Everything that happened during the Startup Conference 2023
The startup ecosystem in Bangladesh has grown significantly, garnering FDI and developing into a powerhouse for innovation and entrepreneurship. With over 1,200 active startups and $800 million in FDI over the last five years, the nation thrives in industries including fintech, logistics, and mobility. Considering this, the Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS) recently organised the Startup Conference during its 4-day SoftExpo exhibition at the Big Tent, Bangabandhu Bangladesh-China Friendship Exhibition Center in Purbachal.
The Daily Star was the key partner to this event. "The Daily Star caters to different communities from the place of social commitments. Since 2015, we have been recognising the pioneers in the field of information technology through ICT Awards that we host with BASIS every year. We have partnered with BASIS Soft Expo 2023 this year to highlight the vital conversations in the startup space and to interact with the policymakers.", said Md Tajdin Hassan, Chief Business Officer of The Daily Star.
During the inauguration of the Startup Conference, Sami Ahmed, Managing Director of Startup Bangladesh Limited, mentioned that they are looking at four technology areas to invest in: Artificial Intelligence, Cybersecurity, Semiconductors and Robotics.
A brief presentation followed the inauguration declaration by Ivdad Ahmed Khan Mojlish, Co-Founder & Managing Director of Light castle partners. He spoke about the current situation of startups in Bangladesh and backed up the topics with facts and figures. He said that despite the global economic challenges, Bangladesh could be optimistic about its steady growth in the coming years.
Afterwards, a lively debate session on growth vs profitability in startups occurred between the founders of some well-known startups. Moderated by Shahriar Rahman, Editor, Toggle, and The Daily Star, the debate session featured two teams, each representing 'growth' and 'profitability' and their respective importance in the development of startups. The 'growth' team consisted of Waseem Alim, CEO and Founder of Chaldal and Sadia Hoque, Founder of ShareTrip. The 'profitability' team featured Fahim Mashroor, Founder of Bdjobs.com, and Biplob Ghosh Rahul, Founder & CEO of eCourier Ltd. The two teams addressed which aspect should garner the most attention from any rising startup founder - growth or profitability, and what comes first in a startup.
At the end of the debate, Rahat Ahmed, Founding Partner and CEO of Anchorless Bangladesh, entered the stage and spoke about the importance of raising funds for startups. This was followed by an energetic discussion moderated by Adnan Imtiaz Halim, Founder & CEO, of Sheba Platform Limited, as industry experts and seasoned investors, including Mirza Salman Hossain Beg, Co-Founder & COO of 10 Minute School, Fahim Ahmed, CEO, of Pathao, Ahmed Jawad Yusuf, Advisory Lead, Bangladesh Angels, and Mohammad Oli Ahad, Managing Director, Intelligent Machines Limited talked about how budding entrepreneurs can raise funds in both local and global settings.
The showstopper of the Startup Conference came in the form of Ashneer Grover, Founder of BharatPe, as he had an intriguing fireside chat with Ayman Sadiq, Founder of 10 Minute School. The popular Shark Tank investor said it's crucial to constantly innovate and be adaptable to stay ahead in the game.
The Conference ended with a closing speech by Russell T. Ahmed, President of BASIS. He thanked everyone for their active participation and believed that the youth of the country will play a key role in establishing Smart Bangladesh by 2041.