Funding is one of major gaps in Bangladesh Startup eco-system. A solid funding mechanism for startups, that understands needs and reality of a startup, is yet to take shape. One of the setbacks is of course policy. There is no policy to facilitate this sort of investment yet, instead existing policies create hindrance. Although few venture capital firms have already started operation but institutional funding is yet to become a common thing. Recently, we took time to make a list of Bangladeshi startups that have received institutional funding in last couple of years and we are not surprised to see a slim number.
Almost all of these startups have received their investment either from foreign VC, or foundation or investment firms. This also indicates how nascent startup investment infrastructure is in Bangladesh.
Chaldal: Chaldal.com, a grocery ecommerce startup that offers its customers to shop online and delivers their orders to home, raised its first institutional funding from 500 Startup last year. The seed funding amount was not disclosed but it helped Chaldal significantly to play strong in the market. Founded by Bangladeshi Waseem, who graduated from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, and Zia-a North South Graduate, Chadal believes that there is an easier and more comfortable way to shopping than that of grueling experience of hours in traffic, bad weather and waiting in long queue.
bKash: This leading mobile banking and financial service startup, started as a joint venture between BRAC Bank Limited, Bangladesh and Money in Motion LLC, USA, received its first equity investment from IFC in 2013. In the following year the startup received an US$11 million investment from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
SureCash: SureCash, a mobile banking and payment operator in Bangladesh, founded by Dr. Shahadat Khan in 2010 raises an amount of $7 Million in new funding from The Osiris Group, an Asian frontier market investment firm in last month. SureCash operates a mobile banking and payment platform that allows anyone with a mobile phone to deposit cash, send money, make purchases, and pay bills.
Priyo.com: This leading internet portal of the country received an undisclosed amount from Fenox Venture-a Silicon Valley based venture capital firm, last year. The announcement made in November, 2014 said, Fenox Venture decided to invest in Priyo.com. Although there is criticism and skepticism about Priyo in the market, the startup has been seeing an impressive growth since its launch in few years back.