Investment in startups should be encouraged for economic growth, experts said.
They were speaking at a virtual session titled “Levering Startup Investments for Bangladesh’s Economic Growth”, organized by LightCastle Partners, Startup Bangladesh Limited, Anchorless Bangladesh, Bangladesh Angels and BD Startup Founders.
Over the past decade, Bangladeshi startups have raised over $800 million in investments, spearheading the economy and creating 1.5 million direct and indirect job opportunities while having a positive impact on the daily lives of citizens.
According to industry insiders, the Bangladeshi startup industry has over 1200 startups. More than 200 new startups are born each year in a booming landscape that enjoys growing support from public and private initiatives with access to funds.
Startups in Bangladesh are gaining popularity globally, as $412 million out of a total of $415 million in investments raised over the past decade came from global sources, with Bangladeshi startups raising over $90 million dollars in the first half of 2022 alone.
Booming digitalization catalyzed by the Covid-19 pandemic, changing population demographics with growing consumer demands, as well as increased public and private attention to supporting the startup landscape have cemented the Bangladesh’s position as a maturing startup hotspot, even attracting international attention.
However, according to industry insiders, as the startup ecosystem in the country matures, support for startups needs to evolve to enable Bangladesh’s continued economic growth. The impact of startups makes the sector an economic powerhouse that needs more attention and support.
In this regard, insiders and experts believe that a strengthened startup policy to make it easier for startups to start and operate, with simplified regulations and requirements, as well as to encourage investment in startups through better incentives. for investors is crucial.
“So one of our goals is to bring international capital to market. One of the things we’ve learned is that for a lot of funds there – let’s say in Singapore or Hong Kong or New York – we’ve gone to talk to a lot of them and what they want , it’s feeling more comfortable with the market, because most of these companies don’t have offices on the ground,” said Rahat Ahmed, founding partner and CEO of Anchorless Bangladesh, a fund of early-stage venture capital investment focused on fostering the local startup ecosystem through access to global resources.
People don’t wake up in the morning saying I’m going to invest in a Bangladeshi startup. “They wake up in the morning and say, ‘I want to have the best investment possible,’ and we need to be able to provide them with solutions at scale for alternative investing,” the VC top brass explained.
Additionally, industry experts and insiders said the startup ecosystem needs to be nurtured by industry-academia collaborations to encourage innovation and talent development at school and university levels, as well as support. government through policies and regulatory frameworks conducive to innovation in the country.
Investment Portfolio Manager at Startup Bangladesh Hasan A Arif; ShareTrip Founder and CEO Sadia Haque and Bangladesh Angels CEO Nirjhor Rahman spoke as panelists during the session alongside Rahat Ahmed.
During the session, Hasan A Arif from Startup Bangladesh said that the government has already taken several initiatives to increase the flow of investments in the startup sector, with the Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC) already drafting rules that will allow to good loss-making startups. to be listed on the country’s stock exchanges and to offer IPO.