Author: Rizwan Shamim
Five startups graduated from Founder Institute’s first entrepreneurship training and startup launch program in Bangladesh. On Thursday 21st May, graduates were awarded certificates at a program organized at the BDjobs Training Center in Karwan Bazar. Founder Institute is based out of Silicon Valley and helps to build technology companies.
Graduates from the first program will be pitching in front of famous VCs such as Fenox in June 2015. Bangladeshi VCs will also be invited for prospective investments.
“Today is an important day for the Bangladeshi Startup scene, it has been a long journey for our first batch of graduates”, said Minhaz Anwar, one of the key people behind FI in Bangladesh, the other one being serial entrepreneur Sajid Rahman who moderated the event. “There were 142 applicants for this course, who went through screening and 28 startups were initially selected-5 startups finally graduated from the intensive course”-said Sajid Rahman.
The floor was then open for the five startups to give 1 minute pitches about their startups. The first pitch was by Md Abu Sayed, the founder of Brain Study Ltd (www.brainstudy.co). Brain Study is a project developed by Tutor 71 to solve the problem of private tuition in Bangladesh. Through an app, users can get access to a study line (help line) where teachers provide study help free of charge. Shah Paran was up next doing his 1 minute pitch for HandyMama.com which connects you to electricians, plumbers, laundry personnel and cleaners on demand. They will soon be launching in Gulshan, Banani and Baridhara. They already have a 10 member team. The third startup was Smartkompare.com founded by Shabbir Ahmad Tamim & Mahbub e Elahi, who pitched together and explained how their’s is an innovative online platform that helps compare financial products in the Bangladesh market.
The last two startups to pitch were Tapstar Games and Styline Collection Ltd. In my opinion these two startups were the most exciting ones. Styline is a 1 stop online hijab shop that sold 500 products within 5 weeks of their launching according to Khobaib Chowdhury, founder of this cool new venture. Tapstar games was represented by AKM Masuduzaman, CEO of this startup which creates games using localized content such as Ludo Friends and Rickshaw Racing.
After the 1 minute pitching session there was a very inspiring keynote speech by Muntaquim Chowdhury, Senior Principal Engineer at Intel-he’s been at Intel for over two decades. “Your generation is sitting at the cusp of some revolutionary changes, there is so much potential thats opening up and they need people like you to take things forward”, he said. He also spoke about areas he thought were interesting for innovation including IOT and Mobile Apps.
Founder Institute is present in 40 countries and 66 cities around the world and provides four month long programs to startups by training and mentoring. Around1,100 Founder Institute startups have been funded till now which has led to more than 10,000 people being employed.