Four-day Bootcamp for Bangladesh’s bright fintech innovators

 
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Answering critical business questions through sketching, prototyping and customer interaction were the key features of the ‘Bootcamp’ which took place from October 14 - 17, 2018 at BRAC CDM, Rajendrapur, Dhaka, Bangladesh. The intensive four-day program is the first phase of a new market actor engagement tool which has been launched by BFP-B’s Challenge Fund component in partnership with DFS Lab. In this blog post, Muhymin Chowdhury, Deputy Challenge Fund Manager talks more about the Bootcamp.

WHY THE BOOTCAMP?

Over the last three years, BFP-B has successfully triggered private sector investment in 26 initiatives. Our engagement with large companies shows that they are adept at project implementation and exceeding results (e.g. Bank Asia, Dutch Bangla Bank Limited), whereas the smaller companies in our portfolio who are implementing potentially transformational innovations are being required to polish their business plans frequently. Looking at this emerging pattern, BFP-B launched the Bootcamp tool which not only drives innovation but also has a strong focus on preparing companies for implementation challenges.

“Over the last two decades, Nathan Associates has been a trusted partner to development funders in managing challenge funds to seed innovative market-based solutions to development problems by catalysing the balance sheets and enterprise of the private sector. In this venture, we have butted heads with two big questions: 1) how can we better enter in to an investment that enhances the probability of projects succeeding, and 2) how can we better exit from an investment without undermining the growth potential of projects?  The need to answer these questions is becoming acute in the context of the rapid spread of digital technologies, the growth of start-ups as future drivers in the private sector, and traditional investors not fully geared to meet the needs of market disruptors. The Bootcamp is one part of the answer.”

- Feisal Hussain, Team Leader, BFP-B

 Bootcamp 2018 teams

Bootcamp 2018 teams

With the support of #DFID, #BFP-B is seeking to answer the “investment entry” question by taking start-ups through a highly structured process in a Bootcamp setting to intensely assess and mentor them in refining and preto-typing their business-plans, making them more robust and insulated against avoidable failure.

WHAT HAPPENED AND WHAT’S NEXT

After reviewing hours of five-minute video pitches, the BFP-B team invited 11 teams from 10 companies to participate in the Bootcamp. The teams were based at BRAC CDM Rajendrapur for four days and were introduced to the first of many suites of activities which will contribute to the development of strong business proposals.

Sprint Process

A methodology which enabled all teams to identify business model gaps, prototype and test solutions with customers without spending the hours and money needed to develop a real product.

Facilitation and mentorship

Each team had a dedicated facilitator either from BFP-B or DFS Lab who provided support for the Sprint activities. Additionally, teams received insights into their business models by engaging with a host of international and local mentors with background in payment systems, venture capital, mobile money, agent banking, agribusiness and more who were present during the week.

Going forward, BFP-B team and DFS Labs team will identify high performing teams from the Bootcamp and provide them with additional mentorship so that their ideas can be presented to BFP-B’s Challenge Fund investment committee for investment decision by November 2018.

KEY LEARNINGS FROM BOOTCAMP 2018

  Photo credit: Sam Brand, mentor

Photo credit: Sam Brand, mentor

Reflecting on the learning from the Bootcamp week, what was strongly validated was the need to incorporate such activities at the heart of any incubator or accelerator program. The week ensured strong momentum of thought behind solving real business problems without any distraction by the decision-makers of each team, and collecting feedback from real-life customers. From BFP-B’s side, we will not only focus more deeply on sourcing companies who will benefit from such a process, but also look to tailor the program to better fit the needs of participating companies. A big shout-out to the DFS Lab team for helping us start off this great piece of work.

Look out for Bootcamp 2.0 in 2019!

 
Challenge FundNasifa Sultan