Batch Five of GP Accelerator graduates through a pitch night at GP House in Dhaka, Bangladesh on 17th September 2018 in presence of local and international investors. The event has been attended by Hasanul Haq Inu, Minister of Information in Bangladesh, as the chief guest.
Speaking on the occasion the minister congratulated Grameenphone for creating this platform for young minds in Bangladesh to create solutions the country needs using technology. “This supports the Digital Bangladesh vision of our Government and I am so excited to learn today from the graduates of GP Accelerator that they are solving some of the most pressing needs of the country such as finding parking on the go,” he added.
Commenting on the development of the GPA program over the last three years and the increasingly stronger quality of the startups that are participating, Grameenphone CEO Michael Foley said that the platform has been successful in “creating a very strong local startup ecosystem in Bangladesh and has quickly evolved into one of the most coveted startup mentorship programs in the country.”
Bangladesh has been under the spotlight so many times in the last few years for the amazing success of the startups and tech industry. Quite of a lot of startups have expanded globally and a few were able to get huge foreign investment. A lot of these startups who are taking Bangladesh to the forefront of innovation are participants and alumni of GP Accelerator.
Grameenphone Head of Digital, Solaiman Alam talked about Grameenphone’s vision of innovation and said, “the visions of Grameenphone Accelerator and Grameenphone are aligned, we are here to empower young people to go beyond the boundaries: social, economic and geographic.”
GP Accelerator is an innovation platform that offers a 4-month curriculum-based mentorship program with several international and local mentors. The selected startups each receive USD15,000 as seed funding against 8% in equity. Additionally, the startups get around USD 11,200 worth of Amazon Web Service credit (AWS), and office space in GP House.
Throughout the 4-month program, teams get the opportunity to learn from local and foreign mentors, industry experts and professionals on critical development elements like term sheet, valuation, financial modeling, and branding. On top of that, the platform also helps connect the startups with potential investors to accelerate their business. The total value of all the support provided to each team is approximately BDT 65 lacs and on average, the startups have been able to increase their valuation by 4 times over just six months since they join the program.
Speaking about how GP Accelerator is creating value in the startup ecosystem of the country, Minhaz Anwar who heads the accelerator program and Grameenphone’s Head of StartUp Ecosystem said, “If you are looking to invest in Bangladeshi startups look no further, ours are the most investible bunch in the country. We have done that through being extremely selective in our recruitment process for the cohorts, by collecting the very best set of local and regional mentors for the startups and pushing the founders very hard to go to market quickly and firmly”.
Since the program started it has accelerated 26 startups, out of which 20 startups graduated successfully. GP Accelerator has become the benchmark for the startup ecosystem in Bangladesh in this short span of time. Over 1000 applications were received for batch 5 of the program, where the program after rigorous processing selected the best 5.
After 4 months of thorough mentorship and KPI session, 4 startups successfully graduated from the 5th batch of the program. These startups are working with some critical problems in the country and some of them has the highest potential to expand globally.
Mustafizur Rahman Khan, CEO of Startup Dhaka and the operating partner of the accelerator program shared his delight about the growth and success of the graduated startups.
Working in a variety of domain and industry, these 4 startups effectively advanced their startups towards growth, solving critical problems that the mass people face in their daily life:
Search English is a platform for common people to develop their English proficiency by overcoming the fear and shame. With the slogan, “Learn English to Change life”, it helps over 1.5 million people to improve their English online. Within a course of one year, Search English already has 1000+ success stories.
Parking Koi, through its parking sharing platform, helps the drivers to find the nearest available parking spaces using Parking Koi app. At the same time, it also creates an alternative earning source for the owners of the underutilized parking spaces.
cWork is a micro job platform where an employer can get any big task done right away. cWork divides the task into smaller pieces and distributes it among a selected pool of distributors. Thousands of verified contributors complete the task on the go and submit it online. cWork ensures the quality of the task using Artificial Intelligence and forwards it to the employer.
OnuKit is one of the most unique startups of GP Accelerator Batch 5. It’s a revolutionary app that helps SMEs to execute everyday business communication efficiently. Just installing the OnuKit app, a business owner can keep a track of business performance.