On April 17, 2021, BYLC Ventures hosted an episode of Startup Talks with Nirjhor Rahman, CEO of Bangladesh Angels, and Rahat Ahmed, CEO & founding partner of Anchorless Bangladesh. The Facebook live session was moderated by our board member, Farzana Kashfi. Outlined below are five takeaways for startup founders.
- You need experience, an idea that solves an existing problem, and a team you trust
“Experience is something we are seeing that is constantly missing and the ability to raise capital is something that can be super important. I think ultimately we can tell when a founder is coming to us because they ‘want to be a founder’ rather than they want to ‘solve a real problem.’ What is important to understand is that at the end of the day, the founding of a company is the easiest as it’s ever going to be and if founders’ heart is not in it, if this is not something they truly want to do, [then] when it gets hard, they’re going to buckle, and that’s going to make their investors, significant others, families, co-founders, and employees unhappy. And the product is not going to be good.” – Rahat Ahmed
An existing and lucrative problem can depend on demographics, lifestyles, or unprecedented events. Your startup idea should demonstrate the potential for rapid quantifiable growth to attract venture capitalists. A founding team needs domain-specific skills to work cross-functionally with strict deadlines because a dynamic and trustworthy team allows dialogue.
- Your idea must have the scope to raise capital internationally
Presently, local startups can only survive with international investment, and therefore it is important to demonstrate company growth in revenue and traction. According to Nirjhor Rahman, attractive local industries for startups seeking angel investment include healthcare, e-commerce, logistics, education, food, gaming, garments, and fintech among other products underpinned by technology.
- You need to engage with international stakeholders
Farzana Kashfi: “What is it that you look for in an entrepreneur when you are interacting with them and seeing their pitch for the first time?”
Nirjhor Rahman: “I think one of the questions we think about often is can we leave this founder in a room with one of our investors and walk out?”
Founders need to engage with international investors directly and network constructively with active members of the ecosystem. You can seek advice from investors regularly to obtain constructive feedback. If you use feedback to visibly improve your business model, it can help gain investment deals in the future.
- Communicate effectively and tell a convincing story to your audience
“I think every single kind of experience that I’ve seen in terms of angel investments in a company boils down to a group of angel investors falling in love with a founder or a founding team. And particularly, their story and why they’re doing what they’re doing.” – Rahat Ahmed
An idea can be shared when articulated with a captivating story. A meaningful story portrays a succinct message, displays how rapidly the company’s business model can change in the face of new challenges and showcases the potential for exponential growth. Good communication builds meaningful, lasting connections.
- Be resilient and adaptable
Founding a startup is a challenge that requires grit. A founder with a strong personality can adapt to the economic, political, and environmental turbulence in Bangladesh. According to Rahat, a startup can normally grow by 10-20% at least on a monthly basis. Given that startups have the potential to scale exponentially after the initial capital investment, practice overcoming extenuating circumstances by executing novel ideas well.
For founders who seek support beyond funding, BYLC Ventures is accepting applications for its third cohort. Apart from funding, we provide shared working space, networking opportunities, legal support, a virtual CFO, and mentorship for startups.
The deadline for applications for the third cohort is April 25, 2021.
Apply today: https://forms.gle/LeER73tNks9UWTyv5