Chorki: A Search Engine For Bangladesh

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May 25, 2015

Google Search is awesome but team Chorki has an issue with it: it does not have much to offer to Bangladesh, about Bangladesh. A search engine is more than a technology, says Rashed Moslem of Chorki, it is psychology, culture and more and Google’s psychology, so far, does not include many things we need in Bangladesh. Google still can be the leading search platform, people can use it when they feel like but we need a search engine for Bangladesh that understands us and can offer solid results of things we want curated by deep understanding of our culture, psychology and more argues Rashed.

As of 2014 Google dominated global search market with 88.2% of market share. Future does not look much different. However, there are local search engines that are serving and surviving quite well in more than one country. For example, China has its own search engine, though China is an exception but it still makes sense. As of 2014 Baidu, Chinese language search engine, accounted for 83% market share in China search engine market.

Bangladesh is not China in many ways. We have a big market but not as big as that of China. Furthermore, Chinese regulations put local companies in much advantageous position over foreign companies, which is unlikely in Bangladesh.

[blockquote source="Rashed Moslem of Chorki"]A search engine is more than a technology. It is psychology, culture and more and Google’s psychology, so far, does not include many things we need in Bangladesh. Google still can be the leading search platform, people can use it when they feel like but we need a search engine for Bangladesh that understands us and can offer solid results of things we want curated by deep understanding of our culture, psychology and more[/blockquote]

But Rashed argues there are opportunities to explore in Bangladesh. To make things clear he explains: "you search anything in Google, most instances it will not show you search results particularly curated for Bangladesh, even Google does not have that many results that are relevant to us. Chorki will be able to fill up this void," claims Rashed. For instance, if you search pant in Google, you will get hundreds of results but probably not result of any Bangladesh shop or brand that sells pant, Rashed adds, but "Chorki will give you local results along with an option to buy from these brands."

chorki 02Backward Progress

Back in 2014 when team Chorki started talking about starting something of their own, all of the members were working for established big brands. "We’re working full time and every day after work we met together and sit and talk about what we could do. We wanted to start something that would contribute to something big and solve a solid problem," says Rashed. When you are working full time it is hard to find time, quality time especially, to discuss ideas and get things done. Same thing happened to Chorki team. To solve the problem they took an office and started to structure their idea.

"We first wanted to do something in ecommerce sector but not something like opening an ecommerce site," says Rashed, "we wanted to build something meaningful". "After much discussion we decided to build an ecommerce platform," which is Chorki e-shop now, and "wanted to build a search engine for it so that people can search within the platform," adds Rashed. But once the team showed their idea to few interested investors in Bangladesh and abroad they showed interest in search engine more than the platform. "We had to think again and again and we came to realize that there is a need for local search engine. That’s how Chorki came to be more of a Search engine than ecommerce platform," adds Rashed. But team Chorki did not give up their idea of becoming an ecommerce platform rather they tried and found a bridge to connect both.

Today Chorki wants take search to a level to become the search engine for Bangladesh. At the same time it wants to fix ecommerce sector as well. Chorki is working on an ecommerce platform called Chorki eshop that lets people to open free eshop like that of shopify. Ecommerce is going to be a big thing in Bangladesh but unfortunately majority of our ecommerce sites are of crappy designs and UI/UX, we want to change this. "Chorki eshops will offer clean, simple and easy to maintain ecommerce sites to users. We have big plans with eshops," says Rashed, and "you will see difference in our product."

chorki imageFuture Is A Long Walk

Once you listen to Rashed it sounds exciting. Team Chorki has many reasons to be hopeful. It has raised a decent amount of seed fund from a Malaysian VC firm; it has launched a Beta version that already received good feedback from market. However, it will take Chorki years to become what it wants to be. Rashed agrees. He said we know it will take time and as a product Chorki will evolve over the time. Indeed Chorki is evolving fast.

"At the beginning we wanted to be a search engine for businesses and ecommerce in Bangladesh so that people can easily find their intended products," says Rashed, but "over the time we realized Chorki has more to do". That’s how the idea of becoming a search engine of its own came to play. As of today Chorki did not announce itself as a search engine for Bangladesh rather a search engine for businesses and ecommerce but the team aims to become something more.

We’ll explore few more aspects of Chorki in the next articles.

Credit: Image by Chorki


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Ibrahim works as an Intern at FS. He takes interviews, writes features, and meets entrepreneurs and makers and doers.

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