After three frenzy eventful days, Dhaka’s startup enthusiasts wrap up the Startup Weekend event on May 20. From May 18, they have gathered at GP House, Bashundhara and the the venue was buzzing with more than 100 like-minded individuals and industry leaders who spent hours there to come up the next best ideas.
In case you are unfamiliar with the Startup Weekend concept – it is a global network of passionate entrepreneurs and leaders (www.startupweekend.org) aimed towards creating a highly motivating weekend filled with enthusiastic, smart and passionate people assembled under one roof with a single motive, i.e., to assist in creating or funding the next best startup.
The event was kick-started by Nikhil Jain, who came from India to facilitate the event, on Thursday May 18th. This Startup Weekend event delivered a larger than life experience, practical education for non-technical and technical entrepreneurs, focused primarily on action, innovation, and inspiration. The room has been buzzing with energy and positive vibes for the 3 days, ever since the registrations started on Thursday at 10:30 A.M. More than 40% of Startup Weekend attendees have a business background, 40% with a technical background while the rest 20% have a design/ creative background.
There were 94 pitches on Thursday morning, and then attendees have been asked to vote and choose the best startup idea(s) they would like to work upon this weekend. 16 final startup ideas had been shortlisted, and teams were formed to strategize and formulate a credible business model around those ideas and present their demos and make pitches to the panel of judges on Saturday evening. Teams brainstormed and worked till late evening and came back to action again next morning at 9am.
Seeing this incredible energy and enthusiasm in the crowd, it is fine to say that the startup community is getting stronger in Bangladesh. “Startup Weekend Dhaka has been a great success, with so many people joining in as participants, mentors and volunteers this weekend. We had several participants who travelled all the way from places like Barishal, Chittagong, Sylhet and Munshiganj. It’s our dream come true.” said Nahid Farzana, one of the event organizers of SW Dhaka. “We had participants as young as 15 years old and also had few NRB among us.”
“I am already super excited to be here to facilitate SW Dhaka and support the organizing team. The venue is buzzing with creative energy since Thursday morning. There is a strong positive and motivating aura in the hall as can be clearly seen in the teams of entrepreneurs, designers, technologists and fantastic industry artisans that have grouped together to create some mesmerizing plans for polishing and building upon the unique ideas that were unleashed yesterday,” said Nikhil Jain.
Friday was a big day for all the attendees here at SW Dhaka when participants went out for their idea and customer validation, that continuing through brainstorming, business plan development, and basic prototype creation. The teams validated their ideas further by contacting potential customers and validating the scalability of the project at hand. All teams received mentorship and coaching from industry leaders and receive valuable feedback from local startup entrepreneurs. Mentors and coaches have spent their time helping teams resolve mission-critical problems and adapt to rapid changes to improve their scalable ideas into plausible business models.
Finally Startup Weekend Dhaka culminated in Saturday night demos and presentations. Participants collaborated with like-minded individuals outside of their daily networks, created working startups, and showcased their prototypes to judges. Tanveer Ali from Inflection ventures, Shawkat Hossain from BD Venture, Farhana Islam from Grameenphone and Ahad Bhai from Razor Capital was present in the event as judges.
The top teams are LegalSheba, Kervatize and Garbageman. Each of the teams received prizes from Facebook. Not just the top team, but also rest of the participants are willing to continue on with their idea of startup.
White-Board was the Innovation Enabler of the event. Facebook was the Platinum Partner. Magnito Digital, Tripooly, Razor Capital and English Essence were the silver sponsors.