The Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission's (BSEC) roadshows in major international financial districts have come to fruition bringing in new investments to the country.
Many foreign fund managers are in talks about investing in Bangladesh as the investment promotion events successfully communicated the prospects of the economy with them and they have learned about the investment opportunities here, said Venture Capital and Private Equity Association of Bangladesh (VCPEAB) President Shameem Ahsan.
The convergence of stakeholders and regulators at the events helped boost the investors' confidence, he added.
Following the February 2021 roadshow in Dubai, New York-based HOF Capital co-invested in Bangladeshi startup Alice Labs in a $5,00,000 deal led by Anchorless Bangladesh, a large Bangladesh-focused US venture capital fund.
Alice Labs, the artificial intelligence-driven multi-channel customer support platform for e-commerce and online businesses, is now even looking for expansion in the Southeast Asia and Middle-East and Africa markets.
Tala Al-Jabri, a former partner at HOF Capital, was a speaker at the Dubai roadshow and had interactions with Bangladeshi participants.
Recently, HOF has entered into another undisclosed deal to invest in the country, said industry sources.
UAE-based technology venture investor Shorooq Partners in the second half of last year joined a $4 million funding deal led by International Finance Corporation (IFC) and co-led by IDLC Venture Capital Fund I for Bangladeshi app-based trucking platform Truck Lagbe.
"I remember, the investors talked to us, our companies, and regulators at the UAE event," said the VCPEAB president.
In the USA roadshow in July-August last year, several technology investors joined and at least three of them are now in talks on funding local startups, he added without naming the investors, citing their sensitivity to premature publicity.
There is an anticipation for increasing foreign portfolio investment in the stock market following the BSEC's four international roadshows in 2021.
Foreign portfolio investment contributes a little to the total capitalisation of the Bangladesh stock market and for the last four consecutive years, it has been only decreasing as, in each of the four years, foreigners sold more shares at the Dhaka Stock Exchange than they bought.
Shameem Ahsan, who himself is a technology entrepreneur having founded listed IT company eGeneration Ltd, believes, foreigners' investment should increase again as, nowadays, they are much more aware of the opportunities in the bourses of Dhaka and Chattogram.
Unlike the venture capital deals, most of which are publicly announced, foreign portfolio investors in the stock market do theirs through the brokerage and custodial service providers, of course silently, he said.
"I feel many foreign investors who participated in the roadshows have already begun opting for investments in the local bourses," he added.
Echoing the VCPEAB president, BSEC Chairman Professor Shibli Rubayat-Ul-Islam told reporters on Tuesday, the roadshows his commission organised in the UAE, USA, Switzerland and most recently in the UK are helping achieve a good response from foreign investors.
"Such moves need some time to get the expected results," he added.