English | Dzongkha Saturday, May 30, 2020

Bhutan Alternatives raises Nu 8.34 M through crowdfunding

Samten Dolkar, Thimphu
Aug 27, 2019

Bhutan Alternatives, an e-waste management firm raised Nu 8.34 M through the Bhutan Crowdfunding portal which was launched during the Bhutan Economic Forum for Innovative Transformation (BEFIT) 2019 last month. It is the first start-up company to raise their funds through the portal.

The Bhutan Crowdfunding portal is an initiative of the Royal Securities Exchange of Bhutan (RSEB) supported by the Royal Monetary Authority (RMA). It focuses on solicitation of funds from multiple investors through a web-based platform for a specific project, business venture or social cause.

Bhutan Alternatives is worth Nu 28 M today. It recycles toner cartridge in the country, helping to prevent environmental degradation caused by the disposal of electronic wastes. The company after running successfully for four years now says they want to go beyond and expand their business in countries like India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Thailand as well.

“All the money that we got till now has been rolling over. So we didn’t have enough budget for expansion. It’s been three years. So that’s why the fund we raised from all the investors will be used to buy advanced equipment so that we improve our products,” Leki Dawa, the CEO of Bhutan Alternatives, said.

Forty-one investors invested in the company through Bhutan Crowdfunding. With this, the investors will hold 30 per cent of the stake of the company. Bhutan Alternatives was listed in Bhutan Crowdfunding portal after two weeks of comprehensive discussion, and review from the review team of RSEBL.

“If you have a business which is running if you have a prototype, and you want to scale it up, then you can approach us with an application. We will help them design the offer document, we will help them design the financial projections, then accordingly after fulfilling the criteria, we will vet on the business idea. Based on that we will upload it on the crowdfunding portal,” Dorji Phuntsho, the CEO of RSEBL, said.

He added that this is purely a financial technology ( fintech). The platform uses technology to improve financing. All the details and information about the company are uploaded on the web portal and accordingly, investors will invest online. After the successful campaign, the company, however, has to update to their investors about the company’s status semi-annually or annually.

Additionally, the Central Bank says the portal will have eligibility criteria to take right over crowdfunding. It will be given to companies producing indigenous products and which work towards the country’s sustainable development goals.

Two more start-ups have registered for crowdfunding with many more coming for queries.

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