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The Top 10 Stories of January

In less than a week, we will bid adieu to the first month of 2019. Time does fly. The unfortunate thing is that we seldom notice. Although many of us started 2019 with great fanfare and many promises, we already gave into to the old habits and old routines have crept into our new self. Without we realizing it, we went back to doing the same mindless things. Most of us have abandoned the new year resolutions. Youtube eats into our days like 2018. Facebook news feed keeps us busy. Days end without us accomplishing anything meaningful. Many of us have forgotten that we are in a new year. We have slipped into reliving our old self.

Wake up! You have promised to do better this year. Let’s hope the final week of January reminds us one more time that the chance to become a new you is not lost yet.

At FS, we decided to take an early stock of our January. Here are some of our best and most popular stories from the first month of 2019.

(1) The first story we published this year was on Olwel, a small healthcare startup based in Mohammadpur, Dhaka, trying to revolutionize healthcare using technology. The startup introduced a new model for on-demand healthcare service where patients can get healthcare at the convenience of their house. This is no less than reviving the old model of family doctors who used to visit us at home and treat in non-emergency cases. The only differences are Olwel is not about your family doctor and it aims higher. With a very short time of its formal launch, the startup has seen good traction. In 2019, it aims to expand to multiple cities in Bangladesh. This is a truly fascinating story.

(2) Then comes the EDGE AMC and EDGE Research and Consulting, a fast-growing small financial services startup launched mid-2018. EDGE AMC and EDGE Research and Consulting are basically the same company but both operate independently and are separate legal entities. As you can guess from the name, EDGE AMC is an asset management company that has an interesting launch story and an ambitious goal of democratizing the benefits of the capital market in Bangladesh. The story of founding EDGE is a perfect inspiration for entrepreneurs and aspiring ones on what does it take to start a company. EDGE Research and Consulting provides analysis and research on interesting companies in the capital market in Bangladesh to local and foreign clients. It also serves EDGE AMC as a client as well as serves other investors. Founded by three colleagues who used to work at BRAC EPL, EDGE has grown pretty fast and it seems the founders have some really great ideas about where they want to go. That is a worthwhile exercise in thinking brilliantly.

(3) Meanwhile, Shwapno, the retail chain of ACI Limited, is on a roll. In last one year, it has expanded its reach – today Shwapno has over 72 outlets across the country, launched a safe food brand called Shuddho that aims to implement the concept of field to shelf, invested heavily in private label brands, made data-driven decision making an strategic imperative, launched a hyperlocal ecommerce operation and built an organization that can meet the demand of a fast-changing industry. These are just a few. There are more to it. We did a wide-ranging exclusive interview with Shawpno CEO Sabbir Hasan Nasir, which, to say the least, is a feast for your mind.

(4) Everyone knows how logistics is a challenge for the growth of the ecommerce industry in Bangladesh. eCourier is one of the earliest players in the space that started with serving solely ecommerce companies in Dhaka. The company says it has changed itself over the last one year - starting from building new process, rebuilding the entire technology stack to building a great team. The startup has also grown pretty steadily. But the challenges are there as well. The industry is likely to see some serious competition as ecommerce industry matures. How eCourier plans to fend off competition? Can it pull off? In an extensive interview with Biplob G Rahul, we explore the business and the future of eCourier and logistics in Bangladesh.

(5) About 22 startups raised investment in 2018. Compared to 2017, the number of companies that raised investment, as well as the amount of investment they raised, both jumped significantly. From our data, we can see a pattern and clearly all sectors are not attracting equal attention from angels and VCs. We tried to find out the sectors that are attracting most VCs money in Dhaka.

(6) If you planning to start a business this year consider food. Humans routinely trade life for food and money. So there you go. More importantly, the sector is going through a lot of consequential changes. We published two powerful stories on food this month. The first one: an interview with Tanvir Haider Chaudhury, CEO of Kazi Food Industries Ltd, one of the fast-growing CPG companies in Dhaka, on mainly frozen food business in Bangladesh and generally on a lot of other topics related to food.

Then this week, we published megatrends that are defining the business of food in Bangladesh that take a closer look into some of the important trends that could have a consequential impact on the business of food. A guide to digging gold.

(7) In the meantime, we published a few stories on becoming a new you in 2019. These stories offer useful advice. Unfortunately, advices seldom work unless we put ourselves into work.

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