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SEAF Bangladesh Ventures

In June 2010, SEAF launched a new commercial finance company to invest in small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Bangladesh. SEAF Bangladesh Ventures (SEAF BV) will provide SMEs with structured capital and quasi-equity investments. This is the first finance company to focus exclusively on providing growth and working capital to promising companies of this size in Bangladesh. SEAF BV was conceived through the International Finance Corporation’s (IFC) SME Ventures Program – an initiative designed to support risk capital financing to SMEs in underserved emerging markets. SEAF BV focuses on key sectors in Bangladesh that represent strong growth opportunities but lack access to traditional sources of finance.

In May of 2017, the Fund received a follow-on commitment of USD 10 million from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Climate Investment Funds-Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience (CIF-PPCR). CIF-PPCR is allocating capital in the form of grants and financing to Bangladesh, which is targeted to “enable Bangladesh to make strategic investments in critical areas of climate resilience planning and implementation in a manner consistent with its poverty reduction and sustainable development objectives.”

Since declaring independence in 1971, Bangladesh has grown to a population of over 150 million with a GDP of over $100 billion that has seen consistent growth in recent years. Bangladesh demonstrates attractive demographic trends, such as a large, young workforce and a growing middle class that drives strong domestic consumer demand. In addition, Bangladesh is located close to key emerging markets such as India and China and boasts the lowest labor costs in the region. SEAF BV aims to capitalize on these positive macroeconomic themes by investing in growing SMEs in Bangladesh. SEAF BV will invest in these SMEs primarily through unsecured, high-yielding instruments with cash-pay components and equity participation. The finance company will also offer strategic advisory and business support services to investees in order to facilitate growth.

SEAF BV is managed by SEAF Ventures Management, a wholly-owned subsidiary of SEAF, with its team members based in Dhaka, Bangladesh. SEAF is supported by Venture Investment Partners Bangladesh (“VIPB”) as a technical services provider. VIPB has a strong track record as an investment manager in the SME sector in Bangladesh, focusing primarily on micro-finance graduates. VIPB offers SEAF a strong pipeline of investment opportunities through its existing portfolio of growing enterprises and its nationwide network of field units.

SEAF Bangladesh Ventures Placeholder
SEAF Bangladesh Ventures

Region: Asia

Location(s): Bangladesh

Start Date: Jun 2010

Status: Actively Investing

Committed Capital: $22 Million

Investor(s): International Finance Corporation (IFC), Climate Investment Funds-Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience

Managing Director: Asif Mahmood

Featured Portfolio Companies

Over the past 4 and a half years, we have partnered with a number of growth companies in different location of Bangladesh, investing in a broad range of industries. In each of these partnerships, SEAF has responded to the unique capital, technical and managerial needs of our entrepreneurs, creating with them lasting financial and development growth. These relationships share stories about potential, adversity, opportunity, and success, and they highlight the need for, and benefits from SME investing.

Solar Intercontinental (SOLARIC) Ltd.

The World Bank estimates that approximately 60% of rural households have yet to gain access to electricity in Bangladesh. Most of these families either depend on candles, kerosene lit lanterns or diesel run generators. These options are all expensive and have adverse effects on the health of both the users and environment.

The clean and efficient solution to this scenario is the availability low cost and efficient solar systems. SOLARIC develops and manufactures solar home systems and power backup systems in Bangladesh. Founded in 2009, SOLARIC is headquartered in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The Company started its commercial operation in July 2011 shortly after SEAF’s initial investment, and consolidated a second SEAF investment in 2012, totaling US $1 million.

The Company’s proprietary and patented micro-inverter technology optimizes the energy efficiency and improves the useful life of the solar home systems and power backup systems, by facilitating the use of smaller batteries, solar panels and energy-saving appliances. With an innovative design that provides practical, on-the-ground solutions for the poor, SOLARIC’s 3G-SHS Technology (patented) is the key differentiator between itself and other Solar Home System (SHS) provider companies. SOLARIC sells Solar Optimizers, the only commercially available converter in the world for SHS that converts low voltage (12V) into standard high voltage (120V and 220V) and integrates all the functionality required in a SHS. The core of the Solar Optimizer is an intelligent, efficient microchip, designed by SOLARIC. This device is connected to the solar panel and the battery and with the power generated, it can run off-the-shelf standard appliances such as fans, color TVs, charging mobile phones while removing the bottlenecks of traditional low voltage SHS such as limited distance, special appliance, limited load, backup time etc.

The Company has also created a Nano-grid, a game-changer in terms of affordability and functionality. The Nano-grid is a larger solar power system that can serve ~50 households through prepaid metering systems for communities. The prepaid metering allows SOLARIC to control the individual users to ensure group payment functionality; the meter at the last mile automatically stops power transmission to households encouraging them to pay earlier and refill their meter. This mechanism reduces risks for SOLARIC by allowing them to collect payment up front and thus also addresses working capital constraints of SOLARIC. The system also allows users to track their own usage, reducing reliability upon servicemen and dealers.

SOLARIC has created impact through the generation of clean affordable solar power for rural communities in Bangladesh. Its proprietary technology reduces the cost and increases the efficiency of these environmentally friendly, carbon-reducing power systems. Power generated by SOLARIC enable children to continue education, banks to operate in underserved areas, and government offices to run information centers that provide services to rural communities. Through investment in SOLARIC, SEAF was able to provide cheap, efficient energy to thousands in rural Bangladesh. SEAF Bangladesh Ventures Limited exit SOLARIC in 2015.

Devnet Limited

Technology integration, business processes, customer relationships, corporate strategy, human resources…Few companies can do all of these seamlessly. This is where Devnet comes in: offering unique advice and practical solutions and services to help businesses run better.

Founded in 2000, Devnet began with imaging and archiving solution “ProSearcher”. Four years later, Devnet released the first document management solution of the country “DocuDEX”. Since that time, it has continued to build an impressive client portfolio through its reputation for innovation, with strengths in high-speed document processing, as well as imaging, image quality, data capture, and intelligent character recognition technologies.

Today, Devnet has evolved into one of Bangladesh’s leading service providers dedicated in helping organizations streamline their document centric business processes with workflow applications, document management, web content management and record management for organizations seeking to drive efficiency.

In today’s hyper-competitive business environment, focusing on core competencies and depending on experts for other critical capabilities is the smart choice. When it comes to turning paper documents into powerful information that can speed up response time, improve productivity, enhance your revenues, and give your company a competitive edge, nobody has more experience than Devnet.

Devnet offers BPO services for a wide variety of business applications, including, document imaging and archiving, invoice processing, inbound mail automation, application forms, data capture etc.—with Service Level Agreements (SLAs) as standard. Devnet also constantly updates clients with executive dashboard information and completes analysis and reporting of key performance indicator (KPI) metrics.

Among the significant benefits Devnet offers to its client, some are cost efficiency, reduced business risk, enhanced customer service, and improved business intelligence. Devnet is committed to provide the best value service maintaining high quality at the best price. By empowering consistent communication, Devnet’s customers experience new cost efficiencies, faster and efficient work flows, enhanced revenue opportunities, rapid response to change and advanced customer service and satisfaction. Devnet’s business philosophy is based on building long-term, collaborative relationships – consistently providing business value to clients and driving opportunity for its employees.

With the Investment from SEAF, Devnet has been able to support its growth in a rapid paced environment promoting innovation, and custom business solutions for its clients. Best of all, as a major imaging service provider and state of art document imaging equipment supplier, Devnet is uniquely positioned to offer the latest technology without passing along the costs of equipment and software upgrades.

ADN Telecom Limited

ADN Telecom Ltd. is a leading IT and telecommunication service provider in Bangladesh, offering a wide range of data, voice and internet services to local and international clients. ADN began its journey in 2003, as “Advanced Data Networks System Ltd”, a private limited company. The Company was renamed as “ADN Telecom Ltd” and became a public limited company in 2012.

Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) has awarded ADN numerous important licenses and permissions. They are nationwide internet service provider, nationwide IP Telephony service provider, VSAT Provider with hub.

BTRC has assigned several radio frequencies in different bands in favor of ADN Telecom, for its access and transmission networks. These have powered the company to deploy latest wireless technologies, such as WiMAX for countrywide Broadband Services.

ADN Telecom Ltd. is one of the core entities of “ADN Group” along with ADN Technologies Ltd. Tech Valley Networks Ltd. (TVNL) and InGen Technologies Ltd (ITL). Leading telecom operators of the region, such as, SingTel, Tata Communications and Orange Business Service are ADN Telecom’s strategic partners. It also has strategic alliance with British Telecom, Bharti Airtel, Sri Lanka Telecom etc. These partnerships have enabled the company to provide end-to-end solutions, both domestically, and internationally. ADN Telecom is also an ISO 9001:2008 certified company. It is the first telco in Bangladesh to provide toll free telephony service.

Through this investment, SEAF helped the Company to address a new spectrum of ISP business – serving the individual internet customer. This is an opportunity to enhance the experience of both SEAF and ADN in this evolving market segment that would be replicable in markets with similar profiles.

In line with ADN’s tagline “We keep you Connected”, the Company owns the most diverse access network in the country, which is composed of wireless, fiber optic and satellite infrastructures. Its core competence is in the ability to converge technologies with human excellence to ensure connectivity.

Opportunity in Bangladesh

Bangladesh has been quick in implementing policy reforms designed to create a more open and friendly climate for economic growth that would induce higher export and private investment both foreign and local.

Favorable Investment Climate

  • Growing number of SMEs in Bangladesh which contribute around 20-25% of GDP
  • SMEs account for about 45% of manufacturing value addition, ~80% of industrial employment, ~90% of total industrial units and ~25% of total labor force

Advantageous Labor Conditions

  • Extremely competitive labour costs, one of the lowest in Asia
  • 59.3 % of the population are economically active (15 years and over)

Location/Geography

  • Bangladesh acts as the bridge between South and East Asian high-growth regions as well as links with other markets e.g. India, Pakistan, Malaysia, Singapore etc.

Natural Resources

  • Fertile land for production and processing for agricultural commodities
  • Aquaculture and livestock farming and processing potential

Local Team

Mohammad

Mohammad Altaf Uz Zaman
Consultant

Asif

Asif Mahmood
Managing Director

Nurul

Nurul Hai
Vice President

Aminur

Md. Aminur Rahman
Sr. Finance Manager

Muhammad

Muhammad Maruf Hossain
Business Development Manager

3372b

Md. Asaduzzaman
Manager, Admin & HR

Rifat

Rifat Zaman
Associate

Saddam

Saddam Khan Sumit
Analyst