LightCastle Partners has launched a business data platform in Dhaka called databd.co. The platform, which is in its beta now, allows users to access "market, industry, consumer and economic information" and aims to become a one-stop source for business data in Bangladesh. The platform currently covers a handful of industries including Consumer Electronics, RMG and Textile, Telecommunication, Power Sector, and LP Gas. While the access to the platform is free for now, it is only logical to expect that LightCastle Partners will come up with some sort of business model as the platform grows.
What makes this initiative fascinating and important is its explicit focus on data. It is hard to overstate the importance of data in today’s world. The Economist magazine has named data as the new oil of our century. Despite the huge need, finding and accessing business and economic data is a real challenge in Bangladesh. Databd platform aims to address this gap in the market.
To that end, we believe this an important strategic move on the part of LightCastle Partners. Databd will not only help the industry in terms of accessing business and industry data but also help position LightCastle Partners at the forefront of a changing business landscape in Bangladesh. So we called up LightCastle Partners Managing Director Ivdad Ahmed Khan Mojlish to learn more about the platform and here is a lightly edited version of our conversation over an email.
Future Startup: What is databd.co?
Ivdad Ahmed Khan Mojlish: DATABD.CO is a one-stop source for business data in Bangladesh. The platform is aimed at facilitating access to industry datasets in meaningful formats for the business community in and out of Bangladesh.
FS: What are the objectives?
IAKM: Our goal is to serve as the most comprehensive data repository consisting of market, industry, consumer and economic information – all in an effort to help entities take more informed business and investment decisions.
Having worked with 120+ organizations across 40+ industries in the last 5 years, LightCastle Partners has taken this initiative as part of their vision to keep creating and promoting a culture of data-driven decision making across organizations in Bangladesh. By democratizing data - and importantly in user-friendly formats - we aim for the target community to leverage this as a tool for sourcing and acting upon data-driven insights into their business decisions.
FS: How the platform works and for whom? Could you please give us a brief overview of the platform?
IAKM: The platform is designed to contain updated datasets, information, and studies in relation to the Bangladesh economy and some select industries. Information is presented in various formats such as data visualization charts, stories, infographics, articles, and even full-fledged reports.
Users can come to the platform, search for industry information, be able to read articles, download datasets and reports and even embed chart links elsewhere. At the header of each page, important metrics are provided as snapshots for users to quickly absorb relevant information if they can't find the time to go over in details. Simply put, think of this as the Google for industry data in Bangladesh.
FS: Are you going to charge people for using the platform?
IAKM: At this stage, the platform is still a prototype. Charges are not applicable. Right now, we are more interested in collecting feedback from the users to be able to understand what kind of data - and the desired formats - is more desirable so that we can cater to their needs accordingly.
FS: What are the plans going forward?
IAKM: We intend to create deeper collaborations with industry experts, policymakers, research organizations, and international firms, aiming to feed a greater and more enriching content base. In parallel, we also want to improve the visualizations, embed robust analytics options and advanced filtering features, allowing for a better user experience.