Startup Weekly #2: Stories of 4 Startups
1. Inside WebAble’s Phenomenal Five-Year Run and Beyond: An Interview with Ovick Alam, Co-founder, and Chairman, WebAble Digital
WebAble Digital has turned five in February this year. Surviving five years is a huge feat for any startup. And if you could find the product/market fit and grow, you must be very lucky. WebAble has managed to do both. Started as a tiny operation, it has managed to maintain steady growth throughout its five years of existence. Most importantly, it has done so without any external investment.
Founded in 2013, the early days of digital communication in Bangladesh, WebAble has helped shape digital communication landscape in Dhaka in many ways and its journey as a bootstrapped success has a lot to offer to aspiring entrepreneurs about how to approach the challenging act of building a company.
Digital marketing is a precarious and ever-changing space. A steady torrent of new companies enter digital marketing space every year and perish at an equally fast pace. New trends replace old ones every other day. What worked yesterday quickly becomes obsolete tomorrow. Established players routinely give way to new rookies. It is relentless.
WebAble has managed to find a sustainable strategy that works – hustle. It has managed to achieve steady growth through relentless innovation, replenishing its positioning time and again, and building a strong company culture that fuels creativity and innovation. Today, WebAble is a team of 75-people and works with a long list of clients spanning multiple industries. It has expanded beyond social media marketing to content, community building, lead generation, digital production, analytics, event activation and much more.
Today, WebAble offers full-service communication solutions with ATL, BTL, and digital teams. With the growth of the business, naturally, WebAble has grown ambitious. It is now busy setting up goals for its next five years.
In this excellent interview with Future Startup, WebAble Digital Founder and Chairman Ovick Alam illustrates the growth journey of WebAble from a small team of 6-people to a leading integrated communication services company and lays out WebAble’s game plan for the next five years.
2. On Building A Technology Business From Scratch: An Interview With Monjurul Alam Mamun, Founder And CEO, Aplectrum and Xtra
Aplectrum and Xtra Founder And CEO Monjurul Alam Mamun on his journey to entrepreneurship, the early days of Aplectrum and Xtra, how Aplectrum has evolved and grown from a mere idea into a company with multiple products and revenue streams within a span of two years, how Aplectrum operates and its culture, sheds light on business model of Aplectrum and digital gift platform Xtra, challenges of Aplectrum, its business today and ambition going forward, the hard work and intricacies of building a business, shares his lessons from his journey so far and reflects on why having a growth mindset is critical for your personal and organizational growth and much more.
3. Building An Omnichannel E-commerce Company In Bangladesh With Waiz Rahim, Founder and CEO, Deligram
Waiz Rahim is the Founder and CEO of Deligarm, an omnichannel ecommerce company that aims to operate at the intersection of online and offline and integrate the power of digital commerce with offline retail by enabling existing mom and pop corner shops in neighborhoods to act as their agent points for both distribution and collection.
A Rahimafrooz affiliated company, Deligram aims to do for digital commerce what bKash did for financial services.
Founded in 2017, Deligram started as a pilot in Comilla. It partnered with 40 retail stores with an ambition to figure out a new model for ecommerce distribution by leveraging the presence of local corner shops to overcome infrastructural challenges. Deligram calls these partners dgAgents. Since Deligram is a Rahimafrooz affiliated company, it could easily use Rahimafrooz’s existing retail channel to build a distribution model. After months of the experiment, it moved to Dhaka in January this year. It has since grown to become one of the important players in Dhaka’s ecommerce space.
Today, Deligram has two hubs, one in Dhaka and another in Comilla and is in the process of opening two more in Gazipur and Narayanganj. It has 125 agents and aims to have 300 by the end of this year. It has raised US$2.5 million in two rounds of funding and aims to become the “the largest retail platform in Bangladesh regardless of online or offline”
In this excellent interview, Deligram Founder and CEO Waiz Rahim walks us through his path to entrepreneurship, how Deligram came into being, the early days of Deligram and how he hired first few people and validated the omnichannel model, how Deligram has evolved and grown from a mere idea into a company with over 125 agents, sheds light on business model of Deligram, internal culture, its business today and ambition going forward, talks about raising money, growing the business and much more.
4. Building An Intelligent Video Analytics Startup In Bangladesh With Shehzad Noor Taus Priyo, Co-founder & CEO, Gaze Technology
Shehzad Noor Taus Priyo is the Co-founder and CEO of Gaze Technology, an intelligent video analytics startup that builds intelligence capabilities for CCTV cameras that could be used to solve a long list of securities, attendance monitoring, analytics, optimization challenges, and much more. Founded in 2017, the company has grown to a team of 20 people within a short period of time and aims to build “a global leader in AI, serving customers across the world and making intelligent video analytics accessible and affordable for all.”
We recently caught up with Mr. Shehzad Noor, to learn about his path to entrepreneurship (cue: Shehzad has been trying to build companies since seventh grade. We covered his Incogmito a few years ago), how Gaze Technology came into being, what is Gaze Technology and what it does, how Gaze operates, the state of Gaze Technology’s business today, its ambition going forward, lessons he has learned from his journey so far and much more.