The start-up culture is gradually carving a space into Bangladesh.
Bright minds keep coming up with new ideas, forming teams with diversified skill sets, and establishing innovative products and services while creating job opportunities in the market.
However, for a start-up, a great idea is not enough, firm knowledge of factors such as financial standards, due diligence, and fundraising mechanisms is equally important for its success.
While talking about the current condition of Bangladesh's start-up ecosystem and its bright prospect, two investment professionals - Omar Mahee and Kamrul Arefin, figured that many founders face hurdles when it comes to understanding fundraising and the financial aspects of a fast-scaling venture.
According to the duo, preparing fundraising documents, structuring a deal, company valuation, term sheet negotiation, and so on, can be very challenging.
This idea fuelled their desire to provide hands-on support to entrepreneurs in dealing with the 'paperwork', while founders focus on the business's core operations.
Based on this, Kamrul and Omar launched 'ValueCorn' during the lockdown in August last year.
The venture was rebranded as Stellar Value Partners (SVP) by Shafqat Rahman, who later joined as an investor and co-founder.
SVP is a new breed of consultancy, providing full-fledged financial consultation and research support, blended with technology, to start-ups, ventures, and projects.
Generating fundraising valuation reports, financial analysis and projection, feasibility analysis, investment due diligence, and revenue model analysis are some of SVP's primary consultancy services.
Besides, this start-up is also offering four flagship services under these categories: Start-up/SME Loan, Investor Connect, SVP Virtual CFO and Start-up Jobs.
Start-ups and SMEs can apply for loans on this platform and it connects vetted loan applications to a suitable lending financial institution for facilitating the loan processing.
This platform also connects start-ups and investors. Founders can showcase their companies and connect with suitable investors, venture capital firms, and private equity companies.
With its help, instead of recruiting a full-time chief financial officer, companies can avail accounting, auditing, financial planning, VAT, and tax services from experienced finance and accounting professionals at a competitive price on a monthly subscription basis.
It is also the first-ever job portal in Bangladesh built solely for start-ups and SMEs to recruit employees, source talent, and co-founders.
The SVP team consists of 13 bright minds working under the guidance of its Chairman, Shafqat Rahman.
The team is led by one of the founders - Kamrul Arefin, CEO and managing director, while Omar Mahee serves as the director of Operations and Business Development.
This start-up works in collaboration with 14 partner companies to provide 360-degree services with the hopes of becoming a connecting hub for all kinds of business consultancy.
Moreover, it has a strong pool of 20 advisors and international affiliates who have vast experience in diversified domains.
In an interview with The Business Standard, when asked why the founders chose to launch a platform dedicated to start-ups, Kamrul said, "We believe Bangladesh's start-up ecosystem will go through a steep upward trajectory in the coming decade. This is the most perfect time for an organisation like ours to solve real problems for founders and help them run operations smoothly."
For their consultancy services, SVP sets rates on an 'ad hoc' basis; the prices are set based on criteria such as the stage of the start-ups, complexity of business and technology, fundraising stage, and so on.
On this, Kamrul said, "We know most start-ups are at the ideation or growth phase, which is why we offer very reasonable rates for our services. We are here to help entrepreneurs grow in the most cost-effective way possible, which can help them stay focused on the business, be structured, and ready for investment."
Before investing in any project, an investor requires a set of due diligence checklists, which is mandatory for any start-up or venture.
As more and more potential start-ups and ventures keep arriving, it is high time to get structured and accustomed to the scrutiny and due diligence of formal local and international investors.
"Being investment ready and knowing your own numbers not only proves professionalism and the project's investability to an investor but, it also immensely helps to plan internally, set KPI, assess performance, and nurture company missions," said Kamrul.
As start-ups are mainly disruptors, many are yet to figure out solid business or revenue models. Some even try to build a venture on a foundation (idea) which is unstable.
SVP finds it very difficult to work with start-ups that are yet to be structured or organised. "Be it a start-up or traditional business, we want to emphasise professionalism in every aspect of operations," said Kamrul while speaking of the challenges.
The SVP team comes across new and innovative ideas every day and there is no track record of data available to assess a start-up's stance.
Kamrul feels the necessity of a platform that could help his team with data analytics, market, industry, valuation, and investment-related data on start-ups in Bangladesh.
Working with investors is also very challenging for SVP as traditional investors in Bangladesh are yet to be familiarised with the process of investing in start-ups.
"This falls under a completely different asset class with its own risk parameters, return expectation, and investment circumstances. However, we are getting good responses from corporate investors and many are willing to explore this dynamic space," said Kamrul.
Though it has started with start-ups, SVP is expanding towards private equity analysis and the development sector as well.
Besides, SVP is also working to build the first corporate venture capital investment network in Bangladesh - SVP CVC Network.
To know more, you could visit the website: https://www.svpbd.com/