The Grameenphone Accelerator (GPA) launched its 5th batch of startups on its 4-month long program through a launching event on 6th May, 2018 at GPHouse. The new batch follows 21 startups that have already been supported through the program since the inception in 2015.
Grameenphone CEO Michael Foley was present on the occasion. Welcoming the guests to GPHouse, he said “There is immense young talent in Bangladesh who just need a lift to succeed, this program is that lift,” adding that he was very pleased that GP was engaged with such a fantastic program.
GPAccelerator received over 1000 applications for batch 5 in just a span of two weeks. After a rigorous screening process, 35 teams was called in to participate in a two-day long boot camp, from which 15 startups were selected for further rounds of assessment, face-to-face interviews and pitch presentations. Finally, after fierce competition, five extremely promising companies were selected for as Batch 5 in the GPAccelerator program.
Grameenphone Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer, Kazi Mahboob Hossain expressed his excitement with the progress the accelerator program had made and said that he believed GPAccelerator was creating a great impact on the startup ecosystem of the country. “The accelerator program has evolved into the most coveted startup mentorship program in Bangladesh in a very short time. This has been possible because the people who mentor the program and the people who are selected into the program do not lose sight of their goals and what they are here to achieve. This new batch is among the best we have seen so far and I look forward to how high they will each grow after they have graduated from this program.”
GP Accelerator is an innovation platform that offers a 4-month curriculum-based mentorship program with several international and local mentors. The selected startups each receive USD15,000 as seed funding against 8% in equity. Additionally, the startups get around USD 11,200 worth of Amazon Web Service credit (AWS), and office space in GP House.
Throughout the 4-month program, teams get the opportunity to learn from local and foreign mentors, industry experts and professionals on critical development elements like term sheet, valuation, financial modeling, branding, etc. On the top of that, the platform also helps connect the startups with potential investors to accelerate their business. The total value of all the support provided to each team is approximately BDT 65 lacs.
The previous GPA batches were startups from various industries and are now doing a great job in the market. On average, the alumni of the program have been able to quadruple the value of their companies in just six months. Two, out of twelve active startup companies, have already crossed the USD 5 million valuation mark.
Minhaz Anwar, Head of GPAccelerator said, “GP Accelerator has become the benchmark for the startup ecosystem in Bangladesh in just about two years since it started taking in startups to accelerate.”
This time around, GPAccelerator has diverse teams on board-Teams who are working with online education to micro job platforms, VAAS automation and digital service platforms to peer to peer parking facility.
As the operating partner of accelerator program, Mustafizur Rahman Khan, CEO of Startup Dhaka, shared his enthusiasm with the selected startups. ”Our graduates continued to raise the bar in terms of scaling their business and winning recognition both locally and internationally for their innovation. We believe our new batch will help to raise our program’s standard even further.”
The five startups selected for batch 5 of the program pitched their idea from a variety of backgrounds and domains:
Search English– An English Language learning platform that helps over 1 million members via Facebook, website and through webinar to overcome fear and shame in speaking English.
cWork Microjob Limited– cWork Microjob Limited is a crowd-sourced microjob platform, where employer give jobs to on-demand contributors for the them to complete the tasks. Currently, cWork is ranked top #7 in Google Play in Bangladesh and has 15,000 monthly users.
OnuServer– onuServer is an app-cloud hybrid solution that converts a mobile phone (android) into a tiny server enabling different type of SMS and call based services/functionalities. This service empowers enterprises to manage their customer services and promotional works at minimal cost with maximum efficiency.
Digital Manush– Digital Manush is a lead generator for service provider and helps connect people to regular services. Currently they are the largest lead generator for services in Bangladesh. They are working in more than 170 areas in five cities in Bangladesh and one city in India.
Parkingkoi– Parkingkoi is connecting underutilized parking spaces in the city that allows drivers to find safe parking and help home owners with a potentially passive income by enabling them to use their unused parking space.