owned venture capital company. However, the exact amount is not published yet, but they will get a significant amount for sure. This is not the first time that Pathao received an investment. Previously the company raised investment from the secondary market in 2018 from Clearstone.
Earlier, Gojek, an Indonesian ride-sharing company, made a big investment in Pathao. Gojek invested $2 million in 2017.
In 2015, Pathao started its journey as a courier service and later brought ride-sharing services through the mobile app. At first, bikes were added, and then car or car services were added. After receiving the investment, the company adds food delivery and payment services to their services. But Pathao Pay as a payment service was stopped later as it did not get approval from Bangladesh Bank.
Pathao has expanded its ride-sharing service to Dhaka, Chittagong, and Sylhet in the country. It has also launched a ride-sharing service in Nepal.
Sheba XYZ is an online service-based marketplace in Bangladesh. There are many services in the service app, including air conditioning service, electric and home appliance, plumbing and sanitary, furniture making and repair, wall painting, house cleaning. The organization has worked on a personal and small scale for so many days. Recently, they have started providing services to the corporate sector by increasing the scope of their activities.
Sheba XYZ got funding from Startup Bangladesh Limited. Nevertheless, the company also raised an overall $1 million previously. The company needed at least two million more dollars to run the operations at home and abroad. Hence, the investment from the government-owned venture capital company will surely boost Sheba XYZ to expand its business.
Chaldal is Bangladesh's first online-based grocery shop. Its journey started with the aim of making it easy for every person to shop at home or in the office in the midst of the busyness of today's society. With the slogan "Save time, save costs," Chaldal is trying to provide quick service to the people of Dhaka, Chittagong, and Jessore.
It sells fruits and vegetables, meat and fish, snacks, dairy products, baby products, home appliances, and more. Chaldal has become very popular because of the one-hour delivery service. You can easily buy daily necessities through the mobile app or Chaldal.com. Ordering within few taps, Chaldal.com can be called a market in the palm of your hand.
Over the last 6 years, the company has raised $14.8 million in funding in total, and the most recent one came from Startup Bangladesh. Hopefully, they will expand the business to another part of the country.
Intelligent Machines Limited (IML) is a tech startup from Dhaka, which provides advanced analytics solutions and AI to enterprise clients. They are ready to raise Tk4 Crore new investment from the IDLC venture capital.
However, building a deep tech company is tough as it requires investment for research and development. Moreover, sometimes the tech startups take a long time to come to the market. With that note, the Intelligent Machines team has been trying to cope up since 2018. the company has raised some funding from friends, family, and angel investors.
The most recent investment from Startup Bangladesh will certainly help the organization to grow and offer more services.
Those whose role in the country's startup world is outstanding, who have brought our country to the world with their talent and willpower in a short time, Dr. Fahrin Hannan, is one of them. She started 'Dhaka Cast Limited' in September 2018 to bring healthcare to the doorsteps of millions of people. Dhaka Cast organization works to make people aware of diabetes and to help them with different types of information.
Dhaka Cast collaborates with nurses, physiotherapists, doctors at home. This creates job opportunities for doctors as well as human services. Dhaka Cast is one of the seven companies that are getting investment from Startup Bangladesh.
EduHive 'is an online educational institution that is working on the digitization of education in Bangladesh. Users from 'EduHive' can prepare for the exam with the help of teachers of their choice in all subjects from any part of the country.
EduHive is basically looking for talented faces across the country. Those who will play an important role in the formation of our nation and country. Any student can win this award by taking the exam online at home.' Although EduHive started its operation in 2018, funding from Star-Up-Bangladesh will be the company's first funding.
Skills in mental health are very much needed in our personal life and career. Because we all want to be good in our lives, work, family and keep our mind fresh. We often can't do that because we don't have mental health skills. Therefore, a sound education along with alertness and dedication are most required too.
Moner Bondhu offers mental health and wellbeing service via online platforms and apps. They offer trainers and highly experienced professional counsellors. It is considered to be the first mobile app in the country for mental health. The company is continuously looking for expansion and the recent investment from Startup Bangladesh will definitely help them.
Government-owned venture capital will surely open the door for entrepreneurs. However, the organization is currently working with an established company and has a target to work with new companies in the future.
Moreover, Startup Bangladesh Limited has been working as part of the implementation of the Economic Liberation and Digital Bangladesh Framework by providing capital, financial and operational guidance to young people for technology-based innovations and initiatives at an early stage. In addition, considering the social and economic impact of these technology-based business ventures, Startup Bangladesh Limited will invest in Seed and Growth Stage companies.