SOSV, the venture capital firm known for its vertical-focused accelerators like HAX, is expanding its footprint to Bangladesh. SOSV's Asia-focused accelerator called MOX, SBK Tech Ventures (an early-stage fund in Bangladesh) and Miaki, a Bangladesh-based digital services provider, are setting up the SM² accelerator to invest in seed-stage startups in the country.
Bangladesh, with a nascent internet industry but an expanding online population, has emerged as an attractive destination for venture capitalists in recent years. Sequoia made its first deal in the country last year through Sequoia Capital India; it co-led a $22.5 million round in ShopUp, a startup that helps mom and pop shops come online. Another notable deal has been grocery delivery service Chaldal's $10 million raise this year. Indonesian ride-sharing giant Go-Jek invested in its own counterpart for the country Pathao in 2018.
SM² injects around $100,000 into each startup through a convertible note, with room for follow-ons, TechCrunch learned from Sonia Bashir Kabir, founder of SBK. The accelerator has already picked three startups for its inaugural batch that is starting in November.
Funding for the accelerator comes from all three partners, while SBK will also provide on-the-ground support for the portfolio companies.
Like many investors around the world, SM² recognizes how COVID-19 has accelerated people's need for digital tools in their everyday life.
"Technology has always enabled people and companies to be more productive, but post-COVID the world witnessed how technology played an instrumental role in becoming the great equalizer," said Kabir. "I am bullish about Bangladeshi tech startups which aim to solve problems of the masses."