Face To Face With Zahidul Amin, CEO And CO-Founder of Chorki.com

Face To Face With Zahidul Amin, CEO And CO-Founder of Chorki.com

Zahidul Amin is the CEO of Chorki, a recently launched local search engine. Since its start early this year, Chorki has been doing great work and launched multiple products. Recently, we took time to sit with Mr. Zahid to know more about Chorki and dig deep into the present and the future of a local search engine.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your passion. 
I am an engineer. I have completed my graduation in Computer Science from Sahjalal University of Science and Technology. From my childhood I wanted to be a student of Dr. Muhammed Zafar Iqbal Sir. Later that I managed myself to get into SUST made me realize that if you chase your dream with passion and hard work you can achieve it.

All my dreams and thoughts started to get shape during my SUST life. I was and am immensely inspired by my teachers. There was an ideological aspect in all of this. My teachers always told me that you are studying with the help of government and people, so do something for these people and give back. No matter what never stop chasing your dream and never stop your good work.

Another source of inspiration was my department, where I have learned how to do something new and innovative. I can clearly remember my teachers inspiring us to participate in various social clubs and extra curriculum activities beside study to work for society and mankind: like helping in poor children education, blood donating, or theater or performing sports together.

Later on, I come to realize the importance of team when it comes to bring something innovative to life. I mean you can comeup with idea but you have to work as a team to make that idea successful.

I started working right after my graduation. I worked for ten years in this industry. I worked as a CTO of a social enterprise called Dnet. My inspiration for starting Chorki came when I was working at Dnet. If you want to do something big which will create impact on your society, you cannot do it by yourself alone, you have to do it together as a team that will create a ripple effect and do some good.

Chorki is a search engine for Bangladeshi local content. You can search anything in Bangla and get immediate result. We are trying to make search more locally oriented and culturally accessible.

chorki 02

Chorki | Click on image for more

What is chorki? How did Chorki come to exist?
Chorki is a search engine for Bangladeshi local content. You can search anything in Bangla and get immediate result. We are trying to make search more locally oriented and culturally accessible. Chorki search is fundamentally different from Google or other search engines in more than one way.

Discussion about Chorki among us started back in 2014. Back then we used to sit together after work and talk about what we could do and try to work something out. We stared with a small office in Karwanbazar finally in February 2015 and put together a team and started working to build something tangible. That’s how everything got started.

As a Bangla search engine we let anyone to search anything in Bangla. We now provide separate options for News search, food search, and product search accordingly. In the near future we will provide jobs search, content search, classified search, and sports search. For search engine this is pretty common but we are working hard to make the product better and make it more organized and user friendly. Say for example, our news search app, or food search is different than what in generally a search engine provide. We aim to work hard to make things better.

For example: for job search we will focus on combining all job website and also all individual link of career section of the existing company in Bangladesh. Consequently, as a job seeker one would not have to browse all job portals separately to search for a job, he/she will be able to search any job from Chorki.

How did you get the initial investments?
We started with a very small fund initially. Then we took help from few of our seniors to take Chorki to the next stage. But search engine is pretty expensive stuff.

Later on, we raised a good amount from Mind Initiative. I would like to thank chairman of MIND INITIATIVE Mr. Matin, Partners Mr. Firoze Z Rahman for believing in us.

What are the few major problems you are facing at Chorki?
There is no manual to follow and know what is going to work and what is not in this domain. Access to knowledge is almost impossible. Consequently, we had to experiment a lot and fail and learn throughout the way. Our team has done fantastic works in pulling off things when it was really difficult.

Then comes budget and money. It is always a problem for startups. We don’t have a big budget for marketing to get things out but lucky we have received pretty good help from industry people.

I personally prefer dedication and passion over skill. I hire people who are extremely dedicated. It makes thing a little easier.

As a CEO, how do you tackle problems a typical startup face like: putting together a good team and all.
This is a team work. However, working as a team is a challenge for early stage companies and it is tough. But we have only hired people who love the work we are doing and have a clear vision about it.

Team Chorki

Team Chorki

I personally prefer dedication and passion over skill. I hire people who are extremely dedicated. It makes thing a little easier.

At Chorki, we have now 19 people working as a team. Every single person own Chorki and love the work they are doing. I think that’s important and that’s how we can solve problems and move forward.

How is the response so far?
We are getting good response but it will take time to make this thing popular and mainstream. This is also true for all other search engines before us. Google was in beta version for many years. We are working hard to improve things every day and keep up the speed and growth. We are focusing on shaping the culture and a strong base for a search engine. But this will take time. I think it is going to take at least one and half year to make this thing work at a certain level.

Making a search engine works demands multiple streams of attention. We are trying to figure things out and get search Bangladesh tick.

We are getting good response but it will take time to make this thing popular and mainstream. This is also true for all other search engines before us. Google was in beta version for many years. We are working hard to improve things every day and keep up the speed and growth.

Future plan
Our plan is to collaborate and amalgamate all the website of Bangladesh. We are working hard to make sure that you find things on Chorki. Every day we are cooking new things to make Bangladeshi search better. We are also trying to make the platform open by letting people to submit link and add their own website. Anyone can submit link and add their website.

Over the time, we want to make Bangla search more efficient. We just launched our news app and we are working on few other things as well. We want to make search more fragmented and effective so that it increases the focus and become something more user friendly.

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Omor Ahmed

Omor works as an Intern at FS. He covers events, writes features, and meets entrepreneurs and makers and doers.

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