Three-day-long workshop for local startups by Selise ends

A total of three startups have been chosen to pitch in front of potential investors for securing a minimum of $15,000 in seed funding.

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A total of three startups- Dhaka Doctor, Vertical Innovations Ltd and Shafa Care have been chosen amongst eight startups to pitch in front of potential investors for securing a minimum of $15,000 in seed funding.

Simcubator is a business incubation program which is sponsored by the University of St Gallen and Selise for fostering local healthcare and education startups in Bangladesh.

The three teams were selected to participate in a mentorship program funded by the University of St Gallen and will be paired with mentors fit for their business needs and guide them towards the pitch day in April this year.

On pitch day, one of the teams will get the chance to secure funding from investors and win a minimum grant of $15,000 from Simcubator.

Speaking on the topic of aiding Simcubator in hosting its second boot camp in Bangladesh, CEO of Selise, Julian Weber said: “It is a privilege for us to be working with the Simcubator team from the University of St Gallen for this year’s incubator program, focusing on health tech startups of Bangladesh. Thanks to our amazing partners Bangladesh Angels, Moar, HP and Nestle, we were able to conduct a successful boot camp event focusing on eight promising startups.”

“I believe the healthcare industry in Bangladesh is the next frontier for digital disruption. Investment in terms of capital, talent and entrepreneurship into this next generation of healthcare services will build the foundation for Bangladesh’s future as a middle-income economy,” Julian further said.

According to him, the Bangladesh start-up market has matured significantly since its inception over a decade ago, following the advent of the pandemic and two 'hype-cycles’.

“Over the last decade we saw the inception of startups such as Hungrynaki, and the first round of hype or sector growth as more players like Pathao, Bkash, as well as global players started coming in. But then there was a sharp decline,” Julian told Dhaka Tribune.

“Following the pandemic, the sector started exhibiting more potential as there was a massive shift in a trend that led to the second round of hype, but it also started to decline rapidly as unsustainable business models like that of Evaly, Shohoz came to light,” Julian added.

However, good start-ups with sustainable business models thrived even after the decline in hype-cycles which speaks for the potential of the local start-ups.

Commenting on the startup scene of the country, Business analyst of BAN, Walee Abedin said: “The potential for startups in Bangladesh is immense. With fast-growing middle and affluent consumers and the existence of numerous highly fragmented multi-billion-dollar industries, there is a lot of scope for disruption. However, despite so much potential, the amount of local (individual and institutional), as well as foreign investments being made into Bangladeshi startups, is quite low compared to other regional comparatives such as India and Indonesia.” 

“With proper guidance, sufficient financial backing and active involvement of key stakeholders, the level of growth and success that can be achieved by Bangladeshi startups is limitless,” he added.

The event, which kicked off on Friday, was held at Moar Gulshan Link in partnership with HP, Bangladesh Angels, and Nestle.

The first day of the workshop “Simcubator Bootcamp 2022” was marked by speeches, lectures, and keynotes presented by renowned local and international speakers using a hybrid format of on-premise and online presence. 

After an initial introduction session by the Simcubator team, Founder of CMED, Khondaker Mamun, PhD, started the day with his keynote address “Mission/Vision and Values”, which offered participants a thematic focus on social impact-driven entrepreneurship.

The first day also featured lectures from a professor of Entrepreneurship and Director of the Institute of Technology Management at the University of St Gallen, Prof Dietmar Grichnik (Business Model Canvas/Startup Navigator) and founder and CEO of Psycure, Murad Ansary (Success Story). 

The day ended with a keynote speech focusing on funding strategy and utilizing funds effectively by Nirjhor Rahman, the CEO and founder of Bangladesh Angels. 

Alongside a mix of keynotes and lectures on startup essentials given by distinguished speakers, the program also saw the teams working on elevator pitches to showcase different aspects of their startups, which are aimed towards empowering the local educational and healthcare sectors.

The second and third days were followed with more lectures and keynote sessions which included international speakers such as founders of adOpes Limited Kenya, Veronique Su and Harisson Wambu (Measuring and Monitoring Impact), co-founder and CEO of brain+, Kim Baden Kristensen (Healthcare Startup Story), and Prof Simon Pfister from the University of St Gallen. 

Influential figures in the local startup scene, including founder and CEO of iFarmer, Fahad Ifaz and co-founder and CEO of Renssoft (doctorkoi), Sadman Adib, spoke on the topics of ‘go-to-market strategy’ for aspiring startups and Customer Acquisition and Measuring Customer Success, respectively. 

Alongside participating in the lectures and sessions, the teams also continued working on their elevator pitches. 

A jury board from the University of St Gallen and Selise gave their final verdict for choosing the top three teams on the third day. 

The initial participating teams were Konna, ToguMogu, Vertical Innovations, Shafa Care, Medifix, Dhaka Doctor, ParentsCare, and Dhaka Cast, which were selected from a pool of over 50 applicants to participate in the program.

The three-day long workshop ended on February 13.

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