Ecommerce is sprawling in Bangladesh like contagion. But the support infrastructure is yet to be there. One of the major challenges ecommerce startups have been facing is with their delivery. We have conventional couriers, post office, and few new logistics companies in the space but it is utterly insufficient. Conventional couriers seldom understand needs and urgency of ecommerce. To make the situation worse, small ecommerce startups usually don’t get a say when it comes to dealing with couriers since courier services have their regular customers.
Ecommerce is largely a delivery business. People buy online because they want to avoid the hassle of going out and buying things. Hence, once people buy online they expect on time delivery and reliability and humanness.
This is where SmileX comes into play. Started back in 2013, SmileX aims to become a premium courier solution provider to ecommerce companies and beyond. “I started SmileX back in 2013, which was known as Rapidmail back then, to provide delivery solutions to ecommerce companies,” says Fahad Ibna Wahab, founder of SmileX, “I was following ecommerce industry closely and saw one of the biggest problems ecommerce companies facing was delivery. So I thought why not I try to solve this problem. That’s how Smile X was born.”
Fahad passed his HSC in 2013 from Agricultural University College, Mymensingh. He has a knack for starting things. Prior to SmileX he worked at several ecommerce businesses as a business development manager: Da Purples, Picknpaylife.com, and Leisfita are few to name. Starting of SmileX is yet another interesting story. Once Fahad saw the opportunity to take in logistic business he jumped into it. “In the beginning I myself started doing delivery with my bike,” says Fahad, “when I started to get more orders I posted a job circulation in BDCyclists Group and got some interested Bike messengers. Then I build a website, did some marketing and we started to make money from the month one.”
Funding is a challenge for most tech startups. People often complain not having fund for their inability to start and sometimes build a business. But people who make things happen seldom sit and wait for fund to pour in. They start hustling from the day they decide to start. Fahad started his journey with his own bike and BDT 3000 in his pocket. Since the delivery business does not have much expense other than delivery charge itself, it was not difficult for Fahad to start right away. “I managed to fund myself from my monthly income and as I bootstrapped,” says Fahad, “it didn’t require that much money.”
Today SmileX offers three different categories of services: express, economy, and corporate and is a team of 9 people that includes 7 Delivery Persons, a manager to organize the delivery and a Customer care manager to continuously communicate with clients.
The startup is growing at fast pace and acquiring customers almost every day. Recently they also raised a seed fund to support the growth.
For Fahad so far the journey was personally gratifying but it was not easy at all. “For me as a person, says Fahad, guidance and funding were the two most critical challenges. On the business side, finding right people has been a huge challenge. I had to refuse orders because I didn’t have enough people to do the jobs.”
These are not unique problems to Fahad, most early stage startups invariably go through these phases, what makes difference is one’s ability to stick to the journey until s/he finds the solution. As Sajid Raham asserted in his interview, grit is critical when you are building a startup.
SmileX as a logistic startup aims to specialize in ecommerce delivery. “We know how to handle valuable clients, says Fahad, and “we train our people so that they can understand and deliver according to the needs of our clients.”
SmileX aims to make delivery easy, fast, and reliable and to become the best service provider in the industry. However, the journey is not going to be any easier for the startup.
Image: Smile X