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How to find co-founders for your tech startup

Startups are the talk of the town at the moment. With the growing economy in Bangladesh, the scenario is very opportune for entrepreneurial minds.

However, we tend to focus on the projects that succeed as examples of startups. And as a result, many projects that fail miss our attention. And this deprives us of learning the possible drawbacks in a startup project; principal among which is a lack of suitable partners and co-founders.

A startup, especially one related to technology, requires all hands on board. And many hands at that. You’re going to need a combination of people equipped with a variety of skills. Let’s take a look at how (and whom) to assemble.

Us and them

Firstly, a business idea can feel lucrative to like-minded people. This is usually a good thing, but can also be quite the opposite. While choosing a co-founder for any startup, one should involve individuals with complementary characteristics and interests. Too many of a kind might leave weaknesses elsewhere.

Before looking for people to bring onboard, analyze what you bring to the table.

For tech startups, it is necessary to have people on board with necessary, relevant technological know-how. Since startups are heavily dependent on initial investment and funding, people with said faculties are an advantage. Startups are usually time and effort consuming; so your partners need to be okay with both. Most of all, you must only involve people who are trustworthy. It is what it is.

Where to look

It’s important to be very specific while looking for personnel. If you need an experienced, professional individual who can take care of the technological side of things, specify a position such as the CTO and the responsibilities and requirements involved.

The first place one should look is one’s own personal network. There are many ready, able and willing individuals looking for the right project; and they might be closer than you think. Look for referrals to individuals within your own social groups and discuss the prospects of the project with them.

There are several virtual meeting places for individuals to link up and go for entrepreneurial projects. COFoundersLab, Founders Nation, YouNoodle are among the most reputable. The advantage of these mediums is that you can assess qualifications and match up to requirements to individuals in a specific and fast-paced manner.

In addition, look at job listing boards and local university seminars. These places are often frequented by interested individuals who might find your prospects exciting.

In Closing

It’s important to have specific goals and matrices for your project in place. It helps determine the parameters of founder duties. It also helps communicate the fact that you are seriously invested in your project. This might positively affect the recruitment process. Lastly, it is of paramount weight to take your time with this. A startup can be a very delicate project and might be what you end up doing for the rest of your life. So take care in picking whomever you do it with.

Top 5 reasons why startups fail in Bangladesh

A startup can be undoubtedly called the buzzword of the century. People have started to believe in the thought that building your own startup is their only possible way of becoming a billionaire. However, not all startups succeed like Facebook, Amazon, Snapchat etc. Here are the top 5 reasons why most deshi startups fail.

Not having a proper business model

Top 5 reasons why startups fail in Bangladesh

Having a well-analyzed business plan is the first and foremost thing a startup should have. The business model should include why they are building their startup, what is the product and how they are going to sell and reach to the people. The business model should have a proper revenue model and also how they are implementing the supply chain. 

At times founders assume that because they will build such an interesting web site, product, or service,  customers will beat a path to their door. That may happen with the first few customers, but after that, it rapidly becomes an expensive task to attract and win customers, and in many cases, the cost of acquiring the customer (CAC) is actually higher than the lifetime value of that customer (LTV).

Not understanding your customers

Top 5 reasons why startups fail in Bangladesh

Market research is a crucial thing in building a startup. As a founder, you might think, “I have an idea of a wonderful product, this should work.”

But in reality, not every product will suit everyone.

You have a great concept of starting a service that will allow car owners to rent their cars when they’re not being used. Sure, it may work wonders in the USA. But will it work in Bangladesh?

Without doing proper market research, you may never know whether people would actually pay for the product. It is a futile project to build a product that nobody wants.

Not marketing the product the right way

Top 5 reasons why startups fail in Bangladesh

Marketing your product is the only comprehensive way to make your products known to potential customers. You might have a great product, an amazing team behind it and a product that cater to the right customer group. But without a proper marketing channel, your product will fail to reach your customer. Hire the right marketing team or outsource it to the right agency. Hire consultants who can tell you the best way to market your product. Every little detail is crucial.

Not having a proper team

Many experts consider the startup team is the most crucial part of a startup. If the team members don’t have proper understanding amongst each other, they will not be work with each other for long.

Pathao had been successful because the team members had an amazing sense of understanding amongst each other, which dates over 10 years.

Not being able to adapt

Top 5 reasons why startups fail in Bangladesh

Eric Ries model of Lean Startup is very popular amongst startup founders, which states the importance of having a minimum viable product. But a core concept they miss is that building the minimum viable product is not everything, they need to adapt it with time.

You might have a great concept and you’re ready to jump ship. But in this mercurial market, if you don’t make necessary adaptations, your startup is bound to fail. 

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11 co-working spaces in Dhaka

Co-working spaces are now an option considered by many entrepreneurs and businesses. For many, it is a great way to cut costs and avoid the hassle of renting a full office. Buying furniture, decorating, hiring support staff can become expensive for a startup. Many startups just need a desk and some wifi for their operations; small teams need affordable spaces with a meeting room.

Some freelancers, designers or members of remote teams want to leave the isolation of home offices, but avoid the distraction of cafes. Shared offices also give the opportunity for many to network, to share resources and contacts. 

How to decide on a space?

Location: Take into account the reality of Dhaka traffic, and consider the location when picking a co-working space. Proximity to home can save you many productive hours wasted on the road. 

Cost: Cost is a huge factor, compare different packages before deciding. Packages include space for daily, weekly, hourly, monthly use. Most co-working spaces in Dhaka offer Wi-Fi, air-conditioning, emergency backup power, an in-house multimedia system, office equipment, and kitchen facilities. The spaces significantly vary in price which affects the quality of each of these facilities.  

Does your business need a place to meet for weekly meetings? Will a desk in an open office be sufficient, or do you need to make a lot of phone calls, so a more private room is a priority? 

Decide which features are important to you and are essential for your work–do you need a projector, a studio or a training area? Make sure you choose spaces accordingly. When you decide on a package that is best suited for you, make sure you understand what exactly is included in it.  

Work Environment: Another essential part of work-life is the environment. In your first visit, check for the behaviour of the staff and of others who will share the space. You want to decide on a place where you can work comfortably and effectively. If your budget allows, look for places that are spacious, clean and well lit for maximum ease and therefore, maximum productivity.

Co+Lab Dhaka, Baridhara

Moar, Banani 11 & Dhanmondi 27

  • Address 1: Ventura Iconia, Level 3, H. 37, Road 11, Block H Banani, Dhaka, Bangladesh, +880 1733 711 297,
  • Address 2: Moar Dhanmondi 27, MIDAS Center, Level 3 Holding 05, Road 16 (New, Dhaka 1209, Bangladesh)
  • Phone: +880 1714-116110
  • e-Mail: [email protected]
  • Website: http://www.moarbd.com

Bonik coworking, Badda

  • Address: Arma Majeda Malik Tower, House No# 215 (3rd floor), Merul Badda Bir Uttam Rafiqul Islam Ave, Dhaka -1212.
  • Phone: 01811480832
  • Email: [email protected]

Shuru Campus, Badda

Regus, Crystal Palace Gulshan and UTC Centre, Panthapath

  • Address 1: Crystal Palace, Gulshan 2, Dhaka
  • Address 2: UTC Centre, Panthapath, Dhaka
  • Phone: 09611886795
  • regus.com.bd

The Business Center, Gulshan 1

Locus BD, Banani 11

  • Address: Tower 52, Level 6, Road 11, Banani, Block C (8,672.10 mi) Dhaka, Bangladesh 1213
  • Phone: +880 1701-005480
  • Website: www.locusbd.com

Hubdhaka, Mirpur 11

  • Address: Building #7, Road #3, Section #7, Mirpur 11, Dhaka 1216 close to the Dhaka Zoo.
  • Website: http://www.hubdhaka.com/

Open Co-working, Bashundhara

  • Address: Advance Glory, 2nd Floor (South Side), Plot-15, Block-A, Bashundhara Main Road, Bashundhara R/Dhaka, Bangladesh 1229
  • +880 1716-873660
  • www.workatopen.com

JMC Shared Office, Banani 11

Toru Chayya, Banani 11

13 Co-Working Spaces in Dhaka 6

Toru Institute of Innovation has opened up their space for co-working.
Location: House-2 Road-4 Block-F, Banani 11 Dhaka, 1213
Contact [email protected] for more details!

Sure-fire ways of getting an ICT loan in Bangladesh

Bangladesh is recognized as the third-largest population to outsource their resources through the internet and mainly through freelancing. However, when it comes to start-ups, many struggle to gain a firm foothold. By the entry of 3G internet in 2013, usage has boosted over 22% by the end of 2014.

Needless to say, the government has been taking steps to realize the dreams of a Digitalized Bangladesh; and have introduced multiple ways to broaden the field of entrepreneurship in multiple sectors alongside including ICT over the years. Along with the Government, private organizations have started offering loans and grants to realize the potential of these budding ventures. 

Here are some ways of getting a loan for an ICT organization or start-ups:

StartUp Bangladesh

The Government has taken the initiative to make an Eco-system where entrepreneurship can be nourished to realize their full potential. This effort will allow the country to innovate at a much faster rate. And enhance the ability to create new jobs and to develop technical skill; all leading to realize the vision of Digital Bangladesh.  

In support of these objectives, the government has created a fund under iDEA project. The Investment will provide all the necessary capital to pick up the pace in development and achieve success in the planned businesses and the process remains transparent, impartial and accountable.

Criteria for Application: 

The criteria to receive any loans or investment grants from StartUp Bangladesh are divided into the following categories:

  • IDEA SUPPORT – This requires a feasible business plan and an executable business plan.
  • VENTURE CAPITAL –
  • Seed stage: Requires prototype of a business model and plan.
  • Growth stage: Requires a viable product and an existing customer base.
  • Guided start-up: Requires a start-up idea under national interest.
  • TARGETED INVESTMENTS – This fund may take part as a collaboration under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model or other entities that seem fit for this investment module that includes training up facilities.
  • STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP – This fund may take part in partnerships with local or international institutes to acquire the desired requirement for entrepreneurship development.
  • CO-INVESTMENTS – This fund may enter with other venture capital funds or funding entities that will help the development while sharing risk factors for the business, usually for larger investments.

Any application submitted is reviewed by a board of committee members who rank the top in the ICT industry and the procedures are then followed through step by step accordingly, all of which is listed in the official website of StartUp Bangladesh.

Bangladesh Bank 

The government has been taking steps to prioritize the roles of entrepreneurship in Bangladesh towards the ICT sector and has introduced the ESF (Entrepreneurship Support Fund) for multiple sectors in the country.

Included are ICT and the Agricultural sector while the previous EEF loan system that contained zero interest is abolished. However, this seemed unfruitful as most clients had failed to meet the expected outcomes. The ESF has a four-year grace period set, after which clients will have to pay 25% principle amount and interest every year. Which is a different approach from the previous EED loans. Clients themselves have to provide 51% as the impartiality of the project cost and invest it within one year after securing the approval from the Investment Corporation of Bangladesh (ICB).

Criteria for Application: 

  • ICT business model which needs to be feasible.
  • Cannot take any other loans for the project while in this program.
  • Needs authentication from clients – cannot be a defaulter from any banks in Bangladesh.

IDLC Finance Limited

A program launched in 2015 for financing for ICT entrepreneurs. It offers tailored solutions to boost businesses for their clients. The program “IDLC Udbhabon Loan” is in association with BASIS organization. However, it is not only financial services for ICT companies; but will also refer to corporate clients to BASIS if software purchases are required. And the customers will receive special discounts in this manner.

Criteria for Application:

To check for eligibility for the “IDLC Udbhabon Loan”; clients need to be 20 to 60 years of age. And the business applied for needs to be in two years of operation. However, the time of operation is halved for female entrepreneurs. After application, IDLC will reach out if the criteria’s are met and it is something they look forward towards investing.