The Venture Capital and Private Equity Association of Bangladesh (VCPEAB), a private sector body that aims to strengthen the local venture capital and startup ecosystem, is looking to collaborate with financial institutions.
The company organised an online roundtable discussion titled "Financial Institution-Venture Capital: Collaboration for a Sustainable Startup Ecosystem" on Thursday, to this end, according to a press release.
The online discussion highlighted the importance of a collaborative approach by financial institutions and venture capital firms to encourage a robust venture capital and startup ecosystem through access to capital, talent, networks, and other resources from local sources, it added.
Globally, financial institutions invest in startups through venture capital firms and earn attractive, high returns. Incorporating a similar framework in Bangladesh will prove to be beneficial for both financial institutions and venture capital and startup ecosystems, the press release noted.
Banks and NBFIs – such as The City Bank, National Credit and Commerce Bank, Southeast Bank, Eastern Bank, Mutual Trust Bank, National Bank, IDLC Finance, LankaBangla Finance, and Midas Finance – have already invested in venture capital firms and gained significant portfolios, it added.
Md Ashadul Islam, senior secretary, Financial Institutions Division, Ministry of Finance was present as the chief guest at the discussion programme.
Additionally, Kaniz Fatema, chairman, Karmasangsthan Bank was present as the special guest and Md Tajul Islam, managing director of the bank was present as the guest of honor.
The session was chaired by Shameem Ahsan, president, VCPEAB and the keynote speech was given by Shawkat Hossain, General Secretary, VCPEAB.
In his speech, Ashadul Islam said, "Starting with policy support, the government is willing to provide all kinds of support to play a facilitating role in this collaboration. We have also identified the barriers preventing the growth of the venture capital and startup ecosystem. To overcome these barriers, the role of financial institutions is very crucial."
Kaniz Fatema said, "We welcome the opportunity to foster a robust venture capital and startup ecosystem for our nation through all possible measures, and will certainly look into the opportunity to be a supportive pillar for them."
Shameem Ahsan, president of VCPEAB said, "By 2025, our vision is to have at least five companies with billion-dollar valuation. This will facilitate five million or 50 lakhs direct employment, and a 2% contribution to GDP growth from ICT and startups."
Shawkat Hossain, General Secretary, VCPEAB said, "Venture capital is a proven instrument for startup financing. It needs different skills. Moreover, banks can reduce risk by financing in portfolios of venture capital firms instead of investing directly in startups."
Shafique-Ul-Azam, managing director, BD Venture Ltd; Asif Mahmood, managing director, SEAF Bangladesh Ventures; Mahadi Hasan, CIO, Athena Venture and Equities Ltd; Lt General Abdul Hafiz, ndc, psc (Retd), co-founder and managing director, Maslin Capital Ltd; Masum Ali, CEO, Lanka Bangla Asset Management Company Ltd; and Anwar Jahid, invest associate, Bangladesh Venture Capital Ltd also attended the discussion, among others.