Seven Bangladeshi startups on Wednesday received venture capital investment worth Tk 150 million from a state owned financing platform dedicated to the startups.
The fund is the first series of investment from a total of Tk 1.0 billion set aside to be invested by Startup Bangladesh Limited, a venture capital financing platform under the ICT Division.
The seven startups receiving the first series of investments include ride-sharing service Pathao, healthcare-technology company Dhaka Cast and Moner Bondhu, e-commerce platform Chaldal, education technology company Eduhive, utility service providers' digital platform Sheba.xyz, and a software service provider Intelligent Machines.
They inked deals with Startup Bangladesh Ltd at a ceremony held in the Bangladesh Computer Council (BCC) in the city's Sher-E-Bangla Nagar area.
Representatives of the selected startups and Tina Jabeen, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Startup Bangladesh Ltd signed the agreements.
Through the ceremony, Startup Bangladesh Ltd also formally launched a special programme called 'ShotoBorshe Shoto Asha' (a hundred hopes in the centenary) to invest Tk 1.0 billion to 50 startups in the year 2021 marking the birth centenary Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Zunaid Ahmed Palak, the State Minister to the Information Communication and Technology (ICT) Division, attended the launching and signing ceremony as the Chief Guest, while Mohibul Hasan Chowdhury, Deputy Education Minister attended as the Special Guest.
Besides, Parthapratim Deb, Executive Director of the BCC, Mustafa Turan, Turkish Ambassador to Bangladesh, investors and other guests joined the programme virtually.
Speaking on the occasion, Zunaid Ahmed Palak expressed hope that the special VC funding programme will help the country achieve its vision to become a digital Bangladesh by the end of 2021.
He said the various initiatives taken by the government in previous years has enabled the country to march toward a digital economy.
"Now global technology companies are also making investment in Bangladesh," he said and added that: "Japanese technology giant Sony has asked for 25 acres of land in hi-tech park in Sylhet".
Mohibul Hasan Chowdhury said the use of technology in education has proved its efficacy during the pandemic.
The deputy minister urged the startups to develop more educational platforms to help the education sector adopt technological solutions for attaining more from teaching and learning.
Tina Jabeen said Startup Bangladesh began its journey with an allocation of Tk 5.0 billion from the government aiming to support the local innovative businesses.
The company now looks to help the local startups expand their activities toward the global arena, she said.