As Bangladesh continues to grow in the tech business with increasing use of consumer electronics, such as, smart phones and tablets, there are organizations growing alongside that are stepping into a large untapped market that technology is providing for new businesses and entrepreneurs. Riyad Husain’s idea was to create a hub for digital marketing in Bangladesh and when he started off he only diligently pursued his passion, not discouraged by the fact that he was treading into something that is unknown to the country and difficult to achieve.
Riyad was born and brought up in Bangladesh and went to Scholastica for schooling. He did his undergrad from Richmond University of UK, and majored in Marketing. There he worked part-time to pay his expenses. From the beginning he wanted to be an entrepreneur, and he always dreamt of coming back to Bangladesh and starting his own company. After completing his graduate program in UK, he got a job offer at Management level from a good company but decided to come back to Dhaka at his own risk.
He did not know how to start a business when he came back to Bangladesh, and also could not rely on parents for expenses. Rather Riyad chose to take a chance.
In 2007, Riyad and few of his friends noticed a gap in quality designing and printing in the way big corporations and agencies served their clients in Bangladesh. There was a disproportionate imbalance between large agencies who served well-off clients on the one hand, and the media press on the other. There was no one to serve the mid-level organizations.
Riyad along with few of his friends started a printing and designing firm in 2007 to fill this gap. This was located in a regular market in Gulshan 2. They started from a small space.
At first they started with two projects, and gradually they were able to afford a better office space as their clients increased. At the beginning Riyad did all sorts of works– he was the clients’ service person, the marketer, the accountant.
He named this small firm Root Marketing Services. “I survived with just 8000 taka per month at that time, said Riyad. Once we started to get more works and save more money from projects, we expanded our work to event management and video production."
In 2012, the company had about 10 people working for it, and became more concerned about the long-term vision and mission. “That’s when we started to think about educating ourselves on digital marketing, which is the next generation marketing,” says Riyad, “back then we came to realize that traditional marketing, like TV, newspapers, billboards, will be reducing slowly and perhaps be replaced to an extent.”
This fascination with digital marketing brought about Magnito Digital in 2013. We invested our money from Root Marketing in Magnito Digital. Today, Magnito is one of the leading digital marketing firms in the country.
You should always pursue what you are passionate about. And for me my passion was always brand, advertising, and communication.
From the beginning of his entrepreneurial career, Riyad was into marketing. There is a reason behind it. Riyad says, “You should always pursue what you are passionate about. And for me my passion was always brand, advertising, and communication”.
When asked if you can only be successful if you have a passion for a career that is profitable and has a context in which you can grow, Riyad disagrees, and says, “I think you can grow a career out of anything that you have a passion for, and if can execute it properly. When I started off, my company was also something strange. I left a good job in UK, and here I was working from a small store turned into office. If you have the vision, ideas, creativity, determination and persistence you of course be successful at what you attempt to achieve. There is passion everywhere, even the person who made this steel in this lamp (he looks at the light from the ceiling to point out to me), the person who made your clothes, and the chairs in which we are sitting, the shoes you are wearing. So there is hope everywhere. Someone’s passion and career is hiding everywhere around. The secret is to identify the problem, the missing link, in such a way that you can benefit others from it’’.
A very modest and honest person, Riyad is not embroiled with competition, but wishes to carry on his work with hard work and determination, and not be entangled with whether they are leading ahead other companies in the same line.
“As a CEO, you eventually need to get out of micromanagement, and nitty gritty details, and focus on macro management. Macro management means big ideas, focusing on what to do in the next few months, a new product, or a new service. For the nitty gritty details you have your team. As a founder of a startup, one should focus on the macro things”, explains Riyad. This was one of the obstacles that Riyad Husain overcame as the business grew from a team of 6, when they had no formal division of works.
Magnito only concentrates in the digital space, such as, search, social media, web and mobile. Today, Magnito is one of the fastest growing digital marketing agencies in Bangladesh. Starting with only 6 people, the company has employed over 47 people within one and a half year of its start. Overwhelmingly, the growth of this team is over 500%!
Started in 2013, today Magnito serves over 40 clients locally and globally. Magnito serves brands like Grameenphone, Symphony, Telenor, Mobil, Omera, Maximus, Noir, Fish & Co, Marico (Safola, Livon, Set wet), CitiBank and more.
This is how the team explains their work, “We serve our clients across the digital universe, covering search, social, display and mobile marketing. We have tailor-made products that help us cater to all types of needs and clients.”
Magnito prides itself on its “team, technological and creative competency, experience in understanding and working with brands, tailor-made products, dashboards for efficient campaign management, meaningful partnerships, and contribution in developing the digital eco-system of Bangladesh.”
I think you can grow a career out of anything that you have a passion for, and if can execute it properly. When I started off, my company was also something strange. I left a good job in UK, and here I was working from a small store turned into office. If you have the vision, ideas, creativity, determination and persistence you of course be successful at what you attempt to achieve.
Magnito has a beautiful office space in Kemal Ataturk, Banani, a compact and elegant place. There is a TV space with a comfortable sofa for everyone to relax, have coffee, and watch sports or play with Play station during off time. There are no rigid rules and disciplines. Everyone sits in one room.
[blockquote source=""]“These guys have become best of friends since joining the team. This is like a permanent party of their life, says Riyad, they don’t see work as work. It means they love what they do, and when people love what they do, the quality of their work will be excellent, and as a company you will flourish. In Magnito we hate Fridays and Saturdays!”[/blockquote]
Like all other successful leaders, he gives credit to his people and doesn’t want to take all praises for himself! He said Magnito is the result of the hard work, dedication and passion of this vibrant and great team.
Magnito is a very well structured company with strong ethics, and has different departments to run operation with set targets, such as, content department, creative, strategic, technology, production, admin and accounts, client service, and design. Each department has a head or supervisor. And they are all between 25 to 35 years of age. However, the office space does not give the impression that the company is hierarchical. It is an open space with open communication where all departments are freely interacting with each other, sharing information, ideas, chit chats, and work. Everyone can see what everyone else is doing, and no one is closed inside a cubicle or separated by a wall or glass.
There is passion everywhere, even the person who made this steel in this lamp (he looks at the light from the ceiling to point out to me), the person who made your clothes, and the chairs in which we are sitting, the shoes you are wearing. So there is hope everywhere. Someone’s passion and career is hiding everywhere around. The secret is to identify the problem, the missing link, in such a way that you can benefit others from it.
In the next 5 years, Magnito wants to see it as empowering everyone, from vegetable vendors, home-business owners, to established companies with digital marketing. “Magnito sees it as its responsibility to lead this education and this revolution, says Riyad, and make sure that in Bangladesh anyone and everyone is equipped with the power of digital marketing.”
Credits: The story was written by Rounak Ahmed for Future Startup, Edited by Sabidin Ibrahim. Images by Magnito Digital