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FS Weekly Digest: The Insights You Missed This Week

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Feb 2, 2018

Enjoy our latest episode of insights from this week.

Ride-hailing Guidelines, The Business Of Ride-Hailing, And Tech, Aggregator and Technology Policy

We have a rather simplistic idea about ride-hailing business in Dhaka. We consider that these companies are mere taxi companies which is an absolutely wrong way to look at these companies.

If you pay attention, the approved ride-hailing guideline also suffers from this shortcoming of understanding of the ride-hailing business and that’s why we should be more critical and forward-looking while designing any guideline for this new generation of companies.

The fact that Pathao or MUV or any ride-hailing platform for that matter is a ride-hailing company, logistics company and food delivery company, all at the same time, calls for a different kind of policy thinking to regulate these companies.

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BD Venture Exits EON Food and BD Venture’s Real Return

This is an important event for Dhaka’s nascent venture capital ecosystem for several reasons. This will certainly encourage more investments in local startups, improve overall confidence in the market and as well make it easier for local VCs to raise investment.

At the same time, it is an even more important event for BD Venture which has been in the process of raising investments for its funds.

The real significance of the event I think is in the fact that BD Venture now has an instance that it can use as a proof for its ability to find potential startups – the most important ability for any venture capital firm – and ensure a return for its investors.

This is an equally important return for BD Venture in every measure because while venture capital firms claim to invest in teams and people, they actually invest in markets and products because market ultimately determines the fate of a company. In fact, it also tells at least arbitrarily that BD Venture can also find good teams.

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HandyMama Makes A Decision, HandyMama’s Path Forward: An Interview With Shah Paran, CEO, HandyMama

At the beginning of this year, we have identified on-demand service as one of the 12 tech-trends that we believe has huge potential to go big in 2018 in Bangladesh. This is not a hypothetical assumption, there are enough signals and socio-economic dynamics that support this understanding.

Take, for instance, our urban life is becoming increasingly hectic. Time has already become a scarce resource for most of us.

We are seeing a rapid change in family dynamics across the board. An increasing number of women are working today. The number of nuclear families is on the rise making it difficult for families where both husband and wife work full time to manage household chores like cooking and cleaning among other things. Most importantly, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find household helps, which was not the case only a few years ago.

All these changes are contributing to a growing on-demand service culture. This is where HandyMama and other similar services come in. Using the power of technology, HandyMama enables smooth service delivery making the life of the customers easier and enabling individual service professionals to earn money.

The potential for an on-demand service platform done right is almost infinite. HandyMama, if done right, can become the digital service infrastructure of Bangladesh that enables citizens to avail services more efficiently and with more assurance of quality.

The service distribution system is an interesting one, to say the least. There are service providers in every locality. In my area in Mohammadpur, there are probably several hundred electricians, beauticians, cleaners live here and if you tap them for providing service in Mohammadpur area, it should improve your service delivery time as well as quality.

The work is simple. You simply convert existing service consumption and delivery infrastructure which is inefficient because of its offline nature into digital one. HandyMama aims to do exactly that.
Being an aggregator, it can control both the demand as well as supplies, an incredible leverage that it can easily use to its own advantage, both ways. It can build the layer to enable service discovery as well as consumption.

Launched in 2015, HandyMama has matured significantly over the past couple of years. Past several years were particularly difficult for HandyMama and other similar businesses because the market was not ready yet. But since last year, things have started to change and today the company enjoys a rapid growth.
In the past few months, HandyMama has introduced a host of changes, some are small changes such as it has launched a new logo and others are more profound such as it has started to focus on a few services in a specific vertical, which I believe is the right way to go in this market because serving everything causes inefficiency and disrupts focus thus execution.

To that end, I find HandyMama’s recent changes rather interesting and HandyMama to be one of the most interesting tech companies in Dhaka. So, I emailed HandyMama’s CEO Shah Paran with a list of questions and here is the result of our email conversation, what follows is a lightly edited transcript.

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Whatsapp Business And The Future Of Customer Services and Communication

Messaging is slowly replacing customer service as we know it. At the same time, any relationship that takes place in a mobile ecosystem is way more intimate than the interaction that takes place on any other platform.
Whatsapp business is primarily aiming at customer interaction point. It not only offers you to maintain instant communication with your customers through messaging, it also says, you can “automate” the entire process using Whatsapp platform. The need for designing a separate bot becomes redundant. On the top of that, Whatsapp offers you a base of one billion users globally.


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