What to Consider Before Investing in a Startup or Company?
Investing in a startup or company can be an exciting opportunity, but it can also be a risky one. Before deciding to invest, several key factors should be carefully considered to help minimize the risks and increase the chances of a successful investment. By taking the time to thoroughly evaluate all the necessary factors, investors can make informed decisions. This article will explore these considerations in more detail and discuss how to evaluate potential investment opportunities. 11 Factors to Consider Before Investing in a Startup or Company There are numerous reasons why a startup can fail – ranging from unfortunate circumstances to an inadequate business plan or poor timing. According to statistics from the US Bureau of Labor, approximately 20% of newly established businesses do not survive beyond their first year of operation. The following factors need to be considered before making an investment decision. Analyze the Domain We all have experience working within certain industries or possess a personal interest in particular sectors. To increase the likelihood of successful investment, it is advisable to seek out startups that align with one's area of expertise or interest. This enables one to better comprehend the business and its potential, thereby allowing one to invest with confidence. Read More: How to Buy Sanchayapatra in Bangladesh in 2023: A Beginner's Guide Conversely, investing in startups from unfamiliar sectors may make it difficult to accurately evaluate the business and make informed investment decisions. Business Plan When listening to startup founders pitch their ideas, it is important that their plans appear well-thought-out and not untested ideas with uncertain profitability. For early-stage investments, it is advisable to prioritize startups with practical and scalable concepts. Before investing, it is essential to gain a thorough understanding of the company's framework and processes. Additionally, the business idea should be innovative and fresh and offer solutions to existing problems. Read More: What to Consider Before Buying Land: A Step-by-Step Guide Check the Confidence in Founders A truly innovative idea can be captivating, especially when presented by a passionate founder. While venture investors primarily assess the team, the capability to execute the plan should be given priority. It is not uncommon for startups to be founded by individuals without prior experience in launching new ventures. However, they must demonstrate their ability to transform an idea into a reality through past experience or accomplishments.
Huawei ICT Incubator announces top 6 startups from Bangladesh
Global ICT infrastructure provider Huawei has announced six startups as the winners of its ICT Incubator 2022 programme. The winners will get seed money as the award in addition to the opportunity to meet global startups for knowledge sharing. The announcement was made at a city hotel Wednesday (October 19, 2022). Huawei organised the event with the cooperation of Startup Bangladesh and the Innovation Design and Entrepreneurship Academy (iDEA). Read Huawei's 20-yr presence in Bangladesh witnesses tech transformation The competition has two groups, namely, the Idea Stage and the Early Stage. The winners of the Idea Stage and the Early Stage, respectively, are Insure Cow (Champion), Durjoy DSS (first runners-up), and Relaxy (second runners-up); and Jahaji (champions), Palki (first runners-up), and We Gro Technologies (second runners-up). The champions will get Tk500,000 as prize money and $125,000 Huawei Cloud credit; whereas the first and second runners-up will get Tk300,000 and Tk100,000 as prize money, respectively, in addition to $80,000 Huawei Cloud Credit. Apart from these, a co-founder from each company will visit abroad to meet successful foreign startups. An independent jury panel of the iDEA project, Huawei Bangladesh, Startup Bangladesh and other renowned leaders of the startup ecosystem of Bangladesh, selected the winners. Read Huawei welcomes 10 BD ICT talents in Beijing ICT State Minister Zunaid Ahmed Palak joined the event as the chief guest. Li Jiming, ambassador of China to Bangladesh, was present as a special guest along with Professor Vincent Chang, vice-chancellor of Brac University, Pan Junfeng, CEO of Huawei Bangladesh, Sami Ahmed, managing director of Startup Bangladesh, Md Altaf Hossain, project director (joint secretary) of iDEA Project. Around 180 participants applied for this year's ICT Incubator programme. Divided into two groups – The idea stage and the Early stage, 68 startups were selected to join the Incubator Bootcamp, where they were mentored and provided technical training. After this, the participants presented their startup ideas before the jury panel. Based on the judgment of the jury members, a total of 20 startups from both stages were selected as finalists for the gala event of Huawei ICT Incubator 2022. Finally, the top 3 from the Idea stage and the top 3 from the Early stage have been announced as winners at the gala event. Read Huawei brings three competitions for Bangladeshi youths
B’desh gets $750 mln foreign investment in startup in a decade: Palak
The country has received foreign investment of over $750 million in the startup sector in a decade, said State Minister for Information and Communication Technology Zunaid Ahmed Palak on Wednesday. He said this at the BCC auditorium of ICT Tower in Dhaka while participating in the second phase of Investment Assistance for Startups under the "Shotoborshe Shoto Alo" campaign organized by ICT Department’s Startup Bangladesh Limited. Read: Inter-operable Digital Transaction to begin from January: Palak He said the government is providing financial assistance to the country’s nearly 22,500 startups through Bangabandhu Innovation Grand (Big), the idea project of Startup Bangladesh Limited. Palak said "Shotoborshe Shoto Alo", an initiative by the department to commemorate the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the golden jubilee of Bangladesh, aims to invest Tk 100 crore in 50 startups and create entrepreneurial culture and employment in the country. As part of this, an investment agreement was signed today to provide capital assistance of Tk 17 crore to eight startups in the second phase. As an investor, Sami Ahmed, managing director of Startup Bangladesh Ltd. and CEOs of the eight companies signed the agreement on behalf of their respective organizations. The eight startups are- Hello Task, 10 Minutes School, iFarmer, Frontier Nutrition, Loop, Zantrik, Shuttle and Truck Lagbe. In the first phase, seven startups were given Tk 17 crore. Palak said the initiative would create a national entrepreneurial platform in the country and accelerate the implementation of new innovations. Read:Remotest region to connect with broadband internet by 2025: Palak Specialized labs in 53 universities, Fourth Industrial Revolution Centers, Joy Digital Service Centers in 494 upazilas, 300 Schools of Future, Sheikh Hasina Institute of Frontier Technology are being set up to cope with the Fourth Industrial Revolution, he added. Executive Director of Bangladesh Computer Council Dr Md Abdul Mannan, Ambassador of Turkey to Bangladesh Mustafa Osman Turan and President of Bangladesh Association of Call Centers and Outsourcing Wahid Sharif spoke at the event among others.
How to Start a Bakery Business in Bangladesh?
With the rapid GDP growth, Bangladesh is moving forward to becoming a developing nation and economic power in the near future. Driving this growth is the business sector of Bangladesh. The government has promoted entrepreneurship opportunities for the youth to drive the economy further and contribute to the growth. For small-scale entrepreneurs, a bakery business can be a profitable business venture. This article will detail everything related to starting a bakery business in Bangladesh. Bakery Business in Bangladesh The bakery business is easily one of the most profitable business ventures in Bangladesh. Currently, the biscuits and bakery sector are noticing a 15% year-on-year growth. The industry holds strong ground with around 6,000 crore BDT of market cap. However, the market is grossly monopolized by a few business conglomerates. But that doesn’t explicitly bar new entry to the market. Several new entrants started with area-based bakery business and shifted to larger denominations. Read Work from Home Business Ideas for Moms, Housewives in Bangladesh The onset of Covid has also had a boost in the home-based bakery business. A good number of home cooks started selling bakery and pastry products through F-commerce channels. The formal and informal sector together makes for a host of opportunities in this sector. Essentials for Starting a Bakery Business in Bangladesh There are two ways to get started with the bakery business – either with an initial investment and manpower or to start from home as a home cook. For home cooks, there are not many initial regulations to follow. The small-scale business can easily be categorized into the informal sector of the economy. It is easy to start a bakery business from home as it virtually does not require much investment to get started. But to set up it as a business with an initial investment, certain key factors should be taken into account. Read 10 Minutes School: Road to $2 Million Seed Funding Business Plan The process starts with a business plan. A business plan will outline product, production cost, material cost, and manpower cost. The business plan will essentially determine whether the business can be profitable or not in the long run. After that comes the selection of location. Large scale bakeries have their own store as well as supply mechanism to supply to different shops and outlets. For a newbie, selection of location is important as it will determine how many customers it can attract. Lastly, chef and staff selection should be done with utmost importance. Because the product and the packaging will determine whether the product will be a success or not. Read Food Cart Business in Bangladesh: How to Get the Food on Wheels Rolling However, to scale up the business, there are certain regulations that an entity must fulfill to legally run the business in Bangladesh. Bangladesh has consistently performed low in the global ease of doing business index. As a result, there are a lot of bureaucratic regulations and permissions that every business needs to follow to run operations. The following are the foremost important ones. TIN TIN or Tax Identification Number is one of the first of a string of documents required to legally operate in Bangladesh. As it will become clear later on, each of these permissions and certifications acts as a complementary document to apply for the latter regulation. And it all starts with the TIN. The TIN officially recognizes a person or a business as a tax-paying citizen of the country. A business must have TIN to be eligible to submit tax returns every year. The process of obtaining a TIN is fairly simple. Just go to the local zonal office of the NBR and apply for a TIN with the required personal documentation. It might take a few days to issue the TIN but there are no costs associated with the TIN generation. Read How to Open a Super Shop Business in Bangladesh? Trade License Trade License is important documentation for a number of reasons. Firstly, it enables a person to set up a business. Secondly, without a trade license, a person cannot legally engage in any form of commercial exchange of goods. So a trade license is like the initial block to get government certification as a business entity. Usually, a trade license requires 3 days for issuance. There is a 5000 BDT charge associated with the licensing. The trade license can be obtained from the zonal city corporation office. A person needs to provide personal details, business details, and TIN along with the relevant application form to apply for a trade license. Trademark Trademarks are essential to running a bakery business. It acts as a distinct identity for the business and allows for passive business promotion. The process of filing for a trademark is long and full of minute details. As a result, it is suggested to contact a trademark counsel lawyer to aid in the process. Read Influencer Marketing in 2022: A Beginner’s Guide Generally, the trademark application is filed to the Trademark office or branch located in the territory of the business. For Dhaka, it is determined by the city corporation. The initial application fee for a trademark is 3500 BDT. After application, it might take up to 3 months to get the trademark vetted and approved for usage. The initial approval is for 7 years. However, after that, it can be renewed for a period of 10 years each. BSTI Certification The BSTI or Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution is the proprietary institute that oversees food safety and regulation in the country. Naturally, any business dealing in the food business, procurement, production, and selling must obtain a quality control certification from BSTI. To get a BSTI certification, all the above documents including personal and business details are required. In addition to that, a label marking document must be submitted along with the application. After submission of the application, there will be an inspection from the BSTI authority. After facility and infrastructural investigation, there will be a random sample test to ensure quality all across the line. Read How Do Social Media Influencers Make Money? Final Thoughts So far, we have discussed the process and essential documents of starting a bakery business in Bangladesh. The demand for bakery products is on the rise in Bangladesh. The sector has been profitable for quite some time with an increasing contribution to the economy. With the right approach and mindset, anyone can make significant growth and ensure easy ROI in the bakery business.
SM²: Bangladesh-Focused Seed Accelerator by SBK Tech Ventures, SOSV, Miaki
Bangladeshi is going to see a new world-class seed accelerator “SM²” for the high potential local startups. SBK Tech Ventures along with SOSV and Miaki have taken this initiative which will be launched in November 2021. The program will be based on three seed-stage Bangladeshi startups. However, the detailed plan is yet to be announced. Here is what we know so far about the SM². What is a seed-stage accelerator program? You have a brilliant start-up idea, or product and want to launch a company. Money is going to be tight, however, there are some companies or people who can help guide you in the right direction for your business along with the funding in the initial stage. That is what the seed-stage accelerator program is about. Further, accelerators provide education as well as financial support to young entrepreneurs just starting out with their businesses. These programs vary from several thousand dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on what stage of development your business is in when applying and how long it's been operating (e.g., tech start-ups vs other types). Read Angel Investment 101: Is It the Right Track for Your Startup? The acceleration process usually takes between three and six months; the beginning stages often consist of individualized meetings with mentors and members working within the program where they discuss your company's goals and the steps needed to get there. Many programs have a required number of hours that each team must commit to each week, as well as specific office hours set aside for weekly meetings with mentors. However, the seed-stage accelerator works with a limited number of the selected startups in a given period. Read Seed Fund Raising for Startups: Things to Know About What is SM²? SM² is basically an equity-free 6 -month accelerator program that will offer the necessary tools to Bangladeshi startups. Currently, SM² is composed of three partners SBK Tech Ventures, Miaki, and SOSV. However, if you don’t know about them, keep reading and we will discuss each of these founding organizations. SM² aims to provide guaranteed investment for the selected startups. Each cohort will have 3 Bangladeshi startups and each of them will be selected based on the strength, potential impact, and scalability. Hence, it will be competitive and the best of the best will get the opportunity. So, what benefits will the selected startups get? Read Re-Commerce Startup SWAP Raise $1.25mn in Seed Funding, Promises New Horizon of Growth First of all, each of the selected startups will receive approximately $100,000 with the option for follow-up. Secondly, the chosen startups will get access to the tools, mentors, and investors. Further, upon selection, the companies will also get access to the investors’ network, other startups in Asia, and subject matter experts. These will eventually boost their chance of success. In the first session, SM² has already selected three startups and they will start the journey this November. Read GP Accelerator Program 3.0: Paving the Way for Successful Startups SBK Tech Ventures SBK Tech Ventures is one of the leading startup investors in Bangladesh. Founded by Sonia Bashir Kabir, SBK aims to help startups and support digital developments in several fields such as AgriTech, LegalTech, FinTech, e-commerce, and more. Further, the venture offers fast growth investment opportunities for the companies. They have already invested in some top startups such as Sheba, Praava Health, Jatri, Deligram.com, and more. SBK has the interest to invest in technology platforms that are scalable and social impact-driven. Moreover, they aim for a market that has a unique value proposition, delivery, and capture. Read Agro-Tech Startups in Bangladesh: Tech revolution in Agriculture Sector When it comes to investment SBK looks for a company that can make an impact tackling the root causes of a problem. Moreover, SBK invests in a company that doesn’t create demand, rather works on serving the existing demand. SOSV MOX When it comes to investing in startups, there's no better company than SOSV. They have a full-stack model that has delivered net IRR over the last 20 years putting them among one of the best venture funds out there and SOSV doesn't stop at just providing seed-stage funding either! Read 7 Local Startups Get Tk 150m Funds from Startup Bangladesh Limited Their vertical programs provide more guidance for talented entrepreneurs building groundbreaking new businesses on every continent around the world. Besides, SOSV MOX also offers invaluable advice on how they can make their ideas come true faster than ever before possible through a unique approach that includes running multiple successful ventures simultaneously. With the help of SOSV, founders are able to take their big ideas and turn them into reality. The organization provides support for entrepreneurs in various stages including funding through programs like HAX (hardware and connected devices), Chinaccelerator, and MOX (cross-border internet and mobile in Asia). Read How to Test and Validate Your Startup Idea? Further, the mentorship from industry leaders who have attained success in entrepreneurship themselves; as well as access to venture capital that can be used outside traditional channels such as blockchain-backed funds. SOSV has been funding more than 150 startups each year. To support the startups SOSV has more than 1000 mentors around the world. Miaki Bangladesh-based tech company Miaki is one of the pioneers in digital services for user-centric products. However, they also have experience providing services in Southeast Asia and beyond. Founded back in 2010, they have gained significant expertise to create innovative content such as health care apps, Education, Agriculture, and entertainment including casual mobile gaming platforms. Read Digital Healthcare Startups in Bangladesh: An Overview With over a decade worth of experience across different industries including Miaki has a partnership with Robi Axiata to support the young tech entrepreneurs through the National App Store platform known as BDAPPS. Miaki claims that they have the most qualified resources for providing outstanding service. Further, they always go above and beyond our customers' expectations with a commitment to delivering on projects quickly and efficiently. Moreover, they have round the clock support service. Read Common Challenges faced by Startups in 2021 Conclusion The birth of SM² is definitely a new hope for Bangladeshi startups. Hence, some successful startups might emerge in the next few years. The country need more seed accelerator programs like SM².
Sohopathi: An Emerging Online Education Platform in Bangladesh
In this age of information technology, when the internet has spread its wings in every single sector of human life, an EdTech startup found out the loophole in the Bangladeshi education system and started an online education platform for academic students. We are talking about "Sohopathi," a visionary education platform in Bangladesh. However, the platform might not be familiar to many, but they are growing silently. Although EdTech is a hot topic worldwide, many entrepreneurs do not dare to venture into this field due to a lack of knowledge or capital. The founders of Sohopathi took the dare and successfully managed the fund! Let's explore more details about Sohopathi. What is Sohopathi? Officially launched in 2019, Sohopathi is basically an online education platform to facilitate students and mentors. It is a place where anyone can learn or teach lessons online on different SSC and HSC level subjects. Sohopathi aims to provide personalized education to students online. They provide the service the experienced mentors from top universities such as BUET, DU, SUST, NSU, KUET, and more. Further, they have specialized mentors for each subject. Currently, Sohopathi has more than 70 mentors. Further, the web platform has videos on different subjects and different chapters. Read: Distance Learning: Grab foreign degrees online while staying in Bangladesh How does Sohopathi emerge? Sohopathi was an initiative by a group of BUET and MIST students. All the founders were educators when they were in their undergrad. So, they used to visit different suburban and rural places, and they felt that the majority of the students did not have access to quality education. Furthermore, they also realized that the student-teacher ratio is quite skewed, and as a result, teachers cannot pay attention to each student. Hence, the students outside of Dhaka city miss the quality education. With that note, the founders started a Q & A based Facebook group and pages, where the students can ask about anything, and they would supply the right answer. Gradually they got a huge response. Later they appointed a group of volunteers consisting of 60 members, who used to answer the questions in the Facebook group. Back in 2017, they were quite popular, and within two years, they built a database of 15,000 questions. In their early days, it was known as Online Sohopathi. Read 20 Most Promising Education Start-Ups in Bangladesh The idea of launching a platform came from that Facebook group based on academic questions and answers. Although they began their journey in 2017, Sohopathi incorporated in 2020 as Mainframe Lab. They launched the website in the same year, but they did not have any business model for the first two years. Nevertheless, they were not sure if anyone would be willing to pay for their services as it was not common during those days. But, their confusion got clear when 100 students paid for a programming workshop they took at Dhaka University. Read Visa’s Fintech Initiative for Bangladesh: New Opportunities for Start-ups? Later they introduced a paid online model test option for the students looking for admission to universities, which led them to earn revenue and improve their business model. Later they started personalized support for the students for a fee. That's how the mentor service emerged. However, the Q&A section is still free. How do they work? Back in 2019, Sohopathi used to run through the earnings from paid online exams, workshops, and other sources. Later in the same year, they rented a co-working space in Daffodil Business Incubator Center. Later they applied to the Grameenphone pre-accelerator in 2019 and eventually got selected, which was a turning point to shape their business. Further, they competed in Tiger IT Innovation Challenge 2019 and earned top three positions, and received investment from Tiger IT Foundation. Read: Top 10 Free Online Digital Marketing Courses in 2021 They already had mentor service, and later they launched the B2B platform to collaborate with the coaching centers and eventually sold the service to several coaching centers. It later included the main model of Sohopathi. However, they didn't have an actual operation until September 2020. The Sohipathi platform is fully automated now, and students can purchase the courses they want and start the course after making payment. Throughout this process, no human interaction is needed. For the mentors, Sohopathi has a commission-based model as well as a fixed payment model. For the commission-based structure, the platform takes a certain percentage from the mentors' earnings, and the rest of the amount directly goes to the mentors' bank account without any manual interaction. The fixed payment model is applied to the courses with big batches. Read Agro-Tech Startups in Bangladesh: Tech revolution in Agriculture Sector When it comes to the sales side, they have a full-proof pipeline to find, acquire and register students. They use calls, SMS, and other promotional activities. Sohopathi has more than 1000 campus ambassadors in different schools and colleges. Mostly the ambassadors are school and college students who help the company with marketing and sales. The ambassadors get good incentives to bring the leads. For the content side, they are an open platform in which students, mentors, and anyone can submit content. However, they had an unorganized content library, but now they have an organized content library as the company hired people for video editing and illustration. That's how their revenues have grown to almost five times since 2020. For the B2B segment, Sohopathi has an online exam solution for educational organizations. Read Can E-Learning Substitute Classroom Learning? Pricing model Sohopathi has a different price for different segments. For instance, students can have the option to take courses for Tk. 500/month to Tk. 5000/month. The differentiation happens due to the personalized service as the student will need to pay more for the personalized service. Future Plan Sohopathi is proceeding with a solid plan as they have a target to collaborate with 50 top-level high schools or colleges from 30 districts in the next 1 year. Further, they also aim to create a network of top 3,000 educators across the country. The company also plans to introduce skill-based courses in the future. Read: Robi-10 Minute School launches exam preparation course for grades 6-9 Apart from these long-term goals, the founders also aim to increase the daily app users to 50,000. Through all these targets, they want to get ready to raise VC investment word $1.5-2 million by the end of 2022. Further, the organization also aims to improve the platform gradually while they integrate online exams and mentorship programs for educational institutions. Final words While the Sohopathi develops its business, they face challenges too. The main challenge they face is the reach, and they want to improve it by reaching more students. Now, Sohopathi is a team of 20 members who have expertise in different domains, from software development to marketing. The company has more than 3500 active recurring paid users. Their B2B platform has collaborated with 5 educational institutions, and most of them are located outside of Dhaka. So, the founders see a good prospect of providing quality education outside of Dhaka. Read Best Banks for Student Credit Card in Bangladesh
Setting Up Facebook Business in Bangladesh: Detailed Guideline
Facebook has been an integral part of connecting people all over the globe. But the impact of Facebook is not limited to only connecting people. With over 2.8 billion monthly active users, Facebook is one of the strong platforms to reach out to prospective customers for your business. In Bangladesh, the utilization of this social networking platform in business has increased significantly since the pandemic. The F commerce in Bangladesh has seen rapid growth in the last few years. The current market cap stands at around 312 crore BDT which contributes a significant amount to the e-commerce revenue. So, do you think you have something to sell online? Here’s our detailed guideline to get you going on your F-commerce venture. Read GP Accelerator Program 3.0: Paving the Way for Successful Startups How to open a Facebook shop from Bangladesh? To keep things short and not make them boring, we won't be diving into the step-by-step process of opening a page itself. Rather we will focus on what most people miss or get wrong while opening a page. The process is pretty self-explanatory and intuitive. A catchy name Do you know what gets the attention of the potential customers right away? The name. Your business should have a unique and catchy name that grabs the attention of the customers. Something that the customers would remember for a long time. Try and come up with something catchy and relevant to your product. Go along with something that creates a self-brand centering you or the product range. The end goal is to grab the attention of the customer. If it’s a niche-based business, try to go for something relevant to the niche. Read:Pickaboo: Story of successful electronics eCommerce platform And if you own an established business with some form of customer base, you can stick with the ‘name’ that has already worked for your business. Getting the Right Display/ Cover Picture When you have got the name for your business, you have overcome a massive hurdle. Now let's talk about getting the page started. After naming your Facebook shop page, you need to move on to choosing a display picture. Typically, everyone goes with the business logo. And if you don’t have one, get one. The logo can be something simple that embodies who you are and what you are trying to sell. Read Best Business Ideas Amidst the Pandemic and New Normal Choosing an appropriate cover picture is equally important as well. Use it to highlight the customer-centric approach and all the other aspects of the business. Create a multipoint contact space for the customers and highlight them on the cover picture. Adding Business Details This is probably the most important aspect when it comes to setting up a page. Up until this point, whatever you did was either guided or intuitive, but things get a bit more intricate from here. Whatever you put forth from here it can either make or break your online business. The first thing to sort is what type of business you are offering. This is important as Facebook has a set of algorithms that will promote your business to an industry-specific niche. Let's say you're a business that plans to sell ready-made clothes. Make sure to select "clothing line” from the list of businesses. Correct selection of the sector is important to reach the target customer. Read How to Test and Validate Your Startup Idea? Business Description Ever heard of a minute to win it? Well, this is something similar except you get 250 characters to showcase your business. Be crafty and decisive about your words as this is what your prospective clients will be seeing the first thing. The proverb goes, the first impression is the last impression. You need to be convincing about your business so that you can convert a prospective lead to a real buyer. Categories Categories are something similar to selecting your business niche. You get to add multiple categories depending on the services you’re offering. Now don't go overboard with the tags though. We suggest you be concise about your category selection as they play a huge role when you boost your page or post. Read: E-commerce Scams: Ways to Protect Your Investment from Online Frauds Contact This is also another important aspect. This is where the personal touch of your marketing comes into play. Typically, you should provide your phone number along with an email ID to tag along with the contact list. Make sure to have contacts active as this also acts as a first impression to the customer service. Timing When are your business hours? People often differ on this point. Many think an online business should follow the traditional business hours whereas others think it should cater around 24/7 since there virtually is no constraint when everything is online. We think it's impossible to cater to your customer 24/7 unless you have a dedicated team for that. However, most mainstream businesses won't even need that sort of extreme timing. We suggest sticking with the schedule when you can ensure optimum customer support without personal disruption. Read 7 Ways to Become a Genuine Expert in Your Chosen Field Follow a Theme You should set up a theme for your business. What we mean is, whatever you're posting or sharing online from your page, make sure they follow the same structure or design elements. This will help to bring consistency across the page feed making it pleasing for potential customers. A theme also helps to stand out from the others creating a unique distinction for the business. The key here is to stand out from the rest. The more the elements stand out, the more chances for the business to get noticed and create better customer traffic. Read: Agro-Tech Startups in Bangladesh: Tech revolution in Agriculture Sector Tell Your Story Every business has a story to tell and this is your poetic moment of glory. Talk about your vision, your ideas, what prompted this business and where do you see your business in the near future. In short, tell stories to which the potential customers can relate. Make it engaging so that they feel a part of your business. The key here is to captivate the emotion of your potential customer and use it to expand on the sales front. Post Post Post Keep your clients engaged with regular updates and posts. We cannot stress the importance of this point enough. You need to keep your customers hooked with your page so that they are constantly reminded of your presence. The more they think about you, the more they’ll be prompted to buy your product. Read: Bangla QR Payment: The Contactless Payment System of EBL Self-Branding Spread the word of your business yourself because no one else will. Invite friends and families to like your page to make it more engaging. That’s how a business grows, through word of mouth and exceptional service. Final Thoughts The influence of Facebook is immense. The traffic it holds is unprecedented and the opportunities are virtually untapped. There is no better time than now to take your business to the online platform through F-commerce and other social handles. As you grow to get started with the entrepreneurial venture, Facebook can be your next big tool to expand the business to new dimensions. Read Truck Lagbe raises $4 mln Series A fund to transform trucking market of Bangladesh
Agro-Tech Startups in Bangladesh: Tech revolution in Agriculture Sector
Bangladesh has always been an agrarian country. Agriculture is still the largest sector when it comes to employment with over 42.7% of the labor somehow related to agriculture. The sector also accounts for over 12% of the GDP share. Yet traditionality has always preceded innovation in this sector. Some steps have been taken to modernize the existing agricultural systems in the country. However, the impact and coverage weren’t enough to have a uniform impact. Different startups are trying to solve the underlying issues that plague the farmers and the agricultural sector. While some focus on specialized needs, others take a more holistic approach. Let's look at some Agro-Tech Startups bringing about changes to the existing process. The Emerging Agro-Tech Start-Ups in Bangladesh iFarmer Ltd Farmers in Bangladesh face accessibility issues regarding capital, market, and other agricultural development inputs. iFarmer Ltd took a holistic approach to address these issues for the root-level farmers. The startup was founded in 2008 in Dhaka. Initially, the organization focused on solving the Agri capital issue. Gradually they widened the horizon to include a marketplace as well as developmental input for the farmers. Today the organization has over 36000 registered farmers under its platform. Read Sofol App from iFarmer: A Revolution Towards the Agriculture Digitization The organization has a unique voucher system that they provide to the farmers instead of direct cash. So far, the organization has been able to disseminate 745 million BDT worth of funding to the farmers. The investments have yielded over 1.1 billion BDT worth of agricultural produce. The company has been primarily funded by the Falcon Network and Accelerating Asia. The voucher system allowed for better investment strategies. This in turn allowed the organization to see consistent growth. iFarmer also took steps to set up its own supply chain system to bypass the middlemen. The marketplace system allows the farmer to directly connect with the buyers which in turn allows for better profit. Fashol.com Fashol.com is another Bangladeshi agro-tech startup focusing on the wholesale agricultural market. Price discrimination in the wholesale market has always plagued the farmers. While fresh produce skyrockets in retail now and then, the farmers seldom get the actual price for their produce. Read:Agricultural Loans in Bangladesh: Banks Offering Loans to Farmers and Farms Fashol.com works to bring about a change to that system. Founded in 2019, the startup has created its supply chain with over 500 retailers serving over 350 different types of fresh produce. The company takes an all-around approach from sourcing to sorting to delivery. This approach has had a very positive impact. The company directly delivers the products free of cost to the customers. The price is also substantially less than the retail market since there is virtually no middlemen involved. The agricultural supply chain of Bangladesh is lengthy. This backdated process has been intertwined with multiple third-party involvements. The change of hands or involvement of middlemen at every stage only adds up to the final cost of the product which is making both the consumer and the farmer worse off. Fashol.com is taking steps in the right direction and bringing better value across the spectrum. Read:Best Business Ideas Amidst the Pandemic and New Normal iPAGE Ltd Integrated Precision Agriculture and Engineering Bangladesh or simply iPAGE is another agri-tech startup in Bangladesh. The platform primarily works to develop the root farmers of Bangladesh.
How to Test and Validate Your Startup Idea?
One of the most common intimidating things with entrepreneurship is that many people are first-time entrepreneurs. The serial entrepreneurs already know the ins and outs of the initial process associated with entrepreneurship. There is no fixed way of starting a startup, as every sector and market are different. As a first-timer, it might seem hard for a potential entrepreneur to test his/her own startup ideas. One of the key ways to overcome this initial barrier is through testing and validating the startup idea. Here is a step-by-step guide for the market validation process. Why is it necessary to test the startup idea before starting the business? Prior to understanding the necessity of testing a startup idea, it is important to understand what market validation is. The term ‘Market validation’ refers to the simple process of assessing whether the startup product or service is in demand in the market. A product might be a great fit in a niche but if there are not enough buyers for the product, it is ultimately slated to be a failure. Testing the startup idea gives first-time entrepreneurs and often serial entrepreneurs a detailed insight into the product demand in the market. A product or service fails because of three things – lack of planning, lack of marketing, lack of custom-tailoring. Testing and validating the startup idea helps to eliminate all of these scopes and eventually drive up the success rate. Read Common Challenges faced by Startups in 2021 Best ways to test and validate a startup idea? Pen out the product outline Many people confuse the product outline with a business plan. In reality, a business plan is a dynamic tool that is susceptible to many changes. A product outline is more like an answer to certain questions on which the foundation of the startup will be based. Think of the things the product or service aims to achieve. Who is the target customer for the product? What utility will the product bring in the market and to the customer? Does it solve a problem enough to generate a market cap? What is the minimum viable product of the startup? These are just the basic questions when it comes to drawing a product outline. It helps to effectively plan around the product and customer and build a better connection among them. Read Seed Fund Raising for Startups: Things to Know About Conduct a survey Market surveys are a key part of every stage of any startup. It is important to take note that customers and their tastes are dynamic. It is not going to stay constant over time. As a result, the business plan of any startup needs to be molded and upgraded accordingly. A customer and market survey will help an entrepreneur assess the demand for their product as well as market competition for the product. Furthermore, it is a great way to assess whether a market is already saturated or not. Understanding the needs of the customer will help to better tailor the product to their needs. Read: ShopUp Raised $75 million, Largest Series B Funding for a B2B E-Commerce Platform in South Asia Know the market competitors It is important to find out the competitors in the market. There might be sufficient demand for any product but what if the competitor is a multi-industry conglomerate? They will have far more resources to better manipulate the market. But that does not mean it should deter someone from entering the market. The competitors can act as a good insight on how a product should be designed, how to market the product and target customers. Instead of getting deterred by competitors, potential entrepreneurs can get better insights from their business models and marketing techniques. Read: Vroom App: End-to-End Platform for Car, Automobile Related Services in Bangladesh Create a Value Proposition Too many startups these days focus on product features compared to value generation. Instead of stuffing features that the customer might not need, the right approach is to generate value for them. In simple words, highlight the value generation in lieu of features. People are motivated by productivity and the idea of value generation will help the customer to respond in a better manner. Use Product Hunt Product Hunt is an amazing platform for up-and-coming startups. If you are just getting started with entrepreneurship, Product Hunt can be a great place to see how well your startup ranks among the customers. Read 7 Local Startups Get Tk 150m Funds from Startup Bangladesh Limited The platform is like a social hub for startups. Here users get to understand your product in its initial stage and decide whether it adds any value to them or not. It is possible to categorize the target customer and many more on the platform. In addition to these, aspiring entrepreneurs can easily conclude market acceptability through the platform. More details here. Create a landing page In this day and age, online marketing is one of the most effective business strategies. Almost everyone seems to have some form of internet connectivity. Depending on the nature of the startup, it is better to create a “Coming Soon” landing page. This will have a triple impact on the business – draw the attention of the customer, assess product interest and initiate a brand valuation. Read: Late Blooming Billionaires: Story of successful people who started late in life Once marketing is done through the page, it becomes easier to check the buzz around the product through analytics. Create an MVP All of the above processes are meant for superficial market assessment. But a customer needs to see and use a product to deliver their ultimate verdict. This necessitates the need for a market viable product (MVP). In the pre-startup stage, the MVP can be launched to a limited customer base to assess their feedback. The real-world product usage will help the customer make a more informed decision and ultimately either discard or validate the product. Read:Investment: What Factors to Consider before Investing Money? Find the gap between liking the product and buying the product There have been several scenarios where a product has been liked by a great many people but when it came to product launch, not many people were buying it. Why so? It is mainly because of dainty features. These features can be better classified as something good if they exist, but will not make much impact if they are absent. A startup needs to refrain from falling in this category as it will give entrepreneurs false understandings of the market. Rather the approach should be a value proposition focused on creating utility for the customer in mind. Read: Investment Opportunities in Bangladesh amid Pandemic Final Thoughts Testing and validating a startup is very much important to ensure its sustainability in the long run. This often acts as the make-or-break factor for any business. Properly assessing the market before making market entry will help to ensure profitability and business survival.
ShopUp Raised $75 million, Largest Series B Funding for a B2B E-Commerce Platform in South Asia
Starting a small business in a country like Bangladesh can be a difficult task. Traveling around the globe to sourcing wholesale products, arguing with shopkeepers over prices, stockpiling products, looking for customers' homes in the city's alleys for delivery, and much more! Now, if you are told that you can get all the solutions from online business sourcing to delivery without any investment by downloading a free app on the phone! Isn't that cool? More than 6 lakh entrepreneurs have already succeeded in their online business using a single platform. There is a platform where you can get a huge collection of more than 1 lakh wholesale products spread across the country sitting at home! ShopUp has accomplished this impossible task. Now, they have raised $75 Million in new funding to reach more people in Bangladesh as well as abroad. Read Vroom App: End-to-End Platform for Car, Automobile Related Services in Bangladesh What is ShopUp? ShopUp works toward bringing different small and medium traders under one roof. In addition, ShopUp connects the manufacturer with the wholesaler, further, the wholesalers are connected with the retailer and the retailer with the buyer. ShopUp offers a variety of online business services, including promotion of products, timely delivery of products, and high-quality packaging. Besides the website, the platform also has three apps in the Google Play Store. Afeef Zaman, Siffat Sarwar, and Ataur Rahim Chowdhury launched the ShopUp in February 2016 with the aim of turning the country's potential entrepreneurs, especially women, into successful entrepreneurs by using various services of Facebook and information technology. Read ToguMogu: One Stop Solution for Bangladeshi Parents Before that, Ataur Rahim Chowdhury, who has passed Computer Science and Engineering from East-West University, started the smashboard, which used to work with query management through social media. During that time Ataur came to know about the various problems of product delivery services of e-commerce companies in Bangladesh. He discussed the matter with his friends Afeef Zaman and Siffat Sarwar, who graduated from the Institute of Business Administration (IBA) of Dhaka University. All three agreed that the solution to the delivery problem would change the face of Bangladesh's e-commerce business. Soon after, they started ShopUp in a small office in Lake Circus, Kalabagan. In the beginning, they used to provide service on managing Facebook pages as well as order and manage products. Later, they added the merchant delivery service. Gradually ShopUp also started giving loans to entrepreneurs for business development. Later, the company also launched a mobile app. That's how today's ShopUp was started. Read 7 Local Startups Get Tk 150m Funds from Startup Bangladesh Limited How ShopUp works? ShopUp works through a few simple steps, but you will need to put some effort into it. However, you can find out whether the product has been delivered or not from the ShopUp app, sitting at home. ShopUp will do all the work for you, which can make your business successful easily and hassle-free. Firstly, you will need to install the app on your phone. Register in a few easy steps and get more than lakhs of wholesale products for boys and girls, including fashionable dresses, cosmetics, gazettes, and accessories. Download pictures of your favorite products and share them on your business page or do online marketing. When the customer places an order, you will need to place the order in the app and enter the delivery address. Fill out the delivery details, selling price, and other relevant information. You can find out the real-time updates and payment details of delivery through the app. Profits on full-week sales will go directly to your bKash account next week. Read Digital Healthcare Startups in Bangladesh: An Overview ShopUp services ShopUp offers different types of services to make the business easier. Services include delivery, shop management, and ShopUp assist. Own delivery service Delivering products on time to buyers is a challenge for any entrepreneur. That is why ShopUp has its own delivery service to provide entrepreneurs the opportunity to deliver products all over the country quickly. Shop management services Entrepreneurs have to update their Facebook pages regularly to make their products attractive to buyers. But everyone cannot do that on their own. Hence, ShopUp has shop management services to solve the problem. The service provides the opportunity to create a business-friendly page on Facebook as well as add up-to-date information. Read An Overview of Shuttle: A Promising Mass Transit Startup in Bangladesh Shop Assist There is no substitute for product promotion to reach online business buyers. But due to a lack of direction, many people cannot promote the product properly. Many also annoy the buyers by promoting the same product over and over, which later becomes a threat to the business. ShopUp Assist can give a solution to that. Through the service, an entrepreneur can post product promotion or page promotion on Facebook. Even if you need a credit card for that, ShopUp offers the opportunity to pay through a bKash account. To accelerate the business, ShopUp has three additional services, Mokam, REDX, and Baki. ShopUp delivers daily necessities to the grocery store in the neighborhood in 24 hours through the B2B business app Moka. For this, the startup has entered into agreements with various product manufacturers, distributors, and wholesalers. Read Top 10 Co-working Spaces in Dhaka Apart from that, the products are delivered to the traders through REDX. Launched last year, RedX is currently serving 493 Upazilas. And small traders can buy products on credit through the Baki service. How did they start raising investment? Over the last 4 years, ShopUp raised investments in several steps. Their investment came from an Angel round in 2017, and they raised $120k. Next, the company proceeded to the seed round in 2018 and received $1.6 million funding from Omidyar Network, USA. After that, ShopUp participated in three more seed rounds in 2019 and raised $4.2 million in total. Their second largest investment came in October 2020 from Flourish Ventures, Sequoia Capital India through Series A, and the company received $22.5 million. Finally, ShopUp raised $75 million last week from the Series B round. Read Angel Investment 101: Is It the Right Track for Your Startup? How did ShopUp raise $75 million from Bangladesh? Basically, when a new venture shows good results in the market with initial capital, they become eligible for Series A investment. After that, they can proceed to Series B investment. ShopUp has proved its ability through footprint in all 64 districts in Bangladesh and Bengaluru, India. As a result, they received $75 million from Series B financing led by Peter Thiel's Valar Ventures. The investment also includes, from "Proses- the investment arm of Naspers, Pierre Omidyar's family office, as well as existing investors Sequoia Capital India, VEON Ventures, and Flourish Ventures." As a Series B, it is the largest investment in any startup based in South Asia. Read The 7 Most Promising Tech Startups in Bangladesh