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G&R Ad Network: Empowering The Bangladesh Web

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May 23, 2014

Have you ever noticed a Bangla language ad on the side or top of your favorite website? Nine times out of ten, that ad came from G&R’s ad server.

Vision in Action

I’m not surprised if you've never heard of us. Green & Red Technologies, or G&R, is Bangladesh’s first and largest ad network. If you already know what an ad network is (its not an agency!), I’m impressed. A more fitting title might be “ad market,” as that model is closer to what we actually do. In fact, at this point, our ad market is ‘buying and selling’ upwards of 15 millions online banner ads per day!

We do our work in the background, on the phone, at the computer, and in client offices, but our vision is anything but small. From the beginning, it has been our goal to empower the Bangladesh web though ads. When website owners can earn money through online advertisements, they have the incentive to reinvest in the site’s user experience and dream bigger than ever before. Until now, online advertising giants like Google have not properly monetized Bengali web content.

It is G&R’s mission to change all of that.

Though we were founded in 2009, technically we are still a startup. Unlike some huge, sprawling companies, we have never let our successes hold us back from change. In 2012, for example, we dropped all other projects and decided to focus fully on building and operating a local ad network. In this way we remain flexible, resilient, and ready to take on whatever the future holds.

G&R
G&R
Image by Alyssa

A Day in the Life

In basic terms, we are a three-part company, working in three distinct spheres: websites, advertisers, and technology.

First there’s the partnership team. These are the men and women who work directly with local websites, helping them put code on their backend that will allow ads to be served. Second is the sales and marketing team. These guys are constantly on the phone or out of the office, speaking to potential advertisers, big and small. They make sure we have ads available to serve on our network of sites. Finally, to round out the team, we have the developers. These are the computer science graduates who have built the structure on which this business stands. Without the complex ad serving software our developers spent two years building, we would be unable to track and serve ads on websites. Without developers, we would be nothing.

Way Back When

Though we were founded in 2009, technically we are still a startup. Unlike some huge, sprawling companies, we have never let our successes hold us back from change. In 2012, for example, we dropped all other projects and decided to focus fully on building and operating a local ad network. In this way we remain flexible, resilient, and ready to take on whatever the future holds.
However, we also know that sometimes change isn’t necessary. From day one, our office culture has revolved around teamwork, friendship, and drinking cha at all hours of the day. This is still something that defines us.

Struggles can be demotivating, and we at G&R have faced many – a lack of clients, a lack of money. To achieve your goals, you must be very ambitious. Hold on tight to what you want to achieve and remember that tomorrow is a new day.

G&R people Image by Alyssa
G&R people
Image by Alyssa

The Lessons We Carry With Us

Over the years we have learned many things about what it means to run a business in Bangladesh, but today we have boiled these lessons down to four basic points:

Lesson 1: Bangladesh is a hard place to start a company. If you want to do it and you want to do it well, you will need to focus on educating your target audience first.

Lesson 2: Struggles can be demotivating, and we at G&R have faced many – a lack of clients, a lack of money. To achieve your goals, you must be very ambitious. Hold on tight to what you want to achieve and remember that tomorrow is a new day.

Lesson 3: In the end, Bangladesh is one of the most highly populated countries in the world. If you can motivate at least 1%, you are actually motivating thousands upon thousands of people. Remember that all you need is 1%.

Lesson 4: It is almost impossible to do it alone. Find others who are as passionate as you but with a skillset that compliments your own. Teamwork is everything.

And Now, It’s Your Turn

In our line of work, we deal with a lot of entrepreneurs and small business owners who are just starting out. They are looking for ways to make money from their website or to reach their target audience through online ads. We hope that these men and women will continue to reach out to us for advice and help taking their businesses to the next level.

More local web content means more monetization opportunities for the website owner and for G&R. More local web content also gives Bangladeshis a reason to spend more time online. This is a virtuous cycle that we hope will make a better Bangladesh web.

Bangladesh is a hard place to start a company. If you want to do it and you want to do it well, you will need to focus on educating your target audience first.


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Alyssa Ransbury is currently engaged in a number of tech-related projects in Dhaka, Bangladesh, where she lives and works. After receiving an undergraduate degree from Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon, she was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to study and teach in Dhaka. Now serving as Head of Operations at Bangladesh’s first and largest online ad network and as an analyst at Inflection Ventures, Alyssa works to support local websites, tech companies, and the internet ecosystem as a whole. She continues this work outside the office, as a mentor and organizer for events like Startup Weekend and Startup Cup in the burgeoning Bengali start-up community. Alyssa is a strong advocate for technology as a tool for the empowerment of women and offline, actively promotes local women’s basketball programs.

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