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A Week Of Deep Diving Into Mobile, Internet and Ride-hailing Trends In Bangladesh

I can't believe it is February already. 2019 started with a lot of activities on the part of tech companies in Dhaka. For the first time, tech has played a prominent role in BPL.

Pathao and Uber are investing big time in BPL advertisement and team sponsorships. This you could read as the beginning of tech going mainstream in Bangladesh. Expect tech to take over TV ads and other media buying in the near future.

Ride-hailing continues to draw attention. Regulators are weighing a decision about what to do about the failure, to some extent, of ride-hailing companies to meet the regulatory requirements put forward by the guideline passed last year.

We started the week with a deep-dive into the ride-hailing industry in Bangladesh. The report digs deeper into the rise of bike-hailing, how ride-hailing companies are betting on aggregator strategy to grow as well to build competitive moats, and how ride-hailing companies tackling loyalty challenge in a heavily promo-code driven market. Then we explore tech's new obsession last mile bicycle-rental service.

A lot of things are happening in the space. Uber started a new campaign featuring Shakib Al Hasan title Egiye Cholo. Shohoz has started pushing in Chittagong. Pathao and Uber both are working hard to take full benefit of their BPL investment. Morning shows the day. So far we could see, get ready for a bloodbath in the ride-hailing space in 2019.

BTRC has put a minimum validity cap for mobile internet packages. Our observation: it is an appropriate move given the disregard mobile operators shows towards customer experience.

Now mobile and internet - these are the two most important technologies to understand to understand the future of business in the coming days. We examined the growth of mobile and internet penetration in Bangladesh and tried to explain what this growth means for overall business and tech scene in Bangladesh. It is mind-blowing when you think the result of the convergence of mobile penetration and internet penetration.

To that end, Robi launched an online travel agency called Ghurbo. Ghurbo was a product of MCC, a tech company based in Dhaka. On top of OTA, Robi also wants to run a subscription service. Instead of merely reporting the news, we worked hard to understand the motivation of Robi and whether a paid travel news and deals subscription make sense from the perspective of consumers.

On the FS Network side, Toru’s Tasbeeha Mirza and Salsabeel Khan contributed an insightful story on a workshop Toru conducted as part of its Impactor program titled Unlocking New Models for Impact. Impactor Program is an 8-month long business incubation program that aims to help early-stage businesses with social impact to transform their ideas or products into a sustainable business enterprise.

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Mohammad Ruhul Kader is a Dhaka-based entrepreneur and writer. He founded Future Startup, a digital publication covering the startup and technology scene in Dhaka with an ambition to transform Bangladesh through entrepreneurship and innovation. He writes about internet business, strategy, technology, and society. He is the author of Rethinking Failure. His writings have been published in almost all major national dailies in Bangladesh including DT, FE, etc. Prior to FS, he worked for a local conglomerate where he helped start a social enterprise. Ruhul is a 2022 winner of Emergent Ventures, a fellowship and grant program from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. He can be reached at ruhul@futurestartup.com

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