SBK

Technology. Inclusion.
Bridging the digital divide.

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About us

SBK Tech Ventures is an impact technology fund focusing on early stage, tech-platform companies in emerging markets.

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As a social investment fund, each portfolio company makes an impact by solving fundamental problems of society that improve the lives of masses.

We focus on emerging markets and Bangladesh in particular, an underserved market of 165 million people and one of the fastest growing economies worldwide. Our core concentration lies on startups that support the digital development of rural areas in different fields, ranging from FinTech and LegalTech to AgriTech and e-commerce. We deliver fast-growth investment opportunities utilizing emerging technologies that leap-frog market acceptance of highly demanded services.

Countries like Bangladesh are going through the most exciting period since its existence and we provide the necessary capital to further accelerate economic development.

Mission

Our Purpose and Focus

We make an impact by tackling the root causes of a problem

Every portfolio company is solving fundamental problems on the ground where startups deliver a direct solution to improve the lives of ordinary people. Our companies do not try to create a demand, which is often the approach of startups in mature markets. Instead, our startups serve an existing demand through innovative and customized products for Bangladesh.

We bring investment to the market with the strongest need for capital

Bangladesh’s economy is consistently growing at an annual rate of 6 to 7 percent with a stable currency and comparatively low public debts. The country is now standing at the bottom of the S-curve. Tens of millions of Bangladeshis have been lifted out of poverty and another 30 to 40 million will make the leap from poverty to the middle class by 2025. Only a few global companies seized investment opportunities, so market leadership is still up for grabs in many industries and companies urgently need investment to expand their services to meet the growing demand.

We are leading digitization

Our startups are disrupting existing services through digitization. We support companies that build up an energy network in rural areas to connect households without energy access, bring alternative payment methods to the unbanked or help farmers to get real-time data about their soil to maximize their yield. We only invest in companies that lead social and economical changes on a large scale.

We are building a tech ecosystem in Bangladesh

Instead of going into many different markets, we focus on Bangladesh, a market of 165 million people and one of the fastest growing economies worldwide. Our startups benefit from a unique ecosystem we built up where our companies are complementary business partners, allowing them to grow together and eventually expand into other markets.

We bring international expertise into the market

Bangladesh is lacking tech know-how. We bring foreign talents to build up platforms and educate local teams to avoid brain drain. This gives our startups a unique competitive advantage in a market of scarce development resources. Our network in Silicon Valley and Europe allocates resources where they are needed the most.

We diversify investments for funds of funds

Clients who look for alternative investment options to diversify their portfolio find great opportunities through us. We allow them to allocate parts of their funds into a geographical area they have not entered before with high returns and future prosperity. In addition, we give access to unique market expertise, key contacts and know-how in emerging markets.

Some of the Portfolio Companies

We win when our entrepreneurs win

Strategy

Our plan of actions to align impact and profitability

SBK specializes in early investment stages, such as angel, seed and series A rounds. As a business development expert in the local market and a wide network in Bangladesh, SBK is able to help startups grow their business quickly. With a keen focus on technology based unique value-creation, delivery and capture capabilities.

SBK has established itself in the following key, hyper-growth, tech-centric platforms:

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    Health Services

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    Agriculture and Land Digitization Services Technology

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    Service Tech: Legal, Education, Financial, System Integration, Communication, General Services

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    E-Commerce and Transactions

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    Lifestyle and Entertainment

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Characteristics of SBK Platform companies:

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    Technology Platforms

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    Hyper-Growth Opportunity

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    Unique Value Proposition, Delivery and Capture

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    Scalable

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    Social Impact Driven

SBK Value Creation Model:

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    Select Growing Technologies that meet the SBK Mission/Criteria for investment

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    Identify Key Leadership and provide them with Management Expertise

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    Provide key criteria for “Kiss-Kill” to platforms with realistic and attainable measurement

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    Connect startups to a strong network of experts and business partners with local and international resources

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    Constant measuring and reporting

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Find out Why to

Invest in Bangladesh

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Despite having the world’s eighth-largest population with over 160 million people, Bangladesh has been one of the least-noticed stories of economic growth, overshadowed by India and located in between South and South-East Asia, a unique area that is culturally and economically widely unknown by the rest of the world.

A number of characteristics differentiate the Bangladeshi consumer culture even from nearby Asian emerging markets. To capture a leadership position, companies cannot simply transplant brands or products. They need to market understanding, which acts as a competitive advantage for local startups and as an entry barrier for international competitors with lack of local expertise.

Several characteristics are distinctly Bangladeshi, making the market highly attractive:

Branding

Optimism

Debts

Government vision

Quality

Digital platforms

Demography

Most consumers cite brand as the leading purchase decision. Companies which now establish themselves with a strong reputation will be the ones with the biggest rewards. Startups with strong marketing and PR may therefore be able to capture large market shares.

Consumers are highly optimistic and many expect their incomes to rise within a few months, a good indicator of their willingness to spend.

Mortgage and debt level is low with high interest rates due to anxiety and lack of availability of financial services. Companies that can offer financial solutions and ease anxieties related to personal debt unlock strong growth opportunities.

The government has promoted the Vision of 2021 with the goal to lift Bangladesh up to a middle-income country. Reforms are on the way to strengthen the local market to further accelerate economic development. Digital Bangladesh is a key part of the vision, which aims to digitize public services to streamline bureaucratic processes. This provides great opportunities for startups to work on government projects, and it also impacts the business environment as the projects improve the ease of doing business.

Consumers are willing to spend more if that means that they are getting better quality for the product categories that matter to them, which is rather uncommon in emerging markets.

Mobile technologies are rapidly adopted and accelerate consumption. About 80 million people use smart phones and mobile internet today. After China, Bangladesh has one of the highest number of mobile financial transactions worldwide as consumers make the leap from cash payment to mobile payment, creating opportunities for reaching households through mobile services.

Bangladesh has a young working-age population with a median age in the country of 24. Together with the 2 million Bangladeshis that rise into the middle class every year and 3.4 million students currently enrolled in universities, they provide a strong base for rising consumption and a skilled workforce in the near future. 
Being successful in Bangladesh requires local market expertise and a ramped-up presence with a strong network. However, companies that move now can build their competitive advantage in one of the world’s fastest growing markets. To many people of the outside world, Bangladesh remains a poor and hopeless country. It is time to take a new look and to shape the future of a highly underestimated market with rapid development.

Our Team

People Behind SBK Tech Ventures

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Sonia Bashir Kabir

Chairman & General Partner
Dhaka, Bangladesh
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Bidesh Biswas

Chief of Staff
Dhaka, Bangladesh
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Zakri Abdul Hamid

International Advisor
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
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Zain Mahmood

Business Advisor
Miami, Florida
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Sabuj H Chowdhury, FCA

Finance Advisor
Dhaka, Bangladesh
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Niklas Friese

Associate Partner
Dhaka, Bangladesh
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Dilshan De Silva

Head of Operations - Global
Colombo, Sri Lanka
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Daniel Ciganovic

Financial Controls & Compliance
Dhaka, Bangladesh
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Asma Natasha

Data Analytics Specialist
Montréal , Canada

Latest Press Releases

Office in Bangladesh

Bay's 23, Plot 6, Level 10, Block SW (1), Gulshan Avenue, Gulshan 1, Dhaka-1212
Bangladesh

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CONTACT@SBKTECHVENTURES.COM