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Parvez Ahmad: Zaynax Health, the future of digital healthcare services, and management lessons 

Parvez Ahmad is the Chief Operating Officer of Zaynax Health. Before joining Zaynax, he worked at Grameenphone, Banglalink, and finally, digital healthcare startup Telenor Health (later rebranded to Digital Healthcare Solutions). Mr. Ahmad is a veteran in the fast-growing digital healthcare space in Bangladesh. 

Zaynax Health is a sister concern of Zaynax Group. The company started its official operation early this year and offers a long list of digital healthcare services, including online doctor consultation, healthcare packages, online medicine delivery, health mart, home diagnostics services, and so on. 

In this excellent interview with Mr. Ahmad, we talk about his path to what he is doing today, the making of Zaynax Health, the products and services it offers, the state of its operation today, and ambition going forward, and challenges in the digital healthcare space, the future of digital healthcare in Bangladesh, lessons he has learned from his journey so far and much more. 

Ruhul Kader: Thank you for agreeing to this interview. To begin with, can you please tell us briefly about Zaynax Health and your journey with the company? 

Parvez Ahmad: Zaynax Group has been investing in a few technology ventures in fintech and digital health. One of the ventures is Zaynax Health. Zaynax Health has been working in stealth for a while. However, we officially launched early this year. 

Towards the end of last year, Zaynax approached me about whether I would be interested in joining Zaynax Health as the Chief Operating Officer (COO). I was working for Telenor Health at the time. The position and the responsibilities were quite exciting and I decided to take the challenge. This is a challenging endeavor. There are chances that I might fail. But I thought that the risk was worth taking. 

Right after joining, we started working to put together initial operations including recruiting doctors, getting the NOC from the government, building the platform, setting up the call center, etc. We finally launched Zaynax Health on February 26, 2022.

We are one of the two health tech companies in the country that have a toll-free number for telemedicine. Our customers can call us free of charge. We have onboarded a group of excellent doctors on our platform. We are one of the largest platforms in the number of doctors. 

We provide a number of healthcare services. 24/7 doctor consultation via audio and video calls. Online medicine delivery. Health packages. We have partnerships with 250 hospitals and diagnostic centers, including United Hospital Ltd, Popular Diagnostic Center, Ibn Sina Hospital, etc. Our customers get 35%—40% discounts in these hospitals and diagnostic centers. 

For hospital admission, we provide up to BDT 25,000 cashback. Emergency healthcare expenses often put families into terrible financial distress. Our membership packages provide excellent benefits to our customers. For instance, we have a package that costs only BDT 200-250 and offers several excellent benefits, including cashback and discounts. 

Our health packages can help unburden medical costs for many people who can’t treat their diseases timely because they can not afford high hospital bills. It can make healthcare accessible to these people. We have designed these plans in the most cost-efficient manner. 

Ruhul: That’s excellent. I have several questions about Zaynax Health. Before that, I want to learn about you. Can you briefly tell us about yourself and your journey to what you are doing today? 

Parvez Ahmad: I passed my HSC from Cox’s Bazar Government College and then did my undergraduate from BRAC University. I started my career at Grameenphone as a customer relationship manager. I worked in that position for a year managing corporate customers. In seven months, I was made a team leader and responsible for a zone. After a year, I was transferred to the corporate sales department, where I worked for another year. 

After two years at Grameenphone, I joined Banglalink in the enterprise relationship management department in 2008. I worked in Banglalink for 3 years. In 2012, I joined their B2B business which was a big transition for me and had an excellent time working in the B2B business. When I eventually left Banglalink, I was the head of the Medium Corporate segment. 

In 2019, I left Banglalink and joined Telenor Health. I was looking for new experiences after years in the telecom industry. By that time, I worked in the Telecommunication sector for almost 15 years. I had a steady career growth with regular promotions and other perks but I was looking for something new. I enjoyed sales but I was also looking for a diversified experience with exposure to tech. When the opportunity presented itself, I joined Telenor Health as the Corporate Business Lead. 

I worked at Telenor Health for 3 years. I redesigned the corporate business completely. I introduced a new product for the banks and created a new opportunity for them. Almost all banks sell life insurance plans to their customers. Most of these life insurance plans are pretty conventional and customers rarely take them. 

From Telenor, we offered banks a plan where each of their cardholders could get unlimited doctor consultations 24/7 through Telenor Health for a small monthly fee. 8-10 renowned banks agreed and it changed the entire landscape of health insurance products in Bangladesh. 

Most people care about immediate gratification instead of waiting for 30 years to get a benefit.

After working for three years at Telenor Health, when Zaynax Health approached me, I took the challenge. We are a new player in the market, a couple of months old. But we have received excellent responses within a short time. We have introduced several fascinating healthcare products and are working hard to provide comprehensive healthcare solutions to our customers. 

Bangladesh has a poor doctor-patient ratio. Six doctors for every 10,000 patients. The ratio is disastrous in rural areas. Often people directly go to pharmacies, tell their symptoms, and get medicines without prescriptions. It puts a patient’s health at great risk. 

We have introduced a product called Doctor Sharabela to address this challenge where pharmacies can offer doctor consultation services to their customers through the Zaynax app for a nominal fee. Users can buy a BDT 79 monthly package from their nearby pharmacy and access unlimited doctor consultations via telemedicine i.e. video and audio calls 24/7. The product is already available in several hundred pharmacies in Dhaka. We are now working to scale it across the country. 

We are educating pharmacies to tell patients to take doctor consultations through our platform which is only 79 BDT/month and takes only a minute to buy. 

It is an inexpensive product that can address a lot of healthcare challenges people face and greatly increase access to quality healthcare services. Bangladesh has some 125000 pharmacies across the country. If people can access doctor consultations from these pharmacies, it can transform our healthcare system. 

Ruhul: You work as the COO of Zayanx Health. Can you briefly tell us about your work at Zayanx, your work philosophy, and how you approach and manage work and people? 

Parvez Ahmad: As the COO of Zayanx Health, I’m responsible for the operations. We have separate teams for all our different functions. While I work with almost all the team, teams operate pretty much independently. I just check with everyone once a day or in a while to take the pulse of things, understand whether there are any challenges, and generally encourage people. 

I believe in teamwork. You can’t do everything alone. My approach to work is working together. We have an open-door policy at the company. Anyone can come and discuss with me anything whenever they need me. 

The culture is collaborative. Decisions are made collectively. We discuss in the team, come up with ideas and make the decisions. 

We offer a lot of freedom and flexibility to our people. Today’s leadership style and organizational culture are different from anytime before. We have people who have experience of working in different multinational companies before joining here. We are competing with all these companies for keeping these talents. So naturally, we pay attention to our culture so that we can maintain a high employee retention rate and keep our people motivated. We want to be an employee-friendly company. 

Zayanx Health
Zayanx Health

Ruhul: We touched briefly about the products and services Zayanx Health offers. Can you please elaborate on that and tell us more about your products and services? A brief description of each product will be great. 

Parvez Ahmad: We offer both B2B and B2C products. B2B products are customized based on customer needs. The product type and price vary. Customers can take one service such as doctor consultation or medicine delivery or health package or they can take multiple services at once.

I mentioned several services we offer before. Along with that, in B2C, we have monthly and annual health packages. For monthly packages, the price ranges from BDT 249 to 349. For annual packages, it ranges from 1499 BDT to 6000 BDT. 

Let me explain how these packages work. 

For instance, take the yearly package that costs 1499 BDT. In this package, we offer an unlimited number of doctor calls all year round for you and your family members. We are the only health tech company in Bangladesh that offers 24/7 video consultations. For video consultation, simply download our app, select the doctor call option, select the video call section and the doctor will pick up your call. 

In addition, you get upto 20% discounts when you go to one of our partner hospitals and diagnostic centers such as Ibn Sina Hospital, Popular Diagnostic Center, United Hospital Ltd, etc. On top of it, we provide a BDT 50,000 cashback in case of hospitalization. If you get admitted to the hospital, we will give you 25,000 BDT cash back twice, totaling 50,000 BDT. For COVID-19, we are paying 5000 BDT isolation coverage. 

Under the package, we give 500 BDT up to four times a year for outpatient visits. Outpatient visits are very common. We are even covering 2000 BDT for that for our users. 

Anyone whose age ranges from 18 to 65 can buy this package. Our packages have cashback offers ranging from 50,000 to 200,000 BDT based on the products.

Ruhul: You offer 24/7 doctor consultation. Can patients choose the doctors themselves or do you have a select list of doctors for that?

Parvez Ahmad: Both options are available. We have in-house doctors who provide regular medical consultation services. When you make a call for a doctor consultation, usually one of our available doctors will take your call and serve you. All these are qualified doctors. We maintain patient call records to ensure transparency and service. Since we maintain call records, our doctors can see your previous call records and attend to you accordingly. These are our regular doctors. 

If you want to consult experienced specialists, we have a separate platform for that where you can get a consultation from specialists for fees ranging from 700 BDT to 1500 BDT. It is similar to any other online doctor consultation platform where you can choose a doctor based on your needs, make the payment and get the consultation over a video call. 

Ruhul: The specialist doctor consultation service is an independent service.

Parvez Ahmad:  We have 24/7 doctor calls included in health packages. To consult a specialist doctor, you can do so using our app but it is not included in our packages. 

Most of our health issues are treatable through telemedicine. Our objective is to help our customers to get doctor consultations 24/7 for these minor issues. For serious health conditions or when they need to see a specialist, they can do it on our platform separately or go to a hospital for special attention. 

Ruhul: It means you sell packages and also run an independent telemedicine platform.

Parvez Ahmad: Yes. Our toll-free number for telemedicine service is 08008880000. We have 35 doctors who are in charge of our 24/7 toll-free service and who attend calls of our customers throughout the day.  

On the other hand, to get consultations from a specific doctor, a user will have to contact the doctor directly through our app and make the payment beforehand.

Ruhul: What are your most popular products?

Parvez Ahmad: Two of our most popular products are 1499 BDT/year and 79 BDT/month packages. Both of these packages are affordable and provide great value for our customers. 

If you consider 1499 BDT per year for all the services and benefits I mentioned, it is very affordable. The same is true for 79 BDT/month for unlimited consultations from doctors.

Ruhul: How do you work with the doctors? 

Parvez Ahmad: Our in-house doctors spend at least 4 hours per day with us. They are salaried. You may call it a full-time engagement for many of these doctors. It is convenient for doctors who are currently studying for higher education like FCPS Part I or Part II. It allows them the opportunity to work while studying. They are our full-time doctors.

For senior doctors, we sign agreements with them. They give us certain time slots when they are available. We add these details to the profile of the doctor on our platforms. Patients can book appointments with these doctors based on their availability. 

Ruhul: The 79 BDT/month package through pharmacies is an innovative idea. Because in rural areas most people get consultations from quack doctors who do not necessarily have any institutional education. What you are doing is helping people to get consultations from doctors while not replacing anything. And it helps pharmacies since most pharmacies do not have doctors.

Parvez Ahmad: There are some 125,000 pharmacies in Bangladesh. Only 2%-3% of the pharmacies have doctors. In pharmacies in rural areas, the doctors who usually sit with pharmacies are mostly quacks who do not have any formal medical degree. We want to address these challenges and make quality healthcare accessible across the country. We are partnering with different organizations to make our services available to more people. 

Ruhul: How does your relationship with pharmacies work?

Parvez Ahmad: We have a partnership team that is responsible for onboarding partners including pharmacies. To work with pharmacies, we give them the details of our product and how they will benefit from it in the form of commission and all that. Once a pharmacy agrees to work with us, we sign a one-page agreement to start things. 

Our partnership with the pharmacies is commission based. They get paid their commission instantly when a customer uses our product through them. So far we have onboarded 400 pharmacies.

Ruhul: Can you give us some numbers regarding partners and customers you are serving currently?

Parvez Ahmad: We are a quite young company, having been in the market just a couple of months. However, we have so far received excellent responses from the customers. In the first two months, we served some 2000 calls. We have 15000 customers who are taking our services, which proves that as a telemedicine company we have done a fantastic job. Our target is to get to at least 200,000 customers by the end of this year and 500,000 paid customers by 2023.

We see onboarding customers under our membership plans as a huge achievement. Health insurance penetration is quite insignificant in Bangladesh compared to any other market. For instance, in India, health insurance penetration is far better than us. Our health package products aim to change this. We want more people to avail these cost-efficient healthcare services. Our ambition is to take our membership plans and the 24/7 doctor consultation to everyone country-wide. 

We want to make healthcare services accessible to more people, especially people from the lower-income class. Many middle and low-income people do not go to the doctor because of medical bills. Due to delayed treatment, minor health issues turn into major health issues. To ensure that people can afford the right treatment at the right moment, we are working to introduce more interesting services in the coming days. 

Parvez Ahmad: We have already launched the online medicine delivery service. It has seen excellent responses. To give an example, in 15 days of launch, we have received more than 800 orders.

Zayanx Health
Zayanx Health

Ruhul: How does your medicine delivery service work?

Parvez Ahmad: We have strategic partners we work with to execute the service who manage the inventory and delivery. However, we manage everything ourselves and ensure quality for our customers. handling this part ourselves. Anyone can order medicine from any part of Bangladesh through our app. Within Dhaka, we deliver medicine within a day, and outside Dhaka, we deliver medicine within 24-48 hours based on the location.

Ruhul: What about the lab test service?

Parvez Ahmad: For the lab test, we are taking a similar approach. But since customers buy the service from us, we take the entire responsibility to provide the best service, despite having a strategic partner.

Ruhul: You are operating in multiple verticals which include telemedicine, health packages, lab tests, medicine delivery, etc.

Parvez Ahmad: We are also working to introduce a few products in the fitness vertical. We plan to introduce services like Yoga classes, fitness trainer consultations, etc. 

We are also launching a new initiative called Health Mart where people will find authentic healthcare products. Finding authentic products is a challenge in Bangladesh. It is more so in the healthcare sector. With Health Mart, we hope to address that. 

Ruhul: That’s interesting. Healthcare is an integrated service. If you consult a doctor, you will also need lab tests and buy medicine once the doctor gives you a prescription. It is natural to get to multiple verticals. 

Parvez Ahmad: Exactly. Our ambition is to provide a 360-degree healthcare solution to our customers that starts with doctor consultation and ends with health insurance.

Parvez Ahmad: Yes. We are not here to make money alone. Healthcare is sacred work. We view it accordingly. Our Managing Director, Mr. Zaeem Ahmed, told us that we are not into this for profit alone. The goal is very different. We want to build a sustainable business so that we can continue serving people. But making money is not our primary goal. We want to make each of our verticals sustainable so that we can grow our platform even bigger.

Ruhul: You have been working in digital healthcare service for quite a long time and every vertical in this sector is big and comes with its challenges. What are the challenges and benefits of operating in multiple verticals at once?

Parvez Ahmad: First of all, we are not a startup. We are part of a group of companies, which enables us to operate in multiple verticals at once. We have separate teams to look after each of these verticals. 

Everyone has their KPIs and they are responsible for that alone. At the end of the month, you just need to worry about your KPI. If you have achieved your KPIs, you are good. My job as a leader is to ensure that everyone has the necessary logistical support for doing their work. 

For startups, it is hard to operate in more than one vertical. Because they are always in a resource crunch. As a result, they can’t invest in several verticals at once. It gets costly and difficult to manage. 

If you look at the current market, individual digital health verticals are quite small. It is hard to create a sizable business operating only in any one of these verticals. It does not make sense if you want to build a large business. 

Moreover, when you are working on multiple verticals, it not only allows you to build a big business, but you can also take advantage of the integrated nature of the healthcare business and the various partnerships. 

Ruhul: Digital healthcare is interesting operationally. I’m trying to understand the dynamics of the business, what are some of the major cost-centers where you have to invest?

Parvez Ahmad: Technology is a major cost center. We have just started and are building out our tech. So we are investing a lot in our tech stacks. The next major cost center is marketing and communication. We are working with various partners and onboarding new partners such as pharmacies. These partnerships are some of the areas we are investing in now. Onboarding some of these partners is quite expensive. However, as we scale, we believe our cost will come down. 

Parvez Ahmad: Our focus now is growth and we have been doing excellent there. Our MoM growth rate has been over 350%, partly driven by our various partnerships and collaborations. We did not expect this growth rate. This is a business where you have to invest first for growth. Given the nature of the market, it is an investment heavy business. We have already invested a significant amount of money. However, we understand this business. We are happy about our trajectory. We believe we can get to a positive ROI in the next 3 years if we can continue with this growth rate.

Parvez Ahmad: We are selling some 200-250 packages daily. 

Ruhul: What has contributed to your excellent monthly growth?

Parvez Ahmad: Our partnerships with different organizations and pharmacies have played a significant role. We have focused on both markets: B2B and B2C. It has helped us to quickly grow our number. For example, we have recently partnered with Nagad where Nagad users can get up to 20% discounts on our service. Nagad has 60 million users. 

We have already onboarded 400 pharmacies. The number is growing every day. We are generating sales through these pharmacies every day. Partnerships have been one of the most effective growth hacks for us. 

Ruhul: What are the most important customer pain points in telemedicine?

Parvez Ahmad: After the pandemic, many people do not want to go to the hospital for doctor consultations. In many cases, we go to doctors for health problems that are treatable through telemedicine. In Bangladesh, going to hospitals is time-consuming, especially in Dhaka, where you have to spend long hours in traffic.

We are trying to make people understand that they can take the initial doctor consultations using our platform if it does not require an in-person visit. This is usually the approach in many parts of the world. 

However, people generally prefer in-person consultations with doctors because there are perceived benefits of in-person treatment. Communication is better. Seeing a person face to face has certain advantages. So people expect the intimacy and clear communication advantage of the in-person visit when it comes to the online consultation. 

To that end, being able to communicate clearly with the doctor is something many patients look for in telemedicine. We think it can be achieved to some degree if the doctors put extra effort into their communication skills and be a little more attentive. We regularly train our doctors so that they can understand patients better. 

We are helping our customers to avoid the challenges of an in-person consultation. We are also solving the problem of access which is a challenge in many instances. After that, if patients need further treatment or in-person consultation after consulting our doctors, our doctors suggest doctors or hospitals they can visit in appropriate cases. 

Ruhul: How big is your team now? Can you tell us about culture at Zayanx Health? 

Parvez Ahmad: We started with a team of two people. Today, we are a team of 49 and growing. 

Culture is critical for us. I believe culture is critical for people retention and productivity. Retention is critical for every company. Without good employee retention growth is difficult. If your people don’t stay in your company for 3-4 years, you will never be able to scale your business.

I have experience working in different multinational companies for almost 17 years. Many of my colleagues here also have worked in different multinational companies. So we are at the same level and pace. 

We pay a lot of attention to our HR. Usually, local startups hardly focus on HR in the early days. As a result, the organizational culture doesn’t grow properly. We have created an HR team from the beginning. And HR is given a lot of power and authority. People are empowered. 

Zayanx Health
Zayanx Health

Ruhul: What are the challenges for the company now?

Parvez Ahmad: Telemedicine is still a new concept in Bangladesh. The market is very big but it will take some time for the market to mature. 

I don’t see any particular challenge in the market. One thing is that we have to educate the market. 

In some cases, we have seen that customers are being misled. They are not being informed properly about the products they are purchasing. So I would like to request other companies in this niche to educate their customers properly. We must maintain the trust of customers. Otherwise, it will create challenges for everyone in the market. 

Ruhul: Digital health market across markets is showing certain patterns. For instance, in Vietnam, several telemedicine companies are now also getting into in-person consultation services by establishing physical clinics after operating in the digital health sector for several years. They are building clinics or consultation centers. What are the major challenges in the digital health services market in Bangladesh?

Parvez Ahmad: I would like to use the word opportunities instead of challenges. Digitization has been a national priority for us. Our government has been investing in digitization for a long time now. Our work has a synergy with our national ambition. 

Our market has changed a lot over the years. Take, for instance, there was a time when e-commerce companies used to deal with some 4000-5000 orders a day. It has since changed. Today, we have large ecommerce companies that are delivering tens of thousands of orders daily. We have seen similar changes in the edtech space and several other verticals. And I believe it will happen in healthcare as well. 

Four years ago when I started working with Telenor Health, we used to get 100-150 calls per day. By the time I left Telenor Health, the number reached 4000-5000 a day. Today, more and more people are taking telemedicine services.

The digital healthcare services market has come a long way. The government is now working on a telemedicine policy, which I hope will be made public soon. These developments will be excellent for the industry. Stakeholders from across the industry see the benefits of the digitization of healthcare. So I believe it will happen. 

There are many upsides to digital healthcare and services like telemedicine. For instance, we have excellent doctors in Dhaka but only people who live in Dhaka can access them. If you are living in a remote village, you can’t see a specialist in Dhaka, which is unfortunate. Consequently, many people either have to travel to Dhaka, which can be quite expensive, or they can’t access the best treatment. Telemedicine can play a transformational role in this regard. 

With the power of digital healthcare, you can make quality healthcare accessible to a lot more people who currently can’t access quality healthcare. On the one hand, we are helping doctors to utilize their free time by providing consultations online, and on the other hand, we are helping people to get quality healthcare service online.

Ruhul: How big is the digital healthcare market in Bangladesh? Where do you see the market going? 

Parvez Ahmad: Healthcare is a huge market, currently valued at around 8.4 billion BDT. The telemedicine market is worth 3.2 billion BDT. We need more players in the digital healthcare sector, which will help grow vertical and allow us to serve more people. 

Parvez Ahmad: Digital healthcare is under-penetrated. The penetration is less than 5%. It means we have a long way to go. In the next 3 years, our goal is to own a specific market share and create greater awareness about telemedicine in the market. 

Every industry requires a certain time to grow and become stable. The digital healthcare industry in Bangladesh is still pretty young. We are focusing on the services like telemedicine that have been around for a long time. Once we see the services that we are offering now are doing well, we will think about how we will diversify our services and move forward. We want to take telemedicine to more people outside of urban pockets. 

If you think about people living in remote areas of Bangladesh such as Sundarban, Moheshkhali, Barguna, etc. It is very hard for them to get quality healthcare service. In many Upazila Health Complexes, there are only 1 or 2 doctors, while there are thousands of patients who need treatments. Through telemedicine, we can help people to deal with minor health issues, so that doctors can give more time to people who have serious health problems. This will also help us to reduce the huge amount of pressure doctors have to face in their work.

Ruhul: Telemedicine has been around for a while and the value proposition appears quite clear. Considering the advantages, it should have become mainstream by now, which it isn’t. Are you happy with the progress telemedicine and other digital healthcare services made over the years in Bangladesh? 

Parvez Ahmad: Of course, it could have been better. The challenge has been a lack of understanding of the market. There was no precedence in the market about how digital health works. We had to figure out everything by doing. 

When we started our journey in the digital healthcare market of Bangladesh, we didn’t know anything. We had no idea how much we should charge for an online doctor consultation session, how much we should charge for a phone call, etc. Although there were some international standards that we took advantage of, each local market has its character and you have to adhere to that. 

Since we did not have any precedent, we had to start from scratch. We had to learn gradually. The past several years had been spent learning about the market. Learning about what works and what does not. Then educating the market. The coronavirus pandemic has helped greatly with the awareness part but we have still a lot to learn about the market and local benchmarks. 

Over these years, we have learned about the market. We now understand where to focus. Understanding the gap in a market is the most important part of cracking that market. We have been able to do that. We have learned where we need to pay attention to and what are the key challenges in this market. We now have to work to address these challenges and fill these gaps. 

Ruhul: What are the key priorities for Zayanx Health for the next 3-4 years?

Parvez Ahmad: We want to build a user-friendly platform that our users will love. We want to take our service to as many people as possible. We plan to make our product available in all 125,000 pharmacies across the country by 2024.

We want to provide some necessary services at an affordable cost such as annual health checkups. Health checkups are common in advanced markets. But not so in Bangladesh. In many instances, it is quite expensive. We want to change that. We want to make health checkups accessible to a greater number of people by making them affordable. 

We want to grow our medicine delivery service. We directly work with pharmaceutical companies, which means we can deliver authentic medicines to our customers. 

We want to establish these three things in the market in the next 3-4 years.

Ruhul: How do your B2B products work? Do you partner with companies where you offer price benefits to the employees of your partner companies? Or is it something where companies pay you for the healthcare services of their employees and they pay you accordingly? 

Parvez Ahmad: Companies pay us since we offer a significantly reduced price for the companies. Our B2B packages are customized for individual companies. However, you need to have a minimum number of users, which is 10. If you have a minimum of 10 users in your company, you can take our B2B products. We currently have over 25 customers who use our B2B services. 

Parvez Ahmad:  Zayanx Health is the sister concern of the Zayanx Group. We are launching several tech businesses. One is Zayanx Health. Soon we will launch an e-commerce platform called Zdrop. We have already applied for a digital wallet and payment gateway license called Zcash. We are working on three different technology companies under the Zayanx Group. 

Ruhul: How does the pricing work? How do you price a doctor consultation session? 

Parvez Ahmad: At the beginning, we had no idea how much the pricing should be. After a certain stage, we calculated the number of calls and the amount of revenue we make from them to establish a price. We also analyzed the variation of the reasons for the calls and how many times a patient usually calls. So you calculate all your costs to serve your customer and then back-calculate that to come to pricing. 

Ruhul: What are some of the biggest lessons from your journey so far?

Parvez Ahmad: Dedicate yourself to whatever work you are doing. Be honest with yourself and others. During the days I worked in the call center of telcos, I had to deal with difficult customers. But I never mistreated a customer. I never cut corners. I have always tried to stay true to my responsibilities and do my work the best I can. It pays off. 

My work philosophy is simple: maintain your integrity no matter what and do as best as you can. When you are honest to yourself, you can see how you are doing and will not need anyone else to tell you to do this or that. 

Ruhul: Advice for young people who are getting started today. 

Parvez Ahmad: Know yourself better before starting a career. Understand what you enjoy and don’t. It will help you choose the right career path. 

First, learn about yourself and what type of work you enjoy. Then spend a certain amount of time on that work to become successful. You should work in an industry for at least a year to understand it better.

Don’t switch jobs frequently. Some people think it will help them to get promotions faster. But for a recruiter, it is a red flag. So whatever position you are working on, work there for a certain period.

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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