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Topics - Maliha Islam

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When Liz Elting was living out of a dorm room in her 20s, she saw a big gap in the translation business. She decided to fill it herself.

It’s the time of year when we put on our cozy sweaters, watch the leaves change, and grab a warm chai latte with a friend… It’s also when millions of college students have stepped onto campus for the first time. Those first jittery months of college are often the moment when we first start to dream up how we want to make our mark on the world. While some of us changed majors many times as we decided what path we wanted to take, others were laser-focused on their futures from day one. We’ve all heard stories of successful entrepreneurs who got their start in their college dorm rooms — Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Liz Elting.

Liz Elting is the founder of Trans Perfect — now the world’s largest language translation company — which she launched in an NYU dorm room in 1992 without any outside funding. Her mission was simple: to provide the highest quality language services to leading organizations worldwide.

The company now has over $1 billion in revenue and offices in more than 100 cities worldwide. Liz shares what she learned about creating a company from nothing in her new book: “Dream Big and Win: Translating Power Into Purpose and Creating a Billion-Dollar Business.”

Liz loved learning new languages from an early age, and grew up studying Portuguese, French, Spanish, and Latin. After college, she moved to New York and immediately got a job at a translation company — but quickly started to notice that things could be done better. “A client would call up and say, ‘I need this five-page document translated, how long will it take?’ And I would say a week but I knew it could be done in one or two days if that’s what they really needed,” she says, “And I also thought we needed a local presence because our clients were around the world and I could envision a company with offices around the world.”

She went to business school and after a short stint on Wall Street, decided to create the translation business of her dreams. The only problem was funding. “I thought, we are not in a position to work on getting funding. We don’t have time to create this complicated business plan. We just need to sell,” Liz said. So that’s precisely what she focused on from day one – making 300 phone calls in a day, and working 120-hour weeks until her company was able to move into an office space and hire its first employees.

Listen to the episode to hear the qualities Liz Elting was looking for when hiring her core team of employees, why she decided not to take venture capital money, and what lessons she learned from eventually selling the business to her ex-fiancé.

How She Does It is bringing you stories like these, that celebrate female risk-taking in business and beyond, every Monday. Listen and subscribe on Apple Podcasts! And don’t forget to share with a friend if you’re loving the show!


Entrepreneurial cognition: A key factor that differentiates successful entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurial cognition is a field of study that delves into the cognitive processes, mental frameworks, and decision-making mechanisms that drive entrepreneurial behavior. It is the knowledge structures that people use to make assessments, judgments or decisions involving opportunity evaluation, venture creation and growth.  In the dynamic and competitive world of entrepreneurship, understanding the mindset of successful entrepreneurs becomes paramount to unlock the secrets behind their achievements. The key factor that differentiates successful entrepreneurs from unsuccessful or less successful entrepreneurs is the entrepreneurial cognition.

The field of entrepreneurship has been studied from a psychological perspective but little attention has been given to cognitive perspective. The cognitive perspective in entrepreneurship emphasizes the role of the human mind in shaping entrepreneurial behavior. The cognitive approach involves studying specific types of cognitions that play a significant role in explaining entrepreneurial behavior, business success, and how entrepreneurs can be distinguished from non-entrepreneurs. Researchers adopting this approach emphasize that cognitive aspects are crucial in setting entrepreneurs apart from others. These cognitive elements encompass a wide spectrum, including beliefs, values, cognitive styles, and mental processes. By delving into these cognitive factors, researchers seek to uncover the unique mindset and thought patterns that drive entrepreneurial individuals to achieve their goals and stand out in the business world.

The main cognitive factors of entrepreneurship include “self-efficacy”, “scripts” and “cognitive styles”. Self Efficacy is an important predictor of why individuals with the exactly same learned skill act differently.  Defined by Bandura, self efficacy is “one’s beliefs in their abilities to perform a certain level of performance or desired outcomes that influence situations that affect their lives”. Scripts on the other hand, refers to the structured and organized knowledge that an individual possesses about a specific concept; a comprehensive mental framework that aids in understanding and processing information related to that particular concept. An entrepreneurial expert becomes an expert because of the knowledge structure or scripts about a particular domain, a factor that differentiates him from novices. Cognitive Styles refers to an individual’s unique manner of perceiving and interpreting environmental stimuli. It encompasses how people organize and utilize information derived from their surroundings to inform and direct their actions. Individuals with a knowing style prefer to analyze and understand things based on facts and data. They have a strong desire to know precisely how things work and remember many details. They are focused on completing tasks accurately and excel at solving complex problems as long as there is a clear and logical solution available.

Entrepreneurship, from a cognitive perspective, explains an individual’s behavior regarding the identification of opportunities for starting and growing businesses. Cognitive ability of successful entrepreneurs allows them to spot gaps in the market, foresee emerging trends, and connect seemingly unrelated information to create innovative solutions. Where entrepreneurship inherently involves taking risk, cognitive factors such as risk tolerance, risk perception, and the ability to evaluate potential outcomes play a crucial role in the decision-making process. Correspondingly, when it comes to decision making, entrepreneurs take into consideration rationality, intuition, and heuristics to guide their decisions effectively. Another important aspect is the creative thinking of entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs who think outside of the box and embrace creativity can develop groundbreaking products and services that disrupt industries and create new market niches.

Another significant deriver of entrepreneurial success is experience. Kolb’s experiential learning theory highlights the significant influence of our experiences, encompassing our thoughts, emotions, and environment, on the process of learning. In this theory, learning is not a passive activity but an active and dynamic process that involves engaging with real-life experiences and reflecting on them to gain insights and knowledge. It emphasizes that our perceptions, emotions, and interactions with the environment all play essential roles in shaping how we absorb and internalize new information, leading to a more holistic and transformative learning experience. Since decision making is based on the knowledge acquired through the learning process, and the fact that there is no perfect information makes Kolb’s experiential learning rather more relevant which combines previously gained knowledge, perception, cognition and experience.

Human cognitive functioning in decision making processes can often lead to biases, errors or limitations. Research on heuristics (cognitive shortcuts or simplifying strategies that individuals employ to handle and process information, aiming to minimize uncertainty and facilitate decision-making) states that entrepreneurs using logic while coming across heuristics turn out to be more orthodox in their decision making. Entrepreneurs can be influenced by several cognitive biases that impact their decision-making processes. The overconfidence bias leads them to overestimate their abilities and the likelihood of success, potentially resulting in risky decisions and underestimation of challenges. Confirmation bias causes entrepreneurs to seek information that aligns with their existing beliefs, hindering their ability to identify potential pitfalls or consider alternative opportunities. Loss aversion makes entrepreneurs more sensitive to potential losses than gains, making them risk-averse and reluctant to take necessary risks. The anchoring effect causes entrepreneurs to rely heavily on the first piece of information they encounter, potentially skewing their judgment and leading to suboptimal choices. These biases can significantly shape an entrepreneur’s behavior and outcomes in the business world.

The world of entrepreneurship is driven by innovation, risk-taking, and relentless pursuit of opportunities. Behind every successful venture lies the entrepreneurial cognition – the unique way entrepreneurs think, perceive, and process information. Entrepreneurs have been recognized for their unique ability to process information, leading to the development of the concept of “entrepreneurial cognition.” This distinctive cognitive capacity has become a defining characteristic that sets entrepreneurs apart from other individuals in the business realm. Understanding cognitive perspective on entrepreneurship is vital for aspiring entrepreneurs, educators, policymakers, and researchers to unlock the secrets of successful entrepreneurship and foster a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem. To conclude, entrepreneurial cognition provides a fascinating insight into the minds of successful entrepreneurs. By understanding the cognitive processes involved in opportunity recognition, risk management, decision-making, creativity, and resilience, aspiring entrepreneurs can develop their cognitive skills and increase their chances of success.


Smart Business Idea / The European Angel Investment Summit 2023: Health
« on: October 07, 2023, 11:07:26 AM »
The European Angel Investment Summit 2023: Health

NUA Surgical
NUA Surgical is committed to innovating surgical solutions in obstetrics and gynecology. With a founding team boasting over 50 years of combined experience, they collaborate with global key opinion leaders to address critical unmet clinical needs.


XTremedy Medical
XTremedy Medical is addressing the critical issue of Diabetic Foot Ulcers by developing innovative surgical technology that effectively treats these infections. This technology aims to reduce the need for multiple surgeries and improve patient outcomes.


LoValTech is a deeptech startup created in January 2022 to relay the academic research of the University of Tours and INRAE to bring the first vaccine candidate to its clinical phases. Winner of the i-Lab and France 2030 competitions, the company develops next-generation vaccines. These vaccNasal proteins are able to better protect all populations against infectious diseases, such as COVID-19, by inducing a dual mucosal and systemic immune response, which not only protects against severe forms but also blocks transmission of the virus.


Ansana produces an intelligent sterilization container technology that ensures sterility and traceability in hospital and industrial processes. With exclusive global patent rights, their technology reduces patient risk, enhances ecological sustainability, and improves operational efficiency by lowering costs.



The European Angel Investment Summit 2023: Africa | Powered by AEDIBNET

Prim-U aims to revolutionise the beauty and cosmetics industry by bridging the gap between suppliers and customers. With a focus on natural cosmetic ingredients sourced from Africa, they provide highquality products, support local suppliers, and promote sustainable practices. Additionally, their network of experienced service providers ensures that customers receive top-notch beauty treatments that enhance their well-being.


Kenya Christian School For The Deaf
Interact-ALL is a dual assistive device and digital solution that advances scalable solution that aids acquisition of sign language and improves the literacy skills of early-grade learners. It’s aimed at guaranteeing every deaf and hard-of-hearing children the opportunity to access sign language in early year’s stages and by ensuring that no child is left behind.


Kimodata by Oxford Aptitude Limited is a versatile data collection solution, capturing images, text, numerical data, voice, and location info. It offers services like fieldwork, focus groups, remote data collection, and API integration for diverse applications.


In Tanzania there is only one bus per 13,200 inhabitants, in a country where intercity travel relies on buses. As a workaround to the inadequate public transport, passengers pay informal travel middlemen on the roadside to wave down car owners driving their way, which is highly unreliable with no safety guarantees and these middlemen take exorbitant cuts. Twenzao bridges this gap through a carpooling application.


Reslocate utilizes AI matchmaking to help students search for suitable housing, locate student communities, financing, and career opportunities based on their preferences.


Salubata pioneers sustainable fashion with modular shoes crafted from repurposed plastic waste. Our cutting-edge carbon decomposition technology takes a leap forward in climate action


The Carbon Games
The Carbon Games is revolutionizing climate tech. We provide a premier carpooling app tailored for events and a white-label solution designed for corporates. Pioneering blockchain "insets", we've launched a niche carbon marketplace. Our upcoming solutions include peer-to-peer car rentals and CO2- optimized water routing. Anchored by a unique success-fee B2B2C model, we're driving impactful ecofriendly changes in transportation and sustainability sectors


Miivo Mobility
Miivo Mobility is an app that unifies all the sustainable mobility options available in any city in a single application, allowing you to consult, book and, soon, pay for all transports without the need to have different accounts for each one.

In addition, Miivo includes a gamification system that encourages the use of sustainable transport by allowing our users to obtain rewards and discounts in all those businesses with which we collaborate for the simple fact of using the app.


Gavo Foods International's solution lies in producing gluten-free keto organic flours and breads from locally sourced raw materials. By partnering with small-holder farmers, the company provides training and support to improve farming practices, resulting in increased crop yields and income. The gluten-free keto organic products offered by Gavo Foods cater to individuals with gluten intolerance, malnourished children, and those striving to maintain a healthier lifestyle.


Senso makes it possible for people with hearing loss to receive everyday sounds and lifesaving sounds to their wrists through vibrations and color coded LED lights. This enables a person with a hearing loss to be in control of their lives. Senso wearer receives vibrations and color-coded LED lights of the specific sensor that has picked up the sound.



Smart Business Idea / Food Related Ideas
« on: October 02, 2023, 11:28:50 AM »
Food Related Ideas

Smart Business Idea / The European Angel Investment Summit 2023:Space
« on: October 02, 2023, 10:46:39 AM »
The European Angel Investment Summit 2023: Space

Orbify automates satellite imagery analysis, streamlining the environmental impact measurement as well as the planning & monitoring of climate-positive projects

- Effectively measure, report & verify your NbS projects with remote sensing data-based dashboards

- Efficiently leverage satellite-based data for EUDR due diligence certificates

- Seamlessly integrate geospatial data into your ESG reporting


Sternula is a new maritime satellite connectivity provider offering global AIS 2.0 connectivity. We launched our first satellite in 2023, and now we are seeking financing for another 4 satellites.

Digital communication with the ship bridge (like the cockpit of an airplane) has always been difficult, because the risk of cyber attacks prevents the use of open internet. To solve this problem, the VHF Data Exchange System (VDES) was developed by maritime authorities and industry. The technology extends mandatory AIS, and therefore we use the term "AIS 2.0". Sternula is Europe's youngest satellite operator and the world's first commercial provider of satellite-based AIS 2.0 connectivity.

Pythom Space is developing a complete human-rated space transportation system. First up is orbital rocket Eiger - a small, affordable and ultra-light launch vehicle aimed at serving the rapidly growing small satellite market.

By working in a small team and developing key technologies in-house, Pythom is able to keep down costs and work exceptionally fast. Bringing 150 kg of payload to orbit at a price of 1.2M, Eiger will dramatically lower the cost of access to space for dedicated rockets.


Devanthro is developing Robody Cares, a full-service care solution combining humanoid robotic avatars with local caregivers to allow elderlies to age at home in dignity instead in a care home.

Devanthro is a robotics and AI trailblazer tackling the global elderly care crisis. Building on 9 years of full-stack robotics R&D and three generations of humanoid robots, the company is setting a new standard for 24/7 elderly care. By augmenting human caregivers with Robodies - advanced robotic avatars - Devanthro offers a groundbreaking solution to caregiver shortages and enhances the quality of life for seniors.


Vyoma is building the operating system of space. With cameras on satellites paired with ML-supported automation services, Vyoma ensures real-time mapping of space objects and safe satellite operations. In short, Vyoma provides the critical infrastructure needed for satellite safety as our orbits get 10-100x busier in the next decade.

A young and agile company based in Germany, Vyoma combines more than a century of expertise in space surveillance with our team and advisory board, all brought together by a passion for space sustainability. Vyoma caters to satellite operators, space reinsurers, defense, and governments across the world.


Starflight Dynamics
We develop the technology to bring heavy industry to space.


The German aerospace start-up POLARIS Raumflugzeuge GmbH is developing a revolutionary reusable space launch and hypersonic transport system that operates like an aircraft.

Based on more than 30 years of German and European spaceplane research, the development of the spaceplane AURORA began at the German Aerospace Center DLR. Aurora combines aircraft and rocket launcher technologies with a unique vehicle design, and offers a game-changing economic viability as well as opening the door for routine low-cost and safe access to space.

In order to validate the technology and accelerate the spaceplane development, POLARIS has been developing a series of scaled flight demonstrators.


MEOSS provides solutions combining satellite imagery and local information for local authorities and their delegates.

Created in October 2018, our start-up is specialized in the creation of services from satellite imagery and map data. MEOSS offers operational decision-making tools for the management and enhancement of territories.



The European Angel Investment Summit 2023: Climate Tech

Greenaureus specialises in user-friendly, efficient, and transparent sustainable software for e-commerce and retail. Their offerings empower consumers and companies to combat climate change and prevent greenwashing with selling points, including real-time CO2 offset tracking, affordable CO2 compensation, and robust security via NFT and blockchain tech.


Hortee facilitates connections between local farmers and consumers, promoting transparency and reducing waste. This sustainable approach cuts carbon emissions, saving 2128 kg CO2eq/user yearly. Hortee offers secure online transactions, AI-driven product recognition, and complete traceability, enhancing your food experience.


Nitrogen Sensing Solutions excels in digital biosensing systems for real-time, high-sensitivity water testing of ammonium, nitrite, and nitrate. Their flagship product, NOxAqua, features disposable sensing strips and a handheld reader. Proprietary software conducts data analysis, delivering results to customers' smart devices.



The European Angel Investment Summit 2023:  Fueling Europe's Growth

The European Angel Investment Summit  taking place in Brussels, on October 10-11, is just around the corner! We have a lineup of 25+ innovative startups and scaleups that will be showcased at the event.  Get to know the first batch of our hand-picked companies ahead of the Summit:

Ajinomatrix offers AI-driven sensory analysis technology for the food and beverage industry, enhancing product development and consumer satisfaction. It aids in achieving sustainability goals, reducing resource consumption, and crafting tailored products to meet market demands.


AlongRoute, through using AI models, addresses imprecise ship weather routing and fuel emissions (typically 3-10%). Overcoming physics complexities, it offers precise marine forecasts, improving routing solutions by up to 130%. Aiming for greener, safer, and cost-efficient maritime operations.


Codeshield empowers cloud development teams to create identity and access management in the public cloud in a secure and efficient manner.


Intuitivo offers an all-in-one web platform designed to assist educators in test and exercise creation and grading. This innovative tool saves teachers more than 2 working days per month, while also enhancing student motivation and the overall quality of education.


Joylists empowers creatives using its SaaS features. Users gain access to a media library, editable templates, marketplace components, status updates, followers, highlights, and social media integration. Joylists further supports them by automating tasks like tax returns, content generation, trend prediction, and more.


Neuwo, a contextual AI engine, specializes in content classification and brand safety. Their tech enhances publisher and digital asset manager experiences, enabling non-disruptive advertising. It enriches data with meta tags, relevant content, and IAB taxonomy, aiming to maximize the value of your data.


Orbito Travel's mission is to foster an inclusive travel community where individuals with reduced mobility can fully engage in a socially sustainable tourism sector, ensuring equal opportunities for all.


Racksnet addresses the growing complexity of network automation for Dell, Cisco, HPE Aruba & Huawei by offering cost-effective, AI-powered solutions that independently, securely, and efficiently manage and automate enterprise networks, breaking free from hardware limitations and programming requirements.


Senecio, in partnership with pest control company Rentokil, has established an operational factory in Israel under Horizon2020 funding. They distribute sterile mosquitoes to 6 cities, aiming to expand into the EU and US markets. Their solution involves non-biting male mosquitoes that hinder the development of the next generation through sterility.



Here are top 10 Singapore start-ups to work for, according to LinkedIn — most are in fintech

Venture funding has taken a hit since 2022, as investors pull back on capital amid economic headwinds.

According to a report from research firm Tracxn, total funding into Southeast Asian startups fell by 71% to $2.3 billion in the first half of 2023 — compared to the same period one year ago.

Singapore startups attracted at least half of the funding and was the most-funded Southeast Asian city in the region, said the report.

LinkedIn added that the startups that made the list “have trailblazed their way through recent economic and workplace challenges — and managed to stand out to investors and top talent along the way.”

Much like 2022, fintech start-ups made up more than half of the companies on the “LinkedIn Top Start-ups 2023″ list for Singapore.

“This reflects the current needs of Singaporean consumers, who are keen to manage their finances and manage their wealth,” Adrian Tay, the senior editor in Asia for LinkedIn News told CNBC last year.

In compiling the list, LinkedIn drew on in-house data, measuring start-ups based on four aspects — employment growth, jobseeker interest, engagement, and ability to attract talent from LinkedIn’s top companies.

To be eligible, companies had to be headquartered in Singapore, have 50 or more employees. LinkedIn said it also lowered its age criteria from seven years or younger, to five years and below to “feature more companies in their earlier, venture stages of growth.”

Here’s the full list of Singapore’s Top Start-ups 2022.

10. Thunes — Financial services

9. Syfe — Financial services

8. ADDX — Financial services

7. Endowus — Financial services

6. Sleek — Accounting

5. Advance Intelligence Group
Industry: Software development

Full-time headcount: >1400

Most common skills: Business management, digital literacy, project management

Founded in 2016, Advance Intelligence Group is an AI tech startup with a portfolio of products, including buy-now-pay-later platform Atome, e-commerce intelligence platform Ginee, and risk-management platform ADVANCE.AI. According to the company, it has more than 30 million users across its products.

4. GetGo Carsharing
Industry: Software development

Full-time headcount: 167

Most common skills: Digital literacy, data science, project management

New to the list is GetGo Carsharing, a car-sharing service that operates on a pay-per-use model. The company aims to alleviate expenses associated with car ownership, and claims to have accumulated more than 1.8 million bookings thus far.

3. Doctor Anywhere
Industry: Health care

Full-time headcount: >580

Most common skills: Digital literacy, business management, leadership

Doctor Anywhere is a telehealth provider that aims to make health care more accessible. Its mobile app allows patients to consult a doctor quickly from wherever they are. Doctor Anywhere’s services are currently available in 6 countries across Southeast Asia.

2. YouTrip
Industry: Financial services

Full-time headcount: 140

Most common skills: Digital literacy, development tools, project management

YouTrip, another debutant this year, is a fintech startup that aims to reduce foreign transaction and cross-border fees with its multi-currency mobile wallet. Its platform offers users over 150 currencies, enabling convenient currency exchange while on the move.

1. Aspire
Industry: Financial services

Full-time headcount: 437

Most common skills: Digital literacy, business management, leadership, communication

Aspire retains its top spot as the most attractive start-up in Singapore. Founded in 2018, the company offers a range of financial tools for small businesses, including invoicing and money transfers, through an all-in-one platform catered toward entrepreneurs in Southeast Asia. In June, Aspire said it had achieved profitability — three months after closing its $100 million series C funding round.


Top 10 Fintech Startup Investments Powering Southeast Asia in 2023

The Southeast Asian fintech startup has been a dynamic landscape, with countries like China, India, Singapore, and Indonesia emerging as fintech hubs, each with unique strengths and focus areas. Besides, governments across Asia actively work on fintech regulations to balance innovation and consumer protection. In 2023, the industry attracted substantial investments, with strong financial inclusion and blockchain technology gaining acceptance in some countries.

We delve into fintech developments with the top 10 investment stories that have empowered startups across Southeast Asia to pave the way for a more inclusive and technologically advanced financial future.

Singapore’s Bunker Raised US$5 M to Expand Financial Analytics Platform in the Region

In July this year, Bunker, a Singapore-based financial analytics platform, secured over US$5 million in pre-seed and seed funding. This investment came from a consortium of regional investors, including Northstar Group, Alpine Ventures, Patamar Capital, and January Capital. GFC, Money Forward, Alpine Ventures, Patamar Capital, and nine angel investors also contributed to the funding round.

Bunker’s is designed to offer executives comprehensive financial visibility, effectively transforming overlooked entries within general ledgers into actionable insights. With the new investment, Bunker will invest capital in its innovation and expand regional operations.

Orderfaz Secured Pre-Seed Funding for Indonesian Social Commerce Fintech

In another July deal, Indonesian fintech startup Orderfaz concluded an undisclosed pre-seed funding round. This funding round was led by the Singapore-based venture capital firm 1982 Ventures, the sole investor.

Established as a recently launched fintech startup, Orderfaz has been catering to the requirements of social commerce sellers within Indonesia. Since its soft launch in March 2023, the company has rapidly gained ground in the Indonesian market.

Orderfaz’s platform offers a seamless browsing experience through a convenient browser plug-in, streamlining the purchasing process for sellers with its one-click checkout feature. Additionally, it equips sellers with a robust fraud mitigation strategy by meticulously tracking the purchase history of authenticated buyers.

Sunrate Secured Series D-1 Funding for Global Payment Expansion

In June, Singapore-based digital payment platform Sunrate revealed the successful closure of its Series D-1 funding round. The funding round was led by Prosperity7 Ventures, a growth fund affiliated with Aramco Ventures, and saw additional investments from SoftBank Ventures Asia.

Sunrate has established itself as a smart global payment and treasury management platform provider, offering businesses a means to streamline their B2B payments and financial operations efficiently.

The company’s extensive network and robust APIs help companies navigate and expand their operations seamlessly, locally and globally, across more than 150 countries.

Singapore’s Utu Expands Reach with CardsPal Acquisition in Tax-Free Shopping Sector

Singapore-based travel tech company Utu raised 33 million in a Series B funding round, with SC Ventures leading the investment efforts in June this year. Utu recently acquired CardsPal, a Singapore-based fintech firm renowned for its specialization in localized deals and promotions.

The travel sector has seen limited venture funding in recent years, primarily centered around short-term rent and cardinal hospitality. Utu’s mission is to reimagine the tax-free shopping experience, offering tourists a streamlined process for reclaiming Value Added Tax (VAT) on their purchases while enhancing their shopping journey.

With the introduction of Utu’s Tax-Free Card, customers are presented with two compelling choices: they can opt for frequent flyer miles or hotel points as an alternative to traditional VAT refunds, or they can select an immediate store voucher equivalent to 120% of the VAT, or GST paid while shopping abroad.

Finfra Investment Fueled Indonesian Embedded Finance Expansion

Indonesian startup Finfra secured $1 million in new funding in late June. The funding round attracted participation from investors, including DSX Ventures, Seedstars International Ventures, Cento Ventures, Fintech Nation, FirstPick, BADideas Fund, and Hustle Fund.

The company invests the infused capital into product development and enhancing Finfra’s engineering, data, and finance teams.

Finfra, stemming from its roots as Danabijak, a successful consumer financial services provider, will continue to operate as a subsidiary. Finfra aims to deliver the essential technological infrastructure that empowers online businesses to offer embedded finance products. The newly acquired funds are expected to fuel the company’s ongoing efforts in product development and talent acquisition, allowing it to serve the dynamic demands of the market better.

Pepper Group Expands into Indian Fintech Landscape with $150 Million investment

On June 12, 2023, Pepper Group, a global consumer finance company, unveiled its ambitious plan to venture into the Indian market with the launch of a fintech startup operating under the banner of Pepper Money. Pepper Group pledged an investment of $150 million over the next four years, focusing on the largely untapped potential of smaller cities in India.

Pepper Money aspires to redefine the landscape of consumer finance, with a strategic emphasis on Tier 2 and 3 cities. Leveraging India’s remarkable economic growth and a tech-savvy, youthful population, the company envisions a transformative impact on the country’s financial landscape.

VentureTECH SBI and VentureTECH Invest $2.4 Million in Bayo Pay to Fuel Fintech Growth in Malaysia

June saw many notable fintech investments. VentureTECH SBI and VentureTECH joined forces collectively, investing $2.4 million into Bayo Pay, a licensed Mastercard Non-Bank E-Money Issuer. This funding initiative, spearheaded by VentureTECH SBI, was designed to accelerate the expansion of Bayo Pay’s core operations while fortifying its B2B2X label Digital Payment-as-a-Service solutions.

Bayo Pay has positioned itself as a provider of comprehensive digital payment solutions catering to SMEs and corporate entities. Its innovative B2B2X model empowers clients by granting access to its proprietary technology, enabling them to create scalable private-label payment solutions.

SkorLife Secured Seed Funding to Promote Financial Literacy in Indonesia

Indonesian fintech startup SkorLife raised $4 million in a Seed funding round in May. This financing round was anchored by the global tech investor Hummingbird Ventures, with participation from QED Investors. Existing investors AC Ventures and Saison Capital also joined forces to support the startup’s vision.

SkorLife has emerged as a pioneering credit builder in Indonesia, co-founded by Ongki Kurniawan and Karan Khetan. The company introduces an innovative approach that allows individuals to access their credit scores from the nation’s credit bureaus and gain valuable insights and tips to enhance their creditworthiness, ultimately enabling them to access better credit opportunities.

Advance Secured Pre-Series A Funding to Enhance Financial Access in the Philippines and Vietnam

On March 29, 2023, Filipino fintech company Advance raised US$16 million in a pre-Series A funding round. Prominent investors spearheaded this funding endeavor Do Ventures and Lendable, with the active participation of new investors Phoenix Holdings, Kaya Founders, Foxmont Capital, Oyster Ventures, and Crossocean Ventures. Additionally, existing investors supported the startup’s vision, including Wavemaker Partners, Next Billion Ventures, Integra Partners, and Accion Venture Lab.

Advance is dedicated to facilitating easier access to essential financial services while expanding its outreach to underserved regions. Since its inception in 2018, the startup has been instrumental in offering salary advances and other financial services to underserved employees in the Philippines, a country where almost half of the population remains unbanked.

With this latest funding infusion, Advance plans to introduce a range of innovative financial products and extend its services to additional partners in both the Philippines and Vietnam.

Alchemy Pay Gets Investment to Fuel Cryptocurrency-Fiat Integration in Korea

On April 4, 2023, Singapore-based payment gateway Alchemy Pay secured $10 million in funding from DWF Labs, a prominent multi-stage web3 investment firm. This strategic investment aimed to strengthen Alchemy Pay’s payment business expansion efforts in Korea, capitalizing on the region’s growing cryptocurrency acceptance and supporting Korean enterprises in their pursuit of internationalization.

During the funding phase, Alchemy Pay garnered an estimated valuation of $400 million, reflecting its growing influence in the cryptocurrency-fiat integration sphere.

Alchemy Pay has an extensive partnership roster that includes industry giants like Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and Diners Club, as well as mobile payment platforms such as Google Pay and Apple Pay, alongside regional mobile wallets and domestic transfer options.

The company extends beyond traditional credit cards, encompassing over 300 local alternative payment channels. Alchemy Pay has also introduced the innovative NFT Checkout service, which streamlines the acquisition of NFTs using fiat payment options, aligning it with standard online payment processes.

In conclusion, 2023 has been pivotal for fintech startups across Southeast Asia, marking a phase of rapid growth and innovation. With this, the future of the fintech startup scene in Asia holds significant promise, characterized by continued growth, a focus on financial inclusion, and innovations in payments, lending, and credit services.


AI digital marketing startup NexMind raises seed funding from 500 Global

NexMind, an AI-powered multilingual digital marketing platform, announced yesterday that it had secured seed funding from Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm 500 Global. NexMind empowers professionals across industries with advanced SEO tools to create search-optimized content in 17 languages through its proprietary AI framework which eliminate the need for technical SEO expertise from the user. Its customers are from leading global and regional companies across multiple industries, including banking, insurance, electronics, security, IT, telecom and more.

Founded in 2019, NexMind has been self-funded and said it has been operating profitably since 2021. The undisclosed funding amount will be used to expand product offerings and accelerate customer acquisition worldwide.

NexMind simplifies and streamlines how brands create multilingual search-optimized content that ranks on search engines like Google and Bing, as well as eCommerce marketplaces like Amazon, Lazada, and Shopee, allowing brands to boost organic traffic to their website and online stores to reach a global audience.

“Our focus is to help business teams generate more leads, increase brand awareness, and enhance their productivity through advanced yet intuitive AI tools. We are proud to have the support of 500 Global in our mission to be a world-class AI solutions provider,” said Francis Lui, CEO and founder of NexMind.

“There are 5 billion internet users in the world, and 3 billion more are projected to come online by 2040. To reach them you’ll need to speak their languages. We believe NexMind’s multilingual AI solutions will propel the growth of today’s online businesses, accelerate the exchange of goods and services for the next wave of internet users, and have a positive impact on the future of our global economy,” said Khailee Ng, Managing Partner, 500 Global.

Additionally, NexMind also launched Text2Social, a new feature that increases user efficiency by allowing them to generate engaging social media posts across multiple channels with one click. The startup describes this as a significant development that allows users to create social media posts in any of the 17 languages, ensuring their message is localized and relevant to garner higher engagement.

The tool conducts in-depth audience research to identify multiple data points useful for generating effective social media content, enabling marketers to spend less time on data analysis, and more time implementing data-driven decisions that support their marketing and communication goals.

Among the languages supported currently are Bahasa Indonesia, Bahasa Malaysia, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog, Thai, and Vietnamese.

NexMind was co-founded by Francis, Bernie Law (Chief Product Officer), and Pattrine Hong (Chief Financial Officer). Francis previously founded Nexus Mediaworks International an SEO company and a Google Premier Partner agency. He launched NexMind to build a platform that makes the digital marketing skills he acquired over a decade accessible to everyone - in seconds.


Newspaper / Bangladesh moves four notches up, ranks 89th
« on: June 03, 2023, 05:20:41 PM »
Bangladesh moves four notches up, ranks 89th

Bangladesh has moved four notches up to 89th position in the latest edition of an index that analyses the global startup ecosystem.

In the category of the city, the country's capital Dhaka also improved its position by 115 notches to secure 211st position, said the Global Startup Ecosystem Index 2023 report.

Israel-based international research organization Startup Blink launched the report on Tuesday.

According to it, Bangladesh ranked 93rd consecutively in the last two years while the rank was 98 in the 2020 edition of the report.

Regarding Bangladesh's improvement in the ranking, the report said: "Our country rankings are discounted based on population; with the large population of Bangladesh, a 4-spot increase is significant."

The severe public transport problem in Dhaka city has been a goldmine for the startups as the city has been ranked among the top 100 cities globally for the transportation industry.

"Dhaka's climb up the Index can be attributed to the impact that its startups achieved (quality score)," the report said. Among the South Asian nations, India ranked 21, Pakistan 76, Sri Lanka 83 in the index.

The report said Bangladesh has strong economic potential, which will require active support from the government to materialize.

"Top priorities should be improving infrastructure, including internet stability," said the report, adding: "The government should also work on policy support, arrangement of corporate venture capital, and improving industry-academia collaboration to support the growth of startups."

The report mentioned that the Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority has built four Hi-Tech parks like Bangabandhu Hi-Tech City to elevate the growth of the local tech industry.

The index ranked the United States (US) as the best startup ecosystem, while all the top five countries maintained their position from last year.

The US is followed by the United Kingdom, Israel, Canada, and Sweden in the ranking.

Singapore, Germany, France, Australia, and the Netherlands were placed at sixth to tenth positions respectively. San Francisco, New York, London, Los Angeles, Boston, Beijing, Shanghai, Bangalore, Paris, and Tel Aviv were the top 10 cities on the list.


Venture Capital / How to Build a Successful Company?
« on: May 09, 2023, 04:39:23 PM »
How to Build a Successful Company?

In today’s fast-paced and ever-evolving business world, the term “successful company” is often used to describe organizations that have managed to achieve exceptional growth, profitability, and market dominance. However, building a successful company is not just about generating high revenues or achieving a large market share. Rather, it is about creating a sustainable business model that delivers real value to customers while ensuring long-term profitability and growth.

Building a successful company is not easy, but it is possible with the right mindset, strategies, and execution. A successful company requires a lot of hard work, dedication, and persistence to overcome obstacles and achieve goals. In this article, we will provide a comprehensive guide to help you build a successful company from scratch.

12 Ways to Build a Successful Company
Building a successful company involves several essential steps. Let’s go over the essential steps you need to build a successful company.

Analyze the Market and Competition
Analyzing the market allows entrepreneurs to identify potential opportunities and gaps in the market that their business can fill. By understanding customer needs, preferences, and trends, businesses can develop products or services that better meet these demands, providing a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

Develop a Business Plan
Develop a comprehensive business plan to outline your company's goals, strategies, and financial projections. This plan serves as a roadmap for your business and should include your company's vision, mission, and values. In addition to that, identify your target market, analyze the competition, and define your unique selling proposition. Determine the resources and funding required to start and operate your business.

To monitor your expenses and revenue and ensure adequate cash flow for your business in the long term, include financial projections and budgets in your business plan. Building a successful business requires a solid business plan.

This plan will act as a blueprint for your company -- helping you make informed decisions and stay focused on your goals as you face the challenges of entrepreneurship. Developing a well-researched and structured business plan is crucial to transforming your business idea into a thriving company.

Build a Strong Team
Any business needs a strong team to achieve success. Hire talented and passionate individuals who share your company’s values and vision. Build a diverse team that brings a variety of skills and perspectives to the table. Adopt a positive and collaborative work culture that promotes creativity and innovation.

Get Organized and Keep Records
Being organized is crucial for achieving business success. Creating a to-do list every day is a helpful way to stay on top of tasks and ensure that nothing is forgotten. Check off each item as it’s completed to ensure that all essential tasks for your business’s survival are completed.

Keeping records will help you know your business’s standing and potential challenges. It will eventually allow you to create strategies to overcome them. This proactive approach enables you to tackle issues before they become critical, ensuring the long-term success of your business.

Secure Funding

Starting and operating a business requires capital. Identify funding sources that align with your business goals and needs. Explore options such as loans, grants, crowdfunding, or venture capital. Develop a financial plan that outlines your projected income, expenses, and cash flow.

Understand the Risks and Rewards
By understanding the potential risks and rewards associated with different courses of action, entrepreneurs can make more effective decisions that maximize the benefits while minimizing potential drawbacks. By having a clear understanding of the potential risks and rewards, business owners can develop achievable goals that align with their risk tolerance and long-term vision for their company.

Establish a Strong Brand
A strong brand sets your company apart from the competition and establishes a connection with your target audience. Create a brand identity that mirrors your company's values and personality. Create a compelling brand message that resonates with your target market. Create a consistent visual identity for all marketing channels.

Focus on Marketing and Sales
Any business depends on marketing and sales for success. Develop a marketing plan that aligns with your business goals and target market. Find out the most effective marketing channels to reach your target audience. Establish a sales strategy that emphasizes customer education and relationship-building.

Prioritize Customer Satisfaction
Customer satisfaction is key to building a successful company. Concentrate on delivering high-quality products or services that meet or surpass customer expectations. Listen to customer feedback and use it to improve your products, services, and customer experience. Establish a customer service process that is responsive, helpful, and efficient.

Embrace Innovation and Adaptability
Innovation and adaptability are essential for staying competitive and relevant in the market. Embrace new technologies, trends, and best practices that can help you improve your products, services, and operations.

Be open to feedback and willing to pivot your strategies as needed. Additionally, businesses can improve existing processes, find ways to reduce costs or create a more positive work culture to enhance employee engagement.

Don’t Forget the Financial Management
To run a successful business, effective financial management is essential. This involves managing financial resources to achieve business goals and objectives. To focus on financial management, businesses need to keep track of income, expenses, and cash flow by creating a budget, monitoring expenses, and ensuring sufficient cash reserves to meet financial obligations.

Monitor and Measure Progress
Monitoring and measuring progress is essential for tracking your company’s success and making data-driven decisions. Establish key performance indicators (KPIs) that align with your business goals and regularly track and analyze them. Use this data to identify areas for improvement and make adjustments to your strategies as needed.

Final Words

Building a successful company requires a combination of hard work, dedication, and strategic planning. From identifying a need in the market to prioritizing customer satisfaction, there are several essential steps to building a successful company. By following these steps and staying focused on your goals, you can increase your chances of building a successful and thriving company.


Startup / Startups or SMEs - Why Does it Even Matter?
« on: April 27, 2021, 01:56:52 PM »
Startups or SMEs - Why Does it Even Matter?

There’s a debate raging on in the Bangladesh ecosystem on what makes a startup different from an SME, triggered in part by my friend Rahat’s article last summer, entitled: You’re probably not a startup, and that’s ok. Personally, I think this is a healthy debate that’s long overdue, as the word startup has been over aggrandized to be the end-all, be-all for those aspiring to entrepreneurship, without sufficient disclaimer on what it truly takes. But there’s also a natural rebuttal - why does it even matter? Isn’t the purpose, at least of angel investing, to find the best companies that can generate value, create jobs and remake the economy? Yes and no.

First, What Makes a Startup Different from an SME? They Aim to Win a Growing Market through Technology and Capital

Rahat has his own definitions, and I encourage you to check out this video from Slidebean as well as the seminal essay from Paul Graham, Startups = Growth. To me, the areas where a startup seeks to be fundamentally different from an SME are in these areas:

Target Market - A startup aims to win over a large, almost monopolistic part of a fast-growing market segment that is often emerging, being created through demographic, policy and technology changes in a society. For example, think of the size of the social media industry, which is really a segment within the much larger media industry, in 2004, when Facebook was launched, versus 2021. Market incumbents will often ignore startups and their niche segments for this very reason - the specific niche they are playing in is too small for the incumbent companies that derive their revenues and profits from more established segments, until it grows much larger and they are playing catch-up, or worse, try to use their powers of incumbency to go after the startup rivals, though often too late and at the expense of consumer choice. The smarter ones play ball and buy into these startups.
This market segment is at the very least national, but can also be international in scope. An SME, on the other hand, finds a niche often with a local or even hyper-local setting.

Business Model & Technology - As I’ve written earlier, a startup is a business in search of a repeatable and scalable business model, abetted by the creation of proprietary technology be it hardware and/or software. An SME, on the other hand, may or may not be developing technology, and when it does, may be using something off the shelf. Their business models tend to be tried and tested in other contexts, and applied within their own highly specific, very localized niche.

Profitability - Because a startup is in search of a business model, its first years are defined by the search for product/market fit, as well as revenue and user traction, which means running losses more likely than not. This is only made possible through multiple rounds of equity fundraising, from investors who make those bets based on the prospect of the startup reaching scale and potentially owning a major chunk of the market it is in down the line. An SME, on the other hand, has the pressure from its investors to make profits as soon as possible, though it may start with an initial capital outlay.

Customer Interface - In order to scale, a startup seeks to interact with customers through digital and self-service interfaces if it’s B2C, and if it’s B2B, there might be some sales support. An SME on the other hand tends to be more hands-on with customers, often through brick-and-mortar set-ups.

Employees - This is probably the best way to differentiate a startup from an SME. As a startup grows, the team size will remain stable or increase only slightly, to make improvements in the product. Whatsapp is probably the best example of this - millions of users and only 55 employees when it was acquired. On the other hand, as an SME grows, it needs to invest in growing its employee base, in order to support a growing customer base. As the Slidebean video says, “If you’re replacing an existing manual process with tech, then you might be on your way [to being a startup].”

Competitive Differentiation - A startup is defined by the intellectual property it generates, namely the tech, which creates unfair advantages such as economies of scale, network effects and a 5-10x improvement in user experience. An SME might have a strong brand, though its most enduring competitive advantage tends to be localized within its geographic footprint.

Types of Financing - Startups will require equity funds from investors who seek to make an outsized, multi-fold (often 10x plus) return on their investment. SMEs, because they generate revenues and are profitable faster, can take on debt and quasi-debt finance such as revenue and profit share. Because of the unpredictable nature of their growth trajectory, startups cannot make guarantees on returns. SMEs can use their predictable cashflows to obtain and pay back capital that requires mandated returns.

Exit for Investors - Outsized returns in startups really come in two ways: an IPO, or a strategic buyout. An SME can generate dividends, can be kept forever among the promoters (and their descendents), liquidated or if it’s at a certain size, bought by private equity which seeks smaller, single-digit multiple returns compared to venture capital which seeks double digit multiples.

Second, Why Should Founders Care? So They Are Aware of the Companies They Are Starting, and the Fundraising and Growth Trajectories That Are Possible

Founders need to be cognizant of the kind of company they have, and are capable of building. Not every company has to be a startup, and not every entrepreneur needs to create a startup. This is important, as we often see in Bangladesh hyper-localized or highly niche versions of major startups that have scaled and raised millions of dollars in capital, pitching for their own funding. It can be a fruit and vegetable delivery e-commerce site that mimics Chaldal, the dominant e-grocery platform that is now at Series B stage, with backing from major institutions such as the International Finance Corporation. It can be a micro-services marketplace that is strong in a certain neighborhood in Dhaka or in one or two service verticals, that mimics Sheba, which is going national and is strong across multiple verticals. It can also be a restaurant delivery app that has brand value within a certain part of Dhaka or in a secondary town, that competes with nationwide players such as Pathao, Shohoz and Foodpanda, which happens to be part of a multi-billion dollar, publicly-listed global company called DeliveryHero. It can also be a last mile delivery service for e-commerce that mirrors the work done by the likes of Paperfly, which recently received investment from an Indian startup in the same realm, which in turn has raised 100’s of millions to date.

The harsh reality in the startup game is that capital and scale matters, especially when combined with first mover advantage. While niche players can survive within their own pre-defined areas, moving against incumbents nationally at this stage will require significant amounts of capital, in the tens of millions of dollars. And that capital, if it is to come from institutional investors, will favor the incumbents, because they are more likely to survive and grow because they’ve proven they can. Our advice to founders creating niche models is to work for founders who have successfully fundraised for and scaled businesses, and develop their managerial expertise and apply those into new and ambitious ideas that are still wide open in Bangladesh. Even better if you can get those founders to be your angel(s). Or, you may have to realize that your best shot is staying within your hyper-local or -specific niche, which means you’re become an SME, and you can work with these national players as their distribution and fulfillment partners.

Even if an entrepreneur is not in a market where there is a strong incumbent startup, it is important to understand just what the expectations of investors are. One institutional VC said in a forum with me that whichever investment he makes, that investment on its own should be able to return the entire fund, in order to compensate for the risk of the rest of the portfolio not working out. Using a very simplistic example, if a VC has a $20 million seed stage fund, which writes investment checks between $250K - $1M, that means that each investment has to try to return $20M within 5-7 years of the investment. Let’s assume that the VC took 10% of a company for $500K, and is diluted down to 3% after 5 years and at least 3 rounds and is looking for an exit. This means that the enterprise value of the company has to equal $670M by year 5, in order for 3% to be worth $20M. Assuming a 20x price over sales multiple, that means the company needs to be generating $34M per annum in revenue by that time, when at the seed stage its annual run rate might have been $500K-$1M. That’s a compounded annual growth rate of 100-130%, over five years. How many businesses, and founding teams, can achieve that kind of scale, that fast, that consistently? More importantly, how many would want to take on such pressure? Especially if they cannot concentrate solely on company building but have to constantly fundraise, each step of the way, for bigger and bigger amounts that may or may not be possible in an early ecosystem like Bangladesh?

There is a reason why the most successful startups are called unicorns - it’s a near miracle when one is found/created.  But VCs raise their money from massive, multi-billion dollar corporations, governments, endowments, family offices, foundations and the richest people in the world precisely because those investors want to and have the capacity to take a risk on such lowest-probability but highest return opportunities.  Only exponential returns will do when it comes to venture capital, including venture capital investments in Bangladesh.

Once again, it’s important for a founder to understand what kind of business she wants to build, are capable of building and are building. It is perfectly fine to go for an SME business model that can grow steady at 10, 20, 30% per year compounded. But founders need to raise accordingly, from investors who also understand what type of business they are in.  We often see a tendency and desire to raise money in the pre-seed and seed stages from angels at multi-million dollar valuations without understanding what drives those valuations, including the creation of intellectual property and demonstration of exponential scalability, or at least a vision and plan to achieve it, and founder credentials backing that vision and plan.  Without the benefit of these things, if a company raises money from angels at such lofty valuations, it may come at the expense of long term success by creating expectations from investors it may or may not be able to meet when follow-on capital becomes scarce because the company’s revenue and user growth has not lived up to its valuation. This is especially true when the company starts pitching to VCs who have exponential growth expectations.

I’ve personally seen companies and founders in Bangladesh having to pivot from a high growth startup-style business model and opt for a low-burn, SME-style model when they realized that either the market or business they’re in will not allow for the former, or they can’t raise further capital for it. By then they are stuck - they’ve already raised money from angel and early investors, who had expectations to multiply their original investment manifold. The founders’ options are then to 1.) Convince investors to accept this new reality, 2.) Find a way to buy those investors out, 3.) Close/sell the company, return what money is left to shareholders and do something else or 4.) Continue running the business for years until investors can be paid out slowly through dividends. None of them are optimal.

Third, Why Should Angel Investors Care? So They Do Not Burden Founders with Impossible Expectations

Some investors want it both ways. They want sky-high growth, but also want break-even before the next fundraise. They want to take equity, but have guaranteed returns that mimic debt. Ultimately, you are either investing in a startup, with corresponding expectations and risks, or an SME, with an entirely different set of expectations about how it can be run and can generate value and returns. It may even make sense to create a portfolio of a mix of both models. 

Our advice is to be cognizant of the differences and invest accordingly.  At Bangladesh Angels, our preference is for startups, as they have the highest potential of creating outsized returns and effects on the economy. But we are increasingly looking at private debt and quasi-equity opportunities for novel SMEs that are operating within a strong niche beyond just a hyper-local geographic focus. This means they should have strong brand value and proprietary knowledge/processes, ideally augmented by the adoption of digital technology, and a recurring and growing customer base. These businesses are also struggling for capital, which is a whole another issue in Bangladesh and worth dissecting in another post.

What do you think? What is your definition of a startup versus SME, and which do you prefer to invest or build? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

Nirjhor Rahman


Bank Loan / Bangladesh Bank frames policy on startup financing
« on: March 31, 2021, 12:48:10 PM »
Bangladesh Bank frames policy on startup financing

The Bangladesh Bank (BB) has formulated a policy relating to the disbursement of funds worth Tk 5.0 billion for startups.

The disbursement of funds to the startup clients will be made collateral-free.

The central bank's SME and Special Programmes Department issued a circular detailing the policy on Monday.

The BB would form the Tk 5.0-billion refinancing fund to help the country's startups. Banks will disburse money from the fund to the startups.

Besides, the commercial banks will constitute their own and separate funds for the startups.

Individual banks will form their own funds with money equivalent to 1.0 per cent of their respective operating profits for the year 2020.

The banks will formulate separate policies to this end, to be approved by their respective boards.

The highest ceiling for loan from the fund will be Tk 10 million having a maximum of five-year repayment period. The startups concerned will get a grace period of one year to repay loans, either in quarterly or semi-annual basis.

Educational certificates of the startups entrepreneurs will be treated as collateral for loans. Each bank will preserve 10 per cent quota for women entrepreneurs.

The rate of interest for the startup loans will not exceed 4.0 per cent. The banks will get funds at 0.5 per cent interest rate from the central bank refinancing scheme. If an entrepreneur shares an idea with any bank for getting loan, the bank cannot disclose whether it will fund him/her or not.

The banks will add a new head in their balance sheet under the name of startups.

According to the BB, startup means innovations for marketing new products, services and technologies, and such enterprises would create employment and assets in the country.

Meanwhile, the Startup Bangladesh Limited, a platform to support new business ideas, will provide 50 startups with Tk 1.0 billion venture capital within this year, marking the birth centenary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

The to-be-funded startups are expected to use the money to expand their businesses and generate new employments, thus contributing to the country's economy.

To this effect, Startup Bangladesh Limited is set to hold a virtual programme - 'ShotoBorshe Shoto Asha' (a hundred hopes in a centenary) - today (Wednesday), according to a statement.

Zunaid Ahmed Palak, State Minister to the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Division, is scheduled to attend the programme.

Startup Bangladesh, a venture capital fund under the ICT Division, will also provide the startups with a wide range of supports, related with mentoring, networking, legal affairs and intellectual property rights.

The statement also said the launching event would be broadcasted on the official social media platforms of Startup Bangladesh. A startup is typically a technology-based, unique and scalable business model, which usually needs financing in venture capital form.


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