SAM

Published:
2020-02-09 19:24:02 BdST

Vision 2025 launched to create $10b startup market in Bangladesh


FT ONLINE

Vision 2025 to create a startup and Venture Capital friendly ecosystem has been launched at the Bangladesh regional event of Startup World Cup, the biggest startup competition in the world, on Saturday, targeting Bangladesh startup ecosystem that will develop seven times by accomplishing the objectives of the vision, said a press release.

At present, there is one and only $1 billion Dollar company (Unicorn) and the goal is to have five companies with billion-dollar valuation or Unicorn in Bangladesh by 2025.

The current startup ecosystem of the country is valued at $1.45 billion with the potential to reach a 10-billion-dollar valuation. These startups have created 150000 jobs and 700 indirect jobs recently.

The vision foresees taking direct employment to 1 million and indirect employment to 5 million by 2025.

To mark the beginning of the countdown of Mujib Borsho, Startup World Cup 2020, Bangladesh has been organised by Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ICT Division, Venture Capital and Private Equity Association of Bangladesh (VCPEAB), International Finance Corporation, and powered by eGeneration.

The event had Startup Bangladesh as strategic partner, BUET as knowledge partner along with Singapore Venture Capital and Equity Association (SVCA), Annual Investment Meeting - UAE, Bangladesh High-tech Park Authority, TiE Dhaka,

Entrepreneurs' Organisation, FNS Media, American Alumni Association, and Chakri Khujbo Na Chakri Debo also as partners for the event.

Shameem Ahsan, general partner, Pegasus Tech Ventures; chairman, VCPEAB; chairman of eGeneration presented the mission at the session titled "Venture Capital for Double-Digit Growth" during the inauguration ceremony of Startup World Cup, 2020 grand finale event day held at the Radisson Blu Water Garden, Dhaka.

Along with the vision he has given 10 points recommendation to achieve the targets.

The proposals came with a policy, financing, innovation, and country branding framework. Shameem emphasised that Venture Capital fund is usually an investment fund that comes with tax rebate facilities worldwide. The same can happen in

Bangladesh along with policy reforms allowing provident funds, gratuity funds, and insurance companies to invest in alternative investment instruments like Venture Capital fund.

There was also a proposal for policy reform for enabling fund of funds by banks and NBFIs.

In foreign countries, there is a fund of funds created by central banks for capital investment and similar fund of funds by local banks for providing working capital to growth-stage companies.

Capacity development with BUET and IBA for industry collaboration, innovation-led by the government sector, country branding through Global VC and PE Linkage with roadshows in Silicon Valley, London, Tokyo and Singapore, and a Startup World Cup, South Asia and Asia were proposed by Shameem in his keynote.

Artificial intelligence firm Gaze Technology with a focus on smart video reading became the national champion to compete in the Startup world cup.

Online scholarship management firm AlterYouth is awarded as the first runner up.

App-based goods transportation service Truck Lagbe won the award for the second runner up.

PoshaPet, a female-led startup for smart services to pets, named in the fourth position.

Healthy homemade foods delivery platform Cookups, another all-female-led startup was declared as the fifth name in the list of national-level winner of Startup World Cup 2020.

Three other finalists in the national round were video analytics technology firm Sigmind, online content marketer Torun Digital and smart parking solution Parking koi, who will avail Bangladesh Government's special care in terms of mentoring and all other supports in business.

The winning company will go to the Silicon Valley to compete for the champion title of Startup World Cup 2020 and the $1.0 million investment prize.

Anis Uzzaman, Chairman of Startup World Cup, and General Partner and CEO of Pegasus Tech Ventures presented the grand keynote at the Startup World Cup Grand Finale.

He said, "Pegasus Tech Ventures is committed to investing in Bangladesh startup ecosystem as we have already invested in shohoj.com, ajker deal, Bagdoom, Handimama and Digicon to develop in Bangladesh. We will take the Bangladesh regional winner to Silicon Valley and mentor the team and enable them to compete with the global competitors."

Top 8 companies, who joined as finalists and took part in the finale of the regional event, were selected down from more than 150 applicants. The finalists were: AlterYouth, Cookups, Gaze, Parking Koi, Poshapets, Sigmind.ai, Torun Digital, and Truck Lagbe in alphabetic order.

The finalists pitched their business in front of live audience and jury in the finale gala held at the capital.

The winner was selected by a panel of investor judges including James Tan, Managing Partner, Quest Ventures; Masa Isono, Principal, DEFTA Partners; Jenni Risku, Founder, Women in Tech Asia; and Ian Sikora, Director, Openspace Ventures.

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen, Private Industry and Investment Adviser to Prime Minister Salman F Rahman, State Minister of ICT Division Zunaid Ahmed Palak, and Foreign Secretary of Ministry of Foreign Affairs Masud Bin Momen were present on the occasion among others.

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