CloudWell CEO Anisul Islam On Culture, ClouldWell’s Future And Why Building A Business Is More Like Trekking A Mountain

CloudWell CEO Anisul Islam On Culture, ClouldWell’s Future And Why Building A Business Is More Like Trekking A Mountain

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Anisul Islam is the founder and CEO of CloudWell which runs PayWell, a payment, and service aggregator platform. Started operation in 2012 with a team of 12 people and 4/5 part-time salesmen, it has evolved significantly over the past few years. The team has grown to 110 people. It has added more features to its PayWell platform including ecommerce and now also aggregates MFS services and has significantly expanded its agent network.

Mr. Islam is a wonderful thinker. Building a business takes a lot of hard work, consistent motivation and a lot of thinking. As Mr. Islam says it is “more like trekking a mountain. Initially, you are super excited and then you get to go through all the challenges and ups and downs and at times you feel like giving up and all that. But that’s not how you finish it, you finish by sticking to it and persevering.”

This was a much longer interview, so we had to break it up into two parts. In this second and final part of the interview, we discuss organizational culture at CloudWell, CloudWell’s ambition going forward, his lessons from the journey so far, and what building a business from scratch really means.

Check out the first half of this interview here.

Future Startup

How is the organizational culture at PayWell? How do people work and collaborate here?

Anisul Islam

We have tried to build a horizontal organization where everyone can bring their true self to work and work as a team.

There exists a hierarchy only to the degree to ensure that responsibilities are fulfilled properly. We don’t have a hard and fast formal environment at the company. Our workplace is pretty informal so that we can speed up our operation.

Future Startup

What are the major challenges for PayWell now?

Anisul Islam

We don’t anticipate any major obstacle in our way to grow.

Challenges exist in offering front-end application to our end-users that can add value to their lives. We are working to that extent.

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Future Startup

What are your plans for the next few years?

Anisul Islam

Going forward, we have to strengthen our client base to morph into a B2C model. In that respect, we are looking forward to acquiring a license from Bangladesh Bank which would allow us to introduce an app for individual consumers to make payments using QR codes, NFC, and the likes.

The consumer application can be used to pay utility bills, make purchases from e-commerce sites, and many other things. It will be a separate app from the PayWell one. The market still needs to mature a bit to roll out an application like this.

We are working on a lending product for our customers, it is more of a working capital support that one needs to extend his business to the next level and launched with instantaneous credit approval on a click of a button. We are hoping to launch it sometime this year.

It’s [building a business] more like trekking a mountain. Initially, you are super excited and then you get to go through all the challenges and ups and downs and at times you feel like giving up and all that. But that’s not how you finish it, you finish by sticking to it and persevering. That has been one of the biggest lessons for me. I have learned that sustained perseverance and excitement is the most important quality you should develop while building a business.

Future Startup

Are you planning to raise any additional investment?

Anisul Islam

Yes, we are anticipating the second round of investments soon. We are in conversation with a few interested investors. I can’t disclose the details right now.

Future Startup

What are the biggest lessons you’ve learned in our journey?

Anisul Islam

The last couple of years have been sort of a period of revival for me. I’ve come to believe in the fact that we can really make a difference. I have learned to keep pushing my boundaries and never to give up. I have also learned to be more poised and relax, per se, so that I can tackle problematic issues more wisely.

We have grown considerably as an organization too. For a startup, the initial period is full of excitement and energy. But it doesn’t stay that way for too long. In that stage, what becomes important is perseverance.

We are in the latter period now and we have achieved a certain level of maturity. It’s more like trekking a mountain. Initially, you are super excited and then you get to go through all the challenges and ups and downs and at times you feel like giving up and all that. But that’s not how you finish it, you finish by sticking to it and persevering.

That has been one of the biggest lessons for me. I have learned that sustained perseverance and excitement is the most important quality you should develop while building a business.

Future Startup

If you get the chance, what would you advise to your 20-year old self?

Anisul Islam

I don’t hold too many regrets in my life. That’s why I don’t have much to suggest to my young self. If I do have to, I’d suggest him to be more careful in building partnerships in business.

Most importantly, while building a business, don’t just focus on making a profit; focus on creating value for your users. If you are creating value rest should follow.

Future Startup

What’s your personal resolution for 2018?

Anisul Islam

In 2018, I want to travel more. There’s an Incan citadel situated in the Andes Mountains in Peru called Machu Picchu. I want to visit there this year with my family.

Future Startup

What advice would you give to people who are just starting out?

Anisul Islam

In this age and time, it’s important for people to use technology as a leverage when building a business. Failing to do so can make your company go out of business.

Most importantly, while building a business, don’t just focus on making a profit; focus on creating value for your users. If you are creating value rest should follow.

Notes

1. Interview Ruhul Kader, Transcription by Sheikh Rahatil Ashekan

2. Further reading on CloudWell including an earlier interview with Anisul Islam here.

3. Update on May 2: has been added new cover phot of Mr. Anisul Islam

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