The Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC) as the capital market regulator will help boost start-up ecosystems alongside financing through venture capital, private equity and all other sorts of alternative investment funds in the country.
BSEC Chairman Professor Shibli Rubayat-Ul-Islam said this while talking to top alternative investment professionals on Tuesday.
A delegation from the Venture Capital and Private Equity Association of Bangladesh (VCPEAB) led by Shameem Ahsan, chairman of VCPEAB and general partner of Pegasus Tech Ventures (formerly Fenox Venture Capital), met the BSEC chairman and his team through video conference.
During the meeting, the team discussed different initiatives related to strengthening venture capital, private equity and startup ecosystems.
VCPEAB also requested policy support to create a sustainable venture capital industry.
The delegation put emphasis on the possible contribution by venture capital and private equity investments to boost trade, innovation, export and help create home-grown startups that can contribute to the securities market in Bangladesh.
The BSEC chairman pledged to give support to work with VCPEAB on policies to nurture emerging industries.
"The BSEC is continuously working to make the investment environment easier and transparent in our country. We will certainly accommodate relevant changes that are necessary for the venture capital and private equity enterprises," he added.
VCPEAB Chairman Shameem stressed the need to expand the scope of the venture capital and private equity industry with policy support to assist them to contribute to the economy through their investment in innovative startups.
"As a result, these startups can create an ecosystem that can contribute up to 2 percent of GDP of Bangladesh by 2025."
Shameem also said, "The success of global companies like Google and Facebook is not only attributed to their founders but also to the venture capital investors like Sequoia Capital, Accel Partners and Greylock partners among others who supported them when they were only startups."
"Similarly, the best companies from Bangladesh will emerge with investments of venture capital and private equity funds."
BSEC Commissioner Dr Shaikh Shamsuddin Ahmed said they will give all kinds of support to improve the startup and venture capital industry in Bangladesh.
Shawkat Hossain, general secretary of VCPEAB, presented the keynote address on behalf of the association to share the policy reforms necessary to develop the venture capital and private equity industry.
"We can see our current policy has many drawbacks when compared to policies followed worldwide. From VCPEAB, we are proposing amendment and addition to our current structure to make an industry conducive to the creation of local startups," he said.
Arif Khan, CEO of IDLC and member of VCPEAB, focused on widening investment opportunity and clearing policy with amendment to make the industry lucrative for investors.
He emphasised many international practices followed worldwide, saying, "There is a need to make the investment environment suitable for both local and foreign investors, outlining both the investment and exit strategies. This will create long-term investments feasible for the funds."
Waliul Marrof Matin, director of VCPEAB and managing director of Maslin Capital Ltd, talked about the steps needed to create sustainability in the industry.
He said, "A few major guidelines are missing and creating barriers for us to invest properly. These policies need to be more investment-friendly for fund managers."
Shafique-ul-Azam, managing director, BD Venture Ltd; Asif Mahmood, managing director, SEAF Bangladesh Ventures LLC; Kh Asadul Islam, managing director and CEO, Alliance Capital Asset Management Ltd; Masum Ali, chief executive officer, Lanka Bangla Asset Management Company Ltd; Meer Sajed-Ul-Basher, FCA, managing director and CEO, Impress Capital Ltd; Mahadi Hasan, chief investment officer, Athena Venture and Equities Ltd; and Anower Jahid, investment associate, Bangladesh Venture Ltd were also present at the discussion.
VCPEAB works to strengthen local start-ups and venture capital and private equity firms, and helps them become more visible and dominant enough to compete in this era of global challenges and competition.
Other than the local members, VCPEAB is working closely with many local and foreign venture capital companies to promote investments in Bangladesh.