Bangladesh startup eco-system is growing fast. Things are happening on a daily basis which is a very good reason to be happy given the fact that progress is a process and you need to take the stairs. Some of the apparent signs of progress are: we have global accelerator program operating in Bangladesh, institutional investments are happening in local level, multiple venture firms are in operation and most importantly, number of startups are on rise. Last year at this point of the year we had very few startups to talk about, this year situation is way better than we could have imagined.
This list is our attempt to celebrate the progress we are making and at the same time, drawing attention of all stakeholders to add bricks to the eco-system. There are companies with more potential than these six for sure but at this moment these startups look potential to us because all of these startups are extremely risky ventures and have huge future growth potential if done right. Here is the list:
Projekt.co is a crowd funding platform that gives innovators, artists and change makers the opportunity to make their ideas happen by helping them to raise fund from masses. Crowd funding has become global phenomenon in recent time. In last couple of years we have seen big and small projects successfully launched globally having funded by the masses. Fund is one of the major problems for many people who want to start and make things happen in Bangladesh but unfortunately, we never had a platform that could have solved this problem. Bangladesh has also been left behind in the world of crowd funding which could have solved the problem to some extent. Projekt.co taps into this need and bring crowd funding to Bangladesh.
Why In The List: A recent research report suggests lack of funding is one of the major reasons why young people don’t start a business in Bangladesh. Not only business but also for creative folks like writers, innovators, artists, social workers money is a big problem. Banking and financing system in this country is at best broken. Crowd funding can become an alternative model to finance and the market size is huge.
Umbrii is a Dhaka based social media management startup. Founded by two Canadian-Bangladeshis Shahtaj Anwar and Aamer Ahsanullah, Umbrii aims to help small businesses across the world to better manage their social media profiles. “We aim to provide an one stop solution for social media marketing to small and medium enterprises in the US and Canada,” says Shahtaj, co-founder of the startup, in a conversation with Future Startup, “Everything will be automated for the clients as we will do customized graphics, copywriting, ad buying & campaign management for them.”
Why In The List: Social Media is now second home for businesses globally and there is huge demand for effective services for managing social media platform for businesses. The market size is big and Umbrii has an obvious advantage over its competitors since it will be operating from Dhaka where operation run rate will be significantly lower than its competitors.
Chalo is an On Demand Car Service Providing [Ride Hailing] Startup. Backed by Silicon Valley venture firm Desh Ventures, Chalo has a real chance to become a big player in market given the fact that public transportation system is broken in Bangladesh. Moreover, services like CNG and Taxicab have more than one problem. For a population of 160 million, transportation is a huge market.
Why In The List: Big market with almost no competitors. Big problem. Seed funded by Silicon Valley venture firm.
Meenu Apa, a women focused startup, let women to create their period package online and delivers it to their doorsteps. Getting pad and other menstrual needs is embarrassing experience for many women. Furthermore, awareness regarding the importance of using hygienic menstrual materials is not a common thing in Bangladesh yet. Mennu Apa aims to intervene in this space. While taking pain out of getting pads and all period needs of women, the startup also aims to create awareness and support underprivileged women to become aware of their health issues.
The startup launched in early March 2015 covering only two locations of Dhaka city. Right after two months of its being it has expanded its operation and now offering Dhaka-wide delivery showing a sign of fast growth.
Why In The List: A very attractive and powerful niche with strong community feeling. Anything women is good now since it gives you extra advantage of having good attention. While many companies use this attention for own good and for PR coverage Meenu Apa is solving a real problem.
Belancer is the country’s first freelancing marketplace startup. Bangladesh is a country of freelancers, with growing youth unemployment freelancing is an option that can be used to create opportunities for this huge population. While there are freelancing platforms like Upwork, Freelancer and more but these platforms don’t offer a good deal, sometimes even don’t offer a deal, for Bangladeshi companies who want to avail services of freelancers, Belancer aims to tap into this market, serving local companies.
GObd aims to help you beat the traffic of Dhaka city. Traffic is undisputed biggest problem of Dhaka and for many other cities around the world. GObd app provides real time traffic update to its users so that one can avoid busy routes and take less busy a route to reach destination. The app beta launched recently has a good user base and growing.
Why In The List: Traffic is one of the biggest problems for almost 2.00 crore people living in Dhaka city. This is a huge number and according to UN projection Dhaka’s population will be 2.7 crore by 2030 if it grows at current rate.
Problem for the GObd will be many of this population will not be able to use GObd service since it’s only available via smart phones but there is a future. The challenge for the app will be to keep its users motivated to share information and monetize the app at a certain point.
Take Away: After reading this, what do you think about our ecosystem, what else can be done to take things forward? Any startup we missed?[su_note note_color="#f8f9f9" text_color="#25618a" radius="13"]Editor’s Note: This list is far from complete. There are many startups that have great potential, are doing great and deserve attention. If you come across any startup that has launched in 2015 and doing great, please let us know in comment or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We have used following criterions to make this list: 1) Future growth potential 2) launched in 2015 3) Launched in Bangladesh 4) Have a committed team 5) Importance of the problem the startup is solving 6) Seeing good traction either in-terms of Revenue or Users[/su_note]