How to start and build your Tech Startup in Dhaka?

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Feb 20, 2014

Dhaka has the real potential to become the next hub of Asia for all great businesses. And you should take the chance.

Starting any thing is often very tough. We can’t make our mind to take the leap. We often think too far ahead and always fall prey of that old question-‘what if’ i.e. what if I fail, what if things go wrong, what if nobody wants to work with me etc. Fear of failure, risk will always be there. You can’t completely live without fear but to make something great you have to work amidst of fear.

When we make up our mind for starting something then the question of ‘how’ comes in i.e. how to start, how to find co-founder, how to choose products and many more questions. These are very relevant questions but you can’t find answers for all these questions just by sitting idle and surfing internet. You have to walk the path. In this piece I will try to give some ideas on these two problems: how to overcome fear and how to start building your tech startup in Dhaka.

Go ahead

What I know about fear is that you have to live with it. So, press the button. Go ahead. We can’t conquer fear but we can ignore it and do the work, right?

Let’s start:

Find Inner Passion

Passion drives us. It makes our work easy and enjoyable. Find your passion and try to convert it into business. Here are few areas to start in:

  • Design
  • Programming
  • Retail
  • Mobile
  • Web

Pick your partner

Having co-founder is good for any startup. As wise man said-if you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together. Here is a simple guideline for finding partner:

  • Do you need a partner?
  • Understand Pros and cons of having a partner

While taking partner make sure what is his contribution. You can consider following factors as criteria for partner selection:

  • Investment
  • Complementary skills
  • Similar but not same mindsets
  • Commitment

Form A Company

You know what your passion is and you have partner as well. Now decide what kind of legal formation you want. If you are thinking of forming a company, ask:

Do I need to form a company?

  • Not really to pilot test / validation

If you want to go for forming a company below are few options you have:

Unlimited liability:

  • Proprietorship
  • Partnership ($)

Limited Liability

  • Private Limited ($$)
  • Public Limited ($$$)

Organizational structure

This often becomes a big hassle for startups. Avoid complexity and make things simple. Here are few ideas:

Divide in 2/3 layers:

  • Owners / shareholders
  • Board of Directors (accountable to shareholders)
  • Employees (salary and accountable to CEO)

More on what to start with: In previous section we have seen few areas to start with. Now you know your passion and you have partner and you have already made decision about your organization formation and structure. Now, what you want to sell. Below is a list of few ideas:

Service or product: What do you want to sell, service or product? Before going for a quick fix think and talk and then decide. Here is a list of simple pros and cons for both sides:

Service: You have following issues with service business:

  • Quick revenue
  • Flat margin
  • No IP, not technical asset, little valuation

Product: You get following issues with product:

  • Takes time to go green (break even)
  • Margin increases at days go by
  • A lot of activities other than technology

Ideas for a Service based startup:

  • Web: php, RoR, Python, .NET
  • Mobile: Android, iOS, Windows
  • Enterprise: java, .NET
  • UI/UX
  • Emerging areas: big data, no sql, RFID

Market Focus: Local | international | both?

Ideas for product based startup:

For international market

  • Theme (joomshaper), plugin (prestaworld)
  • Full fledged SaaS product: Oployee, Newscred

For local market

  • Ecommerce (akhoni, ajkerdeal, goponjinish.com, rokomari)
  • Enterprise solutions: financial (Leads), ERP (RSL)
  • SaaS: bdjobs, bdipo

Tips: How to take it to the next level?

Starting is hard but making a startup successful is way harder. Here are few tips to take your startup to next level. Focus in:

  • HR: people make all the difference. Work with best people.
  • Customer satisfaction over revenue: If people come to you and love your brand money will follow.
  • Acquisition
  • Employee branding
  • Be truthful about your ability and limitations
  • Learn, do, share, iterate
  • Be human being

Happy building :)

Image: Brain Tracy 


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Shaer Hassan is the CEO of Nascenia. Before starting his journey in the world of entrepreneurship he worked in Code71, a USA based software company. Prior to that he worked in various leadership roles in the marketing and advertising such as in Grameenphone -- the #1 telecommunication operator in Bangladesh and in Interspeed Advertising, the associate of Ogilvy & Mather. He did his MBA from IBA, University of Dhaka.

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4 comments on “How to start and build your Tech Startup in Dhaka?”

  1. Have to add something here: discipline plays a major role in the outcome of a startup's lifespan. It's almost as if I am raising a child. There is no ideal time to have one, so the main challenge is to decide, even though information at hand may be incomplete.

    What you say about 'thinking about and and surfing the web' is basically a 'security blanket' for the mind to prevent it from taking action. Knowing is not enough; you have to act on it, for it actually tests the knowledge against the fabric and uncertainties of reality.

    Overall, great article on the technicalities and steps.

    Hope that helps.

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