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Dear Central Asia Startup Letter

Updated: Jul 24, 2020

Dear Central Asia startups,

We at TUZ see how you are striving to achieve your goals by displaying creativity, versatility, and endurance. Lack of funding, support, or infrastructure doesn’t deter you - quite the opposite: you remain a determined dreamer in or around Nur-Sultan, Tashkent, Bishkek, Ulaanbaatar, Dushanbe, even in Ashgabat and Kabul. Hats off!

You have opened up to us, which has allowed us to get to know you better. We would like to reciprocate your hospitality and kindness. The best way we can do so as VC is by helping you become aware of and avoid typical roadblocks that make even the most promising startup fail. 

To that effect, we would like to offer to 15 of you a 20 mn lab assistance each. Just send your documents on 28 July before 18h Kyrgyzstan time, using this link, and addressing 3 specific questions/issues you are facing. This is on a first-come-first-served basis. We will announce the 15 guests shortly after.

In the meantime, we would like to encourage you to think about the typical traps and obstacles startups face. Before reading further, try for 20 seconds listing reasons why a startup will go under. When done, now consider the below issues and compare with your list:

The Bad ones:

Bad model, management, market fit, marketing, timing

The Lacks:

Lack of funds, finance, data, experience, basic marketing/KPI, focus, vision

The Legal & Regulatory challenges:

Intellectual property (infringement), fund mismanagement, founders infighting, corruption, racketeering tactics, weak reporting, licenses issues, expropriation, overly regulated markets, monopolistic forces.

The Poor investor relations:

Inexperienced and/or demotivated investors, sole proprietorship mentality, controlling or opaque founders, ownership issues

The Infrastructure, HR and Education headaches:

Connectivity, telecom pricing, software acquisition, human capital shortages, technical skills, engineers availability

The Product/Service & competitivity:

Poor or inexistent competition assessment, me-too mentality

The presumptuous ones:

“False uniqueness” effect, mistaking customer validation for market validation, unrealistic projections, unrealistic valuation

The Miscellaneous ones:

Dependence on others, acquisition flu, failure to pivot.

Where are you now vis-à-vis these typical challenges? Are you simultaneously facing any of these? If so, then please be aware that great institutions and leaders in both public and private sectors provide assistance across the region (this will be a topic of another article).

Again, thanks for the hospitality and let’s make it happen together!

TUZ team

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