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FS Weekly No. 34: Breaking the Mold

Hi there: I'm Ruhul! I convene Future Startup Weekly to help you understand entrepreneurship and the technology landscape in Bangladesh and beyond. If you are enjoying this, feel free to share it with other good people.

"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man."

— George Bernard Shaw, Irish playwright

Earlier this week, I came across this quote in a business newsletter I read. The sentiment of that newsletter and what I’m about to write run on the same theme and I run the risk of copying the work of others. Regardless, I’m going to try. The quote is often used to validate grandiosity and distribute affordable motivation! But if you allow it to settle in, it offers powerful perspectives. Take challenges. Endure. Break the mold. 

Every single story that we’ve published at FS last week is a story of embracing the challenges and breaking the mold. The businesses, and founders — Sheba, SWAP, Interactive Cares, MyCash Online, Shuttle — we’ve covered in our stories, have been trying to do exactly the same. All of them are taking risks in building a business from scratch or expanding into new verticals, territory or looking for new approaches to growth and expansion. It’s always a fascinating experience to document their journey. 

Let’s take a look at the stories we have published this week. First a message from our partner AmarLab on how AmarLab works. 

How AmarLab Works

Amarlab - how it works
Amarlab - how it works

AmarLab is one of the pioneers of at-home pathology test service providers in Bangladesh where patients can select a test and diagnostic center of their preference. They provide lab services for patients who face difficulty traveling to healthcare facilities for reasons including inaccessible transport, disability, old age, or busy schedules. From sample collection to testing to report delivery, AmarLab follows a safe and secured system to ensure high-quality service. AmarLab is currently available in Dhaka city, Savar, and Chittagong Metropolitan Area.

Taking AmarLab service is simple. Call their hotline number (09643445566), or go to AmarLab website, and book your necessary test. Learn more.

The making and ambition of Sheba: In conversation with Adnan Imtiaz Halim, Co-founder, and CEO, Sheba Platform Limited 

Sheba turned five in July last year. Began as an online service marketplace, it has evolved into an entirely different company with a controlled service marketplace and multiple B2B software products. Past years have been eventful for Sheba with expected and serendipitous turns and twists, which makes for an exciting story. In this interview with Sheba CEO Adnan Imtiaz Halim, we dive deep into Sheba’s journey, where the company stands today, its strategic ambition, and much more. 

Shuttle goes through rebranding as the company plots renewed growth push

Shuttle rebrands itself with a new version of app, a new logo and a new positioning. Launched in 2018, the startup popularized the concept of shared travel on daily commutes. The initial offerings included pick and drop services from Home to University for female students. But, a vertical, for men and office-goers, was introduced soon after in 2021. With the rebranding, the company tries to create its own category. We previously interviewed Shuttle founder Reyasat twice. 

Founder at Work with Rare Al Samir, Founder, and CEO, Interactive Cares

Dhaka-based edtech startup Interactive Cares operates at the intersection of skills development, test preparation, and competitive exams. The company collaborates with experts for creating courses and says it has experienced phenomenal growth in the past two years. 

In this interview with Mr. Samir, we learn about the origin and early days of the company, where the company stands today, its products and services, strategic ambition, and much more. 

Decoding SWAP’s business and re-commerce industry in Bangladesh with SWAP Founder and CEO Parvez Hossain

SWAP is a fascinating company and operates in an equally fascinating vertical — recommerce. We first featured SWAP in May 2021. The company has since evolved. It has raised a new round of investment — $1.25 million in seed funding, led by Accelerating Asia, expanded into three new verticals, acquired a minority stake in an ecommerce company called BDhotdeals, and doubled down on growth. 

In this interview with SWAP CEO Parvez Hossain, we discuss SWAP’s evolving business, operational dynamics and business fundamentals, strategic ambition, and future plans, and explore dynamics of the recommerce industry in Bangladesh, challenges and opportunities in the industry, and much more. 

Singaporean neo-bank IN Financial Technology acquires MyCash

IN Financial Technologies (INFT), a community-driven neo-Bank, headquartered in Singapore, announced in a press note last month that it has fully acquired MyCash, a Singapore-based international money transfer company focused on migrant workers. We interviewed MyCash Founder Mehedi in 2019. 

4 Founder Interviews On The Reality of Being a Founder and How to Start and Grow a Business in Bangladesh

Our latest collection of founder interviews, featuring founders of Halda Valley, Inspira, ToguMogu and Dorik, contains everything you need to know to start, build, run a startup, and actually enjoy it, including struggles of early days, how products and ideas evolve, what to avoid, how to navigate growth, and inspiration to keep you going and offers rare insights into personal growth, doing work that matters to us and much more.

Future Startup Marketing Solutions.

Connect with the most influential audience in business and tech in Bangladesh through content marketing and email newsletter promotion. Learn more here or simply reply to this email.

Other interesting things 

Behind the Monkey: The Story of Mailchimp’s Rise to Email Marketing Dominance. Link

Drivers are abandoning bike taxi apps for old-fashioned pickups in Bangladesh. Link

We're in Good Hands. Link (beautiful) 

Birkenstock: inside a $5bn brand. Link

Unilever Bangladesh CEO Interview. Link

Shopify’s Evolution. Link

Youtube cooking in Bangladesh. Link


Prop-tech startup Sheraspace introduces the Online Interior Design Consultation. Learn more.

AmarLab brings the diagnostic lab to the doorsteps of people. Learn more.

Green Grocery introduces grocery subscription service. Lean more.

Future Startup Marketing Services. Learn more.

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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