The network aims to connect angel investors with promising early-stage entrepreneurs
Bangladesh Angels, a pioneering angel investment network in Bangladesh, was inaugurated, at Radisson Blu Dhaka Water Garden, on October 4.
HE Harry Verweij, ambassador of the Netherlands to Bangladesh, and Kazi Aminul Islam, executive director of the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority, were the special guests and chief guests, respectively.
The ceremony was also attended by: angel investors, venture capitalists, financiers, entrepreneurs, and other stakeholders from both Bangladesh and abroad.
Bangladesh Angels aims to connect angel investors – who desire to make investments in early stage businesses – with promising early-stage entrepreneurs.
The network will: identify such enterprises, support them in seeking funding, provide transactional support to angel investors, and enable mentorship and monitoring. It will evangelize startup funding, organize knowledge forums, and enable exchange programs with international angel investor networks.
In his opening remarks, the Dutch ambassador highlighted the increase in the number of incubators, accelerators, and venture capital firms helping the country reach middle-income status.
"Unfortunately many of these entrepreneurs struggle to make themselves bankable because of a lack of business know-how and ability to get finance," he said. "Organized platforms like [Bangladesh Angels] are critical in enabling wider participation of both investors and entrepreneurs to jumpstart entrepreneurial activities."
He said the Dutch embassy would be proud to support the initiative, which is being backed by Dutch Good Growth Fund (DGGF). DGGF, a program of the Dutch Foreign Ministry, facilitates development-oriented trade and investment. It is backing Bangladesh Angels through its technical assistance program, managed by Aavishkaar Venture Management.
The governing board of Bangladesh Angels – an independent Bangladeshi network with a separate legal entity – includes: Minhaz Anwar, CEO, Betterstories; Samad Miraly cofounder, Startup Dhaka; Tina Jabeen, investment advisor, Startup Bangladesh, ICT Division; Sajid Rahman, CEO, Telenor Health; and Sanchayan Chakraborty, partner, Aavishkaar.
Guided by the governing board, the network will provide end-to-end investment readiness support to entrepreneurs—while working with angel investors, often through syndication, to: identify, negotiate, close, and monitor investments.
Kazi M Aminul Islam, executive chairman, Bangladesh Investment Development Authority, said although investment rates in Bangladesh are increasing with international capital flowing in, a critical gap remains in funding for young entrepreneurs—that is not met by traditional financing.
"Therefore, angel investing can be the important bridge that not only provides flexible capital but, mentorship, to young entrepreneurs as they establish themselves," he said.
Prospective angel investors and entrepreneurs can go online to sign up for the network or apply for funding via www.bdangels.co. The network will have its first closed-door session between vetted start-ups and investors in January 2019.
For further details, interested parties can reach Nirjhor Rahman, CEO, Bangladesh Angels, at [email protected] or +8801706356116.