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BYLC Ventures holds its largest virtual bootcamp to date for its 3rd cohort

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What is demanded from a founder to truly succeed in the fast-evolving startup ecosystem? Does the responsibility of a founder only constitute effective leadership, or does it demand a deeper blend of other values like perseverance, grit, adaptability, dedication, empathy, a strong value system, credibility, and relevant experience? How important are the characteristics of a founding team to succeed and what are the challenges a founder should acknowledge before scaling their venture?

These, along with important tools and frameworks for constructing a world-class pitch deck and the techniques for delivering a fantastic elevator pitch to attract investment were the major learning objectives for the BYLC Ventures: Cohort 3 Bootcamp. 

BYLC Ventures held a six-day-long virtual bootcamp with more than 200 founders from 105 selected startups from May 4-9, 2021. From 105 startups, the top 30 will be selected to go forward in the final round. From the final group of 30 startups,  the jury will select 5 startups who will receive seed funding of  BDT 800,000 with the option of an additional BDT 1,500,000 as scale-up funding. The start-ups will also gain access to a world-class business accelerator program, in-house mentoring and networking support, legal and virtual CFO support, as well as a co-working space in BYLC’s Mohakhali office. These chosen start-ups will also receive rigorous leadership training.

The intensive and interactive bootcamp sessions covered various aspects of developing a start-up idea – from identifying a real problem in society, refining the start-up’s solution for the problem, to making an understanding of the customer persona and demographics of whom to offer the solution. Sessions also enlightened the diverse audience of Bangladesh-based founders on the art of storytelling for business, developing a go-to-market strategy, preparing and presenting accurate financial data and forecasts, the local legal and regulatory infrastructures to navigate, and effective methods for user research and customer feedback. The sessions were supplemented with workshops where founders worked with the facilitators to iterate their business model and develop their pitch decks. 

The bootcamp was co-facilitated by BYLC Ventures’ success partner, BetterStories Limited, alongside Shadman Rahman, Senior Product Manager – Exploration Portfolio, Innovation, Digital & Strategy, Grameenphone Limited; Ejaj Ahmad, Founder and President, BYLC; and Barisha Rabbe, Manager, BYLC Ventures. 

Boosting emotional well-being in remote work and study set-ups

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It has been over a year since the pandemic took over and disrupted our daily lives. Since then, we have experienced a sharp decline in mental health worldwide, especially among young people. 

The good news is that there are ways to help ourselves feel a little better. Here are some habits for boosting emotional well-being that can help individuals cope with their mental health in better ways.

  1. Maintaining a regular schedule:

Adapting your daily schedule from pre-covid times can create a sense of normalcy. When you outline your tasks, define the goals you want to achieve at the end of the day, and consciously set aside smaller and longer breaks to recuperate during your workday, you will feel less overwhelmed and more in control. 

You willl notice that the daily routines of successful people have ample amounts of time set aside for work and play- and they stick to it. Outside of fixed hours for work and study, you can also set aside some time to spend with people you care about and who in turn give you positive energy. Evenings are the best time to follow your self-care routine, while mornings are great for a quick stretch or run.

  1. Consuming media mindfully:

Continuous exposure to news, social media, and other forms of media exposes you to a plethora of opinions placed between facts and very controlled snippets of the lives of others, all dressed with a generous helping of dopamine when consumed addictively. 

Your media consumption habits are a critical influence on the perceptions you hold of social reality and mental health. It is therefore important to access reliable sources for your information and news. Credible news channels to stay connected include The Daily Star and Dhaka Tribune. 

You can minimize the risk of social media addiction by striking a balance and re-establishing its purpose – to stay connected with the people you care about and engage with the communities you want to be a part of. Social media channels such as Instagram and Facebook, messaging apps like WhatsApp, workplace apps like Slack, and video call apps like Zoom and Skype can all be used mindfully to keep in touch with collaborators, colleagues, friends, and family.

  1. Getting some physical activity:

No one is recommending you to run 400 meters every day – unless your body can handle the strain. Instead, you can set aside 30 minutes of your day for a long walk, some aerobic exercise, yoga, and stretches according to your own needs. This does not mean you need to head to the gym right away! Instead, you can access workout routines from fitness experts in bitesize videos on YouTube to develop your home workout routine. As long as you can get your heart beating every day, it will help reduce feelings of anxiety and stress. 

  1. Doing a task that you enjoy, for yourself:

Whether it is an art and craft project you’ve laid off for a while, a cake that you never got around to baking, a game you wanted to play with your friends, yoga, community service, journaling, or a children’s book you want to re-read, set aside some time to do what will bring you joy and contribute to your well-being.

Work, studies, and self-development for our careers are only one aspect of our multifaceted lives. To perform well and reap benefits from opportunities, it is important to first focus on how we are doing. 

To learn more about ways to improve your emotional well-being in your everyday life, you can take our certified courses in Emotional Intelligence and Overcoming Procrastination: Tools and Tactics, available online for free. 

Parenting amidst the pandemic

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Before the pandemic, all of us lived our simple lives, hustling through the day while the little ones stayed busy with their fun social activities at school. These social activities such as outdoor games, group art projects, and school dramas played an integral role in developing  children’s social and communication skills. They supported their healthy psychological development by generating positive social experiences and sometimes even useful learnings from the not so positive experiences. They nurtured children’s creative outlook on life.

Unfortunately during the pandemic, this creative environment has suddenly transitioned into an obscure gloom, stripping all the vibrant colors from our lives and throwing us into dark ends. Suddenly, kids exploring the world through rose-tinted glasses have been drenched wet with the dark murky harshness of our current reality.

The lockdown has submerged us into incessant uncertainty and obscurity. It has not only changed our daily routine but has also aggravated mental health issues such as stress, anxiety, and depression. Just like us, our little ones are going through a difficult time at this moment.

Discussed below are four possible ways we can help our little ones in this difficult time:

Be honest about the pandemic

Make sure your kids clearly understand the situation. Information should not be hidden or distorted while making your kids aware of the situation outside. Educate them about the necessary precautions and the negative consequences if not followed properly.

Acknowledge their feelings

In this difficult time, your child might feel sad and sometimes anxious. In circumstances like these, you can encourage discussions acknowledging their emotions and try redirecting them to more positive or productive directions. You can encourage them to brush up on their creative and social skills, and perhaps acquire new ones in the lockdown.

Follow a routine

A little bit of structure in your little one’s lives can go a long way in terms of ensuring a balance in their lives during lockdown. For example, kids can go to bed and wake up at a fixed time. Again, having meals regularly at specific times or going for pre-planned study sessions in a dedicated set-up can help them cope with this new normal.

Have fun indoors

Arranging family games and movie nights can help to ease the stress of your kids. Also, planning cultural nights and even recalling old memories in a group discussion will improve their mood.

5 tips from experts for Bangladesh-based startups seeking investment

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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.

  1. 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. 

  1. 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. 

  1. 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. 

  1. 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. 

  1. 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:

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