Bangladeshi fintech startup raises $2m from impact-oriented Indian VC

By Osman Husain for TechinAsia

CloudWell, a last-mile payments startup headquartered in Bangladesh’s capital city, Dhaka, announced today that it has secured US$2 million in series A funding from Indian VC Aavishkaar Frontier Fund. Valuation figures were not disclosed.

CloudWell, which was founded in November 2012, offers a number of payment solutions under its brand name PayWell, including point-of-sale systems, prepaid debit cards, and payment gateways.

PayWell is used for things like prepaid mobile phone top ups, utility bill payments, and train ticket purchases. Its customers include large enterprises across the telecommunications, financial services, and ecommerce industries in Bangladesh.

CloudWell says it has a network of over 5,000 retail shops that cover 34 districts in the country. A majority of them are outside the capital city, Dhaka.

It plans to use the cash to accelerate growth and scale up its nationwide network.

“With this investment from Aavishkaar, PayWell will expand its market across Bangladesh with a targeted network of more than 30,000 agents in 2 years, retailing various services to consumers and also equipping SMEs and enterprise merchants to accept payments from more than 30 million mobile financial services users,” said Anisul Islam, chairman and CEO of CloudWell in an emailed statement.

The investment in CloudWell marks the first time Aavishkaar has chosen to back a company in Bangladesh. The impact-oriented fund invests in companies that build sustainable, social enterprise products. It closed its latest fund last year, with a targeted investment of US$75 million across South and Southeast Asia.

“CloudWell provided a compelling investment case for Aavishkaar, with a skilled entrepreneur team creating a highly scalable business, ramping up on the back of large and growing mobile financial services and digital economy,” explained Sanchayan Chakraborty, partner at Aavishkaar.

“We are pleased to have made the first investment in Bangladesh and look forward to playing a role in supporting the startup and SME ecosystem in the country,” he added.

First appeared at TechinAsia