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Bangladeshi startups raise $317m in 10yrs 

Bangladeshi startup companies have managed to raise a total of $317 million investments in the last 10 years. 95 percent of the total funds came from foreign investors.


Around 78 Bangladeshi companies got investments through 146 funding deals and deals 80 are disclosed so far till February 2021. 


$317 million investments received since 2010 and shockingly only $18 million came from local sources, according to the research by ‘Bangladesh Startup Ecosystem: Funding Landscape’ by LightCastle Partners.


Around 50.58 percent of investment came for financial technology, then followed by logistic and mobility (20.2 percent), e-commerce (11.92 percent) and consumer service (6.02 percent).


The research showed that startups in the financial technology(fintech) and logistic sector got major attraction from foreign investors.

To build a marketplace for local startups truly we need to create an infrastructure for local talents to grow big. 


Maliha Qadir, founder and managing director of, another successful homegrown start-up, 

“Foreign funding is a blessing for local start-ups, but there should be a policy and guideline on how many shares they can acquire.”

If foreign companies are allowed 100 percent ownership, then the local start-up scene will vanish in five years.

“All will be discouraged. Our local start-ups can’t survive by fighting with global companies due to lack of funds.”


Start-ups that are backed by global firms with huge investors can do aggressive advertising and also lure in customers to their platforms by flourishing discounts, which the local startups fail in both ways two manage that much funds and stay alive in the market. 


Additional Secretary Syed Mujibul Haque, who looks after the iDEA project dedicated to the startup sector from the government’s side, said the government has already nominated 170 startups for collecting investment from different regions till February.


“From our side, we provide mentoring and funding support during the pre-seed stage to help their expansion to successful businesses,” he said.


Otherhand, the ICT Division of Bangladesh has formed a limited company titled ‘Startup Bangladesh’ with an authorized capital of Tk 5 billion to support tech-enabled businesses. The government agency has already funded 21 startups so far.


Bangladeshi startup companies began raising investment in 2010 by raising only $5 million. In 2011 they saw investment dropped by 0.12 million and the local companies failed to attract any significant investment in 2012 also. Since then, the startups in Bangladesh maintained their growth as local and foreign players invested $10.3 million in 2013, $ 15.1 million in 2014, $ 19.06 million in 2015, $ 5.37 million in 2016 and $4.05 million in 2017.


Investment in the sector experienced a peak in 2018 as local startups raised $107.05 million whereas $90.3 million in 2019. The coronavirus pandemic has hit hard in the investments for startups that the investment in 2020 was only $37.1 million but the good news is that it got  $23.7 million till February 2021.


Half of the total fund of $317 million was invested only in the fintech start-ups while a third goes to logistic and e-commerce businesses.


Most of the funding comes from foreign investors as the start-up culture is not well established in Bangladesh yet, said Rahath Ahmed, co-founder and chief marketing officer at Paperfly, an start-up about e-commerce logistics solutions that recently received a Tk 100 crore investment from Indian Ecom Express.

Researcher Bijon Islam, CEO of Light Castle Partners said the startups in the country have maintained steady growth over the last decade. In terms of the source of funding, researchers mentioned that 58.9 percent of the funding are foreign while 41.1 comes from local sources.

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