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Happy Holidays

🎉✨ Happy Holidays from Startup Bangladesh! 🌟 As the year comes to a close, we extend warm wishes to our esteemed partners around the globe. 🌍🚀 Your unwavering support has fueled innovation and empowered countless startups on their journey.

উদ্যোক্তাদের উদ্ভাবনী চিন্তা করতে হবে – সামি আহমেদ, ম্যানেজিং ডিরেক্টর, স্টার্টআপ বাংলাদেশ লিমিটেড

নতুন উদ্যোক্তা কিভাবে আপনাদের জানতে পারবে?
আমাদের ওয়েবসাইটে আপ্লাই নাউ অপশনে ফর্মে কিছু প্রশ্ন আছে। প্রশ্নগুলোর উত্তর দিতে হবে। উদ্যোক্তার রেভিনিউ, ফিল্ড ওয়ার্ক থাকতে হবে। শুধু আইডিয়া নিয়ে আপ্লাই করা মানে তিনি আমাদের জন্য প্রস্তুত নন।
আমাদের রবি, টেন মিনিট স্কুলসহ বিভিন্ন পার্টনার আছে। তাদের বিভিন্ন প্রগ্রাম থেকে আমরাও উদ্যোক্তাদের পিক করি। পার্টনার প্রগ্রামের উইনাররাও আমাদের কাছে আইডিয়া নিয়ে আসে। তাদের সঙ্গেও বসি, তবে তাদেরও আবেদন করতে হয়।
উদ্যোক্তাদের নির্বাচন করেন কিভাবে?
উদ্যোক্তাদের আবেদন নিয়ে আমাদের টিম কাজ করে। তাদের রেভিনিউ, ফিল্ড ওয়ার্কসহ নানা কিছু দেখা হয়। ইন্টারভিউ নেওয়া হয়। তাদের ভবিষ্যৎ পরিকল্পনা, দেশ ও দশের লাভ, ব্যাবসায়িক নানা বিষয় দেখা হয়।
প্রেজেন্টেশন তৈরি করা হয়। এরপর ইনভেস্টমেন্ট অ্যাডভাইজরি কমিটি দেখে, ইন্টারভিউ নেয় এবং রিকমেন্ডেশন দেয়। এরপর বোর্ড সংশ্লিষ্ট নানা দিক দেখে। সব েশেষে আমাদের বিভিন্ন ক্রাইটেরিয়ার ওপর ভিত্তি করে আমরা সিদ্ধান্ত নিই বিনিয়োগে যাব কি যাব না।

 

রেভিনিউ মিনিমাম কত দিনের থাকতে হবে?আইডিয়া যদি দ্রুত গ্রো করে, হোক সেটা নতুন বা পুরনো তাতে কোনো সমস্যা নেই।
কমপক্ষে এক বছর থাকলে ভালো হয়।স্টার্টআপ বাংলাদেশ ইনভেস্ট করেছে এমন কম্পানি? পাঠাও, ইন্টেলিজেন্ট মেশিন, চাল ডাল ডটকম, আই ফার্মার, টেন মিনিট স্কুলসহ আরো বেশ কয়েকটি কম্পানি আছে, যারা বেশ ভালো করছে।স্টার্টআপ বাংলাদেশ কি সরকারের অধীনে?
আইসিটি মন্ত্রণালয়ের অধীনে এটা শতভাগ সরকারি প্রতিষ্ঠান। এখানকার ইনভেস্ট করা সব টাকা সরকারের। তবে ভবিষ্যতে আমাদের পরিকল্পনা আছে আরো বিভিন্ন প্রতিষ্ঠান থেকে ফান্ড সংগ্রহ করার।

আপনাদের মতো আরো কোনো প্রতিষ্ঠান কি আছে?
স্টার্টআপ বাংলাদেশ সরকারি লিমিটেড কম্পানি। বেসরকারি সেক্টরে এসিসির [সিকিউরিটি এক্সচেঞ্জ কমিশন] আন্ডারে অনেকেই কাজ করছে। যেমন-রবি আরভেঞ্চার।

নতুন উদ্যোক্তাদের বিষয়ে আপনার পরামর্শ?
উদ্যোক্তাদের উদ্ভাবনী চিন্তা করতে হবে। নতুন আইডিয়া খুঁজে বের করতে হবে। আইডিয়া কপি করা যাবে না। তাদের মনে রাখতে হবে পরিশ্রমী, উদ্ভাবনী ও লেগে থাকার মানসিকতাসম্পন্ন নতুন উদ্যোক্তাদের জন্য মার্কেটে সাপোর্ট আছে।

স্টার্টআপ বাংলাদেশ লিমিটেড এর পক্ষ থেকে সকলকে বিজয় দিবসের শুভেচ্ছা।

Sheba’s comeback story: A demonstration of resilience

When facing a severe fund crisis, tech startups in Bangladesh that are heavily reliant on foreign funding are usually sold off at throwaway prices if not compelled to shut down entirely.

But despite facing a similar situation, Sheba has demonstrated resilience by securing funds from local conglomerates and now performing with robust promise.

“We are stronger than ever, retaining most of our employees,” Adnan Imtiaz Halim, founder and CEO of Sheba, told The Daily Star in an interview.

“Our service delivery numbers are rapidly increasing, we’ve secured a payment service provider license, and all our verticals are projecting strength,” he said.

Sheba.xyz, the largest digital marketplace for household services in Bangladesh, underwent an existential crisis in May 2022.

Missing a round of foreign investment at the time, the local startup’s leadership confronted a moment of truth: they had to lay off a majority of their employees and downsize operations for survival.

“For a year, we focused on sustaining, relying on Sheba’s strength and resilience,” Adnan said.

“We plan to reinitiate operations with full vigour between May 2022-2023. Our objective is to formulate a robust comeback strategy, leveraging a minimal workforce dedicated to this venture,” he added.

However, the crisis did not solely stem from the missed round of investment.

After launching in 2016, Sheba quickly captured the attention of urbanites by offering comprehensive solutions to common challenges associated with city living, such as cleaning, plumbing and more.

Operating as an online connecting platform, Sheba.xyz facilitates service solutions for both users seeking services and the service providers themselves.

In 2019, the company launched Sheba Manager, a business app for managing offline and online shops.

The app offers a suite of tools to efficiently manage businesses, encompassing daily sales tracking, balance calculations, and detailed reports on business income growth, among other essential features.

Having gained popularity soon after its release, Sheba Manager currently has about one million users.

Sheba has since experienced remarkable growth, with the demand for its household services soaring to more than 1,000 orders per day.

From 50 employees based in a small house in Dhaka’s Mirpur DOHS in 2016, the company’s workforce expanded to 480 employees in the five years before the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, the onslaught of the pandemic on its operations was hard.

“The initial setback to our business came from the pandemic. We were compelled to suspend our household service entirely for several months,” Adnan said.

“But the bright side of that gloomy time was that we provided 50,000 small business with food and financial assistance while Sheba Manager emerged as a very useful tool for them as well,” he added.

The crisis escalated when an almost secured investment fell through as Sheba is not registered as a company of Singapore.

“We could not obtain legal clearance for the funds because of this,” Adnan said.

 

As a result, Sheba was blindsided by a significant investment shortfall, which was like a “sudden storm” hitting its operations.

“We convened a town hall meeting to transparently address this crisis with our team. It was a time of great uncertainty, but we were committed to facing these challenges as a united family,” he added.

Adnan candidly recalled the struggle inside the startup at the time.

A colleague struggled to pay his child’s school fees and another was on the brink of defaulting on a loan.

“We also had regular service providers on our platform who were struggling to make ends meet. We faced these challenges head-on, prioritising the needs of our people within limited funds,” he said.

“Our efforts were directed towards ensuring that each individual received the support they needed,” Adnan added.

After one year of struggle, Sheba once again got backing from some top local conglomerates and started over again.

“We are resolute in our determination to bounce back, even in the face of a powerful storm. We have not faltered, and the 60 individuals who stood by us are just as determined as I am,” Adnan said.

He also said Sheba has already disbursed Tk 7 crore in outstanding salaries and payments to vendors, bringing the company close to settling all pending payments.

“We firmly believe in the future of this company. Witnessing Sheba’s profound impact on people’s lives and the positive changes it has brought reinforces our confidence. Experiencing a single financial setback does not necessarily imply a dire situation,” Adnan added.

He credited Sheba’s board and shareholders for the comeback.

“Their unwavering confidence and consistent support during challenging times have played a pivotal role in our turnaround,” he said.

According to him, Sheba is a completely locally funded company unlike most other startups.

It raised about Tk 70 core from local backers as of May 2022. Since May 2023, it has secured funding of Tk 32 crore from some local backers in a series A round, taking its total funding to Tk 102.

It plans to raise another Tk 18 core from other local backers in the coming weeks, taking its overall series A round investment to Tk 50 crore.

“In the latest round, BSRM Group, a leading steel manufacturer and one of the largest conglomerates of the country, entrusted their confidence in the impact that Sheba is creating for small merchants and the economy by becoming the latest investors,” he said.

“Besides, Startup Bangladesh Limited is again investing in this round, showing their faith on the concept that is Sheba,” Adnan added.

As the operations of the company is expanding, it started hiring since May this year and now has more than 350 employees.

In August this year, it secured a Payment Service Provider (PSP) license from the central bank to launch Sheba Pay.

The Sheba platform is now working on creating an ecosystem for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

“Already, 35,000 SMEs have used our payment platform,” he said.

Adnan also said the landscape of SMEs, including micro businesses, in Bangladesh is brimming with potential.

“Over the past 10 years, we’ve seen the number of SMEs grow to 10 million. These businesses are more than just numbers; they’re the lifeblood of our economy, with a projected contribution of $500 billion by 2041,” he said.

With Sheba Pay and the Sheba Ecosystem, the company is positioned to help these SMEs flourish and grow, creating a more inclusive financial environment in the process, he added.

Apart from simply doing business, Sheba’s dream is to enhance consumer experiences with innovative products and services.

Adnan said Sheba is more than just a service delivery platform for users.

“A child got trapped in a bathroom when the door malfunctioned. The mother then contacted us, and we successfully rescued the child within 30 minutes,” he said.

Similarly, a newlywed couple faced car trouble at night in the outskirts of Dhaka, and Sheba’s technicians promptly resolved the issue.

“So, Sheba is cherished by people for problem-solving,” Adnan added.

Adnan also said that Sheba has had an impact beyond its customers.

“I know a plumber that would earn just Tk 12,000 monthly. Using Sheba, he built a team and uplifted his earnings tremendously,” he added.

Now, the plumber owns two sanitaryware shops, and resides in a comfortable flat.

“Besides, it is an immense pleasure for me to witness that he now sends his child to a good school,” Adnan said.

“At Sheba, we not only aim to solve problems, but also support lives and livelihoods,” he added.

Full Article Source: https://www.thedailystar.net/business/news/shebas-comeback-story-demonstration-resilience-3493811

 

Startup Bangladesh Limited’s Board of Directors explores the innovative strides of our investee company, 10 Minute School

Startup Bangladesh Limited’s Board of Directors explores the innovative strides of our investee company, 10 Minute School – the largest EdTech startup in Bangladesh. Witnessing firsthand the transformative impact of education technology on our journey toward a knowledge-driven future

The internationally acclaimed business reality show, Shark Tank, has officially opened the doors to its Bangladeshi adaptation.

The internationally acclaimed business reality show, Shark Tank, has officially opened the doors to its Bangladeshi adaptation, inviting enterprising individuals from across the nation to participate in its first season.
Sony Pictures Entertainment and Bongo BD have inked a deal to introduce the popular reality show in the country with Robi on board as the ‘Title Sponsor’, supported by Startup Bangladesh as the ‘Powered by’ collaborator.
Registration Link: https://tu.bongobd.com/STBD

শুভ জন্মদিন, জাতির পিতা বঙ্গবন্ধু শেখ মুজিবুর রহমানের কনিষ্ঠ সন্তান শহীদ শেখ রাসেল।

শেখ রাসেল দীপ্তিময়
নির্ভীক নির্মল দুর্জয়

Shark Tank comes to Bangladesh

The globally acclaimed business show, ‘Shark Tank’, which has aired in over 40 countries, is set to have a localised version in Bangladesh. Sony Pictures Entertainment and Bongo has inked a deal to introduce the popular reality show in the country with Robi on board as the ‘Title Sponsor’, supported by Startup Bangladesh as the ‘Powered by’ collaborator.

The show’s premise involves budding entrepreneurs presenting their business ideas to a group of investors, dubbed the ‘Sharks’. These investors, who usually are accomplished entrepreneurs themselves, decide on whether to invest based on the potential they see in the pitch. Entrepreneurs could be showcasing anything from a novel product prototype, an existing product or service, or even a firm seeking capital to upscale its operations. The ultimate goal for these entrepreneurs is to secure investment and transform their ventures into recognisable brands.

Bongo is soon to reveal a panel of local ‘Sharks’, representing diverse sectors and industries, with the announcement slated for a future date.

The directorial reins for ‘Shark Tank Bangladesh’ have been handed to Gazi Shubro. Additionally, Bongo is collaborating with SBK Tech Ventures, drawing upon their deep-rooted experience with investments and startups in the country, to enhance the show’s production quality.

Ahad Bhai, Bongo’s CEO shared, “We are a very entrepreneurial and resourceful country, and as a proud Bangladeshi I felt that this show is the perfect platform to combine entertainment with improving the lives of our people. We are very proud and excited to get this off the ground.”

Sami Ahmed, Managing Director of Startup Bangladesh stated, “Shark Tank Bangladesh is poised to make waves in our entrepreneurial landscape, and we’re thrilled to bring this global phenomenon to our country. This initiative aligns perfectly with Startup Bangladesh’s mission of fostering innovation, supporting startups, and creating opportunities for our talented entrepreneurs to shine on a global stage. We believe that Shark Tank Bangladesh will not only inspire but also empower our local innovators to take their ideas to the next level, ultimately contributing to the growth and prosperity of our nation.”

In a press handout, Shihab Ahmad, Chief Commercial Officer of Robi, echoed similar sentiments and emphasised Robi’s pride in partnering with Bongo to launch ‘Shark Tank’ in Bangladesh and hopes it will inspire the nation’s youth.

Aspiring participants can submit their applications through sharktank.bongobd.com or the myrobi app. Bongo will also be organising open auditions nationwide, with further details to be disclosed soon.

Source:https://www.thedailystar.net/tech-startup/news/shark-tank-comes-bangladesh-3441421

Startup Bangladesh Collaborates in SDG Localization Consultation and Field Engagement

Catalyzing Local Impact: Startup Bangladesh Collaborates in SDG Localization Consultation and Field Engagement for Sustainable Development in Dumuria Upazila, Khulna.

The General Economics Division (GED) of the Planning Commission under the Ministry of Planning organized the “SDG Localization Consultation Meeting” on September 18th in Dhaka, followed by a visit to Dumuria Upazila, Khulna, on 19th September to assess SDG progress and engage with local focal persons. GED stressed the importance of collaborative efforts among stakeholders for successful SDG localization. Startup Bangladesh participated in both events, bringing 10 startups to collaborate with Dumuria Upazila stakeholders and initiate pilot projects for business expansion.

Happy Birthday to The Honorable Prime Minister, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh H.E. Sheikh Hasina, MP

We wish you a very long and impactful life for many years to come !!