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An Education In Building Startups In Bangladesh: Our 08 Must Read Startup Stories

The Story Behind Pathao’s Explosive Growth With Hussain M Elius, Founder and CEO, Pathao

Pathao Founder and CEO Hussain M Elius on the early days of Pathao, how it has evolved and grown from a small team of 30 people to a team of over 500 people in a span of a few years, the hard work and intricacies of scaling a business, Pathao’s business today and its ambition going forward, the most critical aspects of ride-hailing business, how Pathao operates as an organization and Pathao’s organizational culture, driver-rider-company dynamics in ride-hailing business, ride-hailing and transportation problem in Dhaka, the future of ride-hailing and Pathao’s business, and why entrepreneurship requires a certain amount of ignorance about how hard, uneventful and unglamorous building a real business is.

Pickaboo Expands, Pickaboo’s Strategy and Ambition: An Interview With Shahrear Sattar, CEO, Pickaboo

Since launching Pickaboo in 2016, Shahrear Sattar and his team have successfully positioned it as a leading e-commerce company in the country, from what began as a modest operation of a few people. Pickaboo is now a team of over 140 people. It has widespread brand awareness in the market as a reliable e-commerce company that delivers and ensures proper customer service.

Pickaboo originally started by selling high-value electronic products, particularly mobile phones. Within a short period of time, it became the market leader in the category, a position it continues to maintain these days. Over the past two years, it has expanded to other categories. It has increased the number of products it offers within the electronics product category as well as added new product lines including daily needs, albeit in the electronic genre, fashion, and beauty products. The company is now eyeing further.

We have been following Pickaboo from the very beginning of its journey, we first interviewed Mr. Sattar in January 2017, you may find the interview here.

In this fascinating interview, Ruhul Kader sits down with Shahrear Sattar, CEO of Pickaboo, to learn about the developments at Pickaboo over the past years and to pick his brain about the current state of Pickaboo’s business, expansion, long-term strategy, what has contributed to its rapid growth, and the future of Pickaboo and ecommerce industry in Bangladesh and his lessons from the journey so far.

Chaldal’s Renewed Growth Push Takes It To New Territories, And Chaldal’s Future: An Interview With Zia Ashraf, COO, Chaldal

Since launching Chaldal in 2013, Zia Ashraf and team Chaldal have successfully positioned it as a leader in the online grocery business in Bangladesh. It has widespread brand awareness in the market as a reliable online grocery store and has expanded to periphery product categories over the past few years. For instance, Chaldal now controls almost 8% market share of the entire diaper market in Dhaka.

Since its last funding round, which closed a few months ago, Chaldal has been on a roll. It has opened new warehouses in three different locations, taking its total warehouses to 8 in Dhaka. Expanded product categories. Its logistics offshoot Go Go Bangla sees healthy growth and it sees sharp growth in its number of daily orders.
We have been following Chaldal from the very beginning of its journey, we ran the first story on Chaldal in 2014, you may read all of our coverage on Chaldal here.

In this fascinating interview, Ruhul Kader sits down with Zia Ashraf, COO of Chaldal, to learn about the developments at Chaldal over the past few years and to pick his brain about the current state of Chaldal’s business, expansion, long-term strategy, what has contributed to its rapid growth, and the future of Chaldal and ecommerce and digital payment industry in Bangladesh and his lessons from the journey so far.

From Side Project To A Wildly Successful Travel Business: An Interview With Kashef Rahman, Founder and CEO, TBBD

Travel Booking Bangladesh (TBBD) is one of the few startups in Dhaka that you can conveniently put as a textbook example of how to build a successful company from scratch – start small, test the market whether there is a need for your product, work hard, get some early traction and go from there.

The story of TBBD answers many pressing questions related to building a sustainable business and that too with growing your revenue instead of running after venture capital investments. It is also a perfect case study for people who are looking for opportunities to build a business while having a full-time corporate career and often feel like it is infeasible to pursue an entrepreneurial endeavor while working full-time. That’s simply not true. That’s one aspect of the story.

Another aspect of the story is the growing travel market in Bangladesh. Travel is a $7 trillion dollar industry globally. In Bangladesh, it has been seeing steady growth over the past couple of years, an increasing number of Bangladeshis are now traveling overseas (formal outbound travel expenses were $436.4 million in FY16) and the industry is just getting started, in every meaning of the word. Put that together with OTA, the future of OTA business can only go one direction and that’s exponential growth.

In this excellent interview, Founder and CEO of Travel Booking Bangladesh Kashef Rahman speak with Future Startup’s Ruhul Kader about how he started TBBD, what went into building the initial operation of TBBD, how has TBBD grown over the years, the current state of TBBD business and its ambition going forward, the challenges of entrepreneurship, how he deals with stress and challenges that come with being a solo founder, and contemplates on the future of travel business in Bangladesh and why hard work is an antidote to all the challenges of building a business.

What’s Next For HungryNaki: An Interview With Ahmad AD, Co-founder and CEO, HungryNaki

If you need honest answers to critical questions like how you bootstrap a food delivery company to operational breakeven in a market like Dhaka or how not to solve fake problems in the name of entrepreneurship, probably Ahmad AD is one of the few people in Dhaka you should meet for interesting insights.

For those who don’t know Ahmad AD, he is the co-founder and CEO of HungryNaki, the country’s first and leading online food ordering and delivery company.

Over the past years, he and his team at HungryNaki have built a wonderful bootstrapped company from scratch which continues to experience meaningful growth every month. And things are about to change for HungryNaki – the company just secured its first investment.

Building a sustainable business with limited resources is a lot of thinking job. Conventional wisdom would not take you far. Moreover, competition has intensified in the food delivery space, where HungryNaki operates, over the past one year. And many of these competitors have deep pockets which makes Mr. Ahmad’s job doubly difficult. However, he does not seem to be worried about the competition and has his own thesis of looking at the food delivery business in Dhaka.

In this fascinating interview, we discuss HugnryNaki and its business, its strategies and ambition going forward, the state of competition in the food delivery space, imperatives for the food delivery business and food delivery market in Dhaka, and contemplate on his lessons from his entrepreneurial journey and his insights into building a company.

OnnoRokom Group, Entrepreneurship, and Life: An Interview With Mahmudul Hasan Sohag, Chairman, OnnoRokom Group (Part 01)

There are few entrepreneurs in Dhaka’s technology scene quite as fascinating and inspiring as Mahmudul Hasan Sohag, the Co-Founder, and Chairman Of OnnoRokom Group. Over the past years, he and his team at OnnoRokom have built a mission-driven entire group of companies from scratch which continues to experience tremendous growth while staying true to its core vision of building a better Bangladesh. There is an almost unsettling sense of worldliness in many of today’s entrepreneurs. Thanks to the relentless Silicon Valley-isation of entrepreneurship, everybody wants to start a company, sell it at some point and get famous and rich. It’s not a problem per se. Getting rich, in fact, is great, but the vision and the pursuit of making a real difference through entrepreneurial endeavors are increasingly becoming a rare thing these days. This is one of the reasons that makes Mr. Sohag’s story and journey important and different. He is in it for a reason that goes beyond mere millions and his journey to where he is today offers invaluable lessons for aspiring entrepreneurs.

On the other hand, the story of Onnorokom Group answers many pressing questions related to entrepreneurship including how to find your co-founder, be relentlessly resourceful, build a great team and company culture, design a great product through iteration, how to persist in the face of obstacle and challenges and so on. Mr. Sohag and his team at Onnorokom have been building one of the most consequential technology companies in Dhaka over the past years and have done important work in a host of sectors. The group has businesses in education, research, innovation, software, hardware, ecommerce, publication and more.

Dhaka-based Safe Food Startup Khaas Food Keeps On Growing: An Interview With Habibul Mustafa, Co-founder, Khaas Food

Food adulteration is a growing concern in Dhaka. Many people have already given up the hope that what we buy and eat could be healthy. Consequently, the demand for safe and organic food has grown manyfold in the past few years.
Many consumers are willing to pay a premium. Others wish safe food to become the norm. This is what Khaas Food, a Dhaka-based farm-to-table food company, aims to make a reality – safe food for all. (read our previous stories on Khaas Food here)

Founded in 2015, the bootstrapped startup continues to experience excellent growth proving a growing demand for safe food in the market.

In this wonderful follow-up interview Future Startup’s Ruhul Kader sits down with Habibul Mustafa, co-founder, and chairman of Khaas Food, to unpack developments at Khaas Food over the past one year, growth and state of its business, expansion, and insights into its business model going forward.

How LightCastle Partners Has Grown From A Small Operation To A Full-Fledged Data Analytics and Impact Investment Solutions Company With Ivdad Ahmed Khan Mojlish, Managing Director, LightCastle Partners

LightCastle Partners Co-founder and Managing Director Ivdad Ahmed Khan Mojlish on LightCastle’s journey from a tiny one-room office to a team of over 30 people, how LightCastle tackled product-market fit in its early days by adapting to the needs of its customers, the art of business model and how to use flexibility in your business model to survive and grow your business, how LCP has used a combination of personal network, content marketing and efficient execution to grow its business, LCP’s business today, its expansion into multiple verticals including impact investment and its ambition going forward, how LCP operates as an organization and how it has built a learning culture, how to choose a book and reading as an antidote to life’s challenges, why execution is the key to success in anything you do, and why we should approach life with a sense of gratitude and a simple strategy to know whether your life is on the right track or not.

Photo by Ariel Pilotto on Unsplash

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