VC firm Anchorless Bangladesh makes debut investment in Loop Freight

Dhaka, Bangladesh. Photo by Ahmed Hasan on Unsplash

New York-headquartered early-stage venture investment firm Anchorless Bangladesh has made its debut investment in Loop Freight, a Bangladeshi technology-enabled logistics startup.

The initial seed funding of $600,000 in Loop Freight marks Anchorless Bangladesh’s foray into the country’s truck freight industry, which it said is worth over $10 billion a year.

Founded in Dhaka in 2018, Loop Freight operates a platform that it said to digitise the process for both shippers and carriers end-to-end, while cutting freight costs.

Fahim Salam, the startup’s co-founder, told local press that the platform was able to reduce the asset management cost of a feed mill client by 27 per cent using reverse logistics. Loop Freight seeks to improve processes in manufacturing and distribution heavy countries in Asia, starting with Bangladesh.

In an introductory post on Medium, Anchorless Bangladesh founding partner and CEO Rahat Ahmed said the VC firm’s goal is to identify early-stage startups the are ready to take advantage of the large, unique opportunities in Bangladesh. Ahmed is a former investment analyst with Prince Street Capital Management, a US-based hedge fund focused on emerging markets.

“Loop is a company on that exact mission, re-imagining the movement of commercial goods for next-generation shippers and carriers,” he said.

Ahmed said Loop sees the problem of a massive freight market operating without a centralised booking system, lacking transparency and tracking, and without quality data to analyse and improve the ecosystem. The country currently has a fleet of more than 200,000 trucks nationwide.

Loop targets truck fleet owners as carriers rather than independent drivers. Through the platform, shippers are able to book, track, and pay for shipments while carriers are given the option to choose loads closes to them.

While its debut investment is in Bangladesh, Ahmed said Anchorless sees the potential to expand beyond the country, which is positioned strategically as a gateway between India and China, two of the world’s largest economies. He added that Loop has the ability to naturally engage in cross-border operations.

“At the end of the day, our belief at Anchorless is not only in Bangladesh, the country and its potential, but also in Bangladeshis – the people and their abilities – about how access to expertise and capital can empower them to build companies that solve global problems,” he stressed.

In an interview with DealStreetAsia in January, Ahmed said that Anchorless is aiming to raise $30-40 million for its debut fund. He declined to share how much has been raised so far, but its limited partners (LPs) include Jim O’Shaughnessy and other US high net worth individuals (HNWIs), family offices, and endowment funds.

Venture capital investing in Bangladesh is still in its infancy. Shawkat Hossain, general secretary of Venture Capital Association of Bangladesh, said in an article at The Financial Express that only around $15 million were invested in several startups in the country in 2019, lower than the $27 million in 2018.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.