Bangladesh Angels Announces Launch, Opening a New Era in Start-up Investing in Bangladesh

Bangladesh Angels, a trailblazing investment network in the country, was inaugurated at Radisson Blu Dhaka Water Garden on 4th October, 2018.  The event was graced by the presence of venture capitalists, financiers, entrepreneurs and other stakeholders from both Bangladesh and abroad.  H.E. Harry Verweij, the Ambassador-Designate of Kingdom of the Netherlands, and Mr. Kazi M. Aminul Islam, Executive Director, Bangladesh Investment Development Authority, delivered remarks as Special Guest and Chief Guest respectively.

Bangladesh Angels aims to play a critical role in the startup funding ecosystem by connecting angel investors who wish to invest in early stage businesses with promising entrepreneurs. The network will identify such enterprises, support them in seeking funding, provide transactional support to angels and enable mentorship and monitoring, besides evangelizing startup funding, organizing knowledge forums and enabling exchange programs with international angel networks.

The Bangladesh startup ecosystem has gained significant traction recently with a number of incubators, accelerators as well as venture capital and private equity firms.

“These are critical developments in the path towards becoming a middle-income country, complementing the long-standing tradition of enterprise and entrepreneurialism of the private sector in Bangladesh,” according to H.E. Harry Verweij, who delivered the opening remarks.

“Unfortunately many of these entrepreneurs struggle to make themselves bankable because of a lack of business know-how and ability to get finance.  Organized platforms like [Bangladesh Angels] are critical” in enabling wider participation of both investors and entrepreneurs to jumpstart entrepreneurial activity, he said. He continued that the Netherlands Embassy is “proud to support this initiative, which is being backed by Dutch Good Growth Fund (DGGF).” DGGF is a program of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs which facilitates development-oriented trade and investment, that is backing Bangladesh Angels through its technical assistance program managed by Aavishkaar Venture Management.

Bangladesh Angels will be an independent Bangladeshi network with a separate legal entity, local team and governance structure, guided by eminent startup investors and mentors with extensive experience building the start-up ecosystem in the country.  The governing board includes eminent stakeholders such as Minhaz Anwar (CEO, Betterstories), Samad Miraly (Cofounder, Startup Dhaka), Tina Jabeen (Investment Advisor, Startup Bangladesh, ICT Division), Sajid Rahman (CEO, Telenor Health) and Sanchayan Chakraborty (Partner, Aavishkaar).   Guided by the governing board, the network will provide end-to-end investment readiness support to entrepreneurs, while working with angel investors to identify, negotiate, close and monitor investments, often through syndication.

“Investments rates into Bangladesh are increasing, and more and more international capital is finding its way to the country. But for young entrepreneurs, there still remains a critical gap in funding that traditional finance cannot meet. Angel investing therefore can be an important bridge that not only provides flexible capital but mentorship to young entrepreneurs as they establish themselves,” said Mr. Kazi M. Aminul Islam, Executive Chairman, Bangladesh Investment Development Authority, in his closing remarks.

Prospective angel investors and entrepreneurs can go online to sign up for the network or apply for funding via www.bdangels.co.  The network will have its first closed-door session between vetted start-ups and investors in January 2019.

Navojit Dastidar

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