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Building a halal investment platform and the inevitable ebbs and flows of founder journey with Shabab Shahriar Khan and Muhammad Saeedul Alam, Founders, biniyog.io

Shabab Shahriar Khan and Muhammad Saeedul Alam are the founders of biniyog.io, a Dhaka-based halal investment platform that connects regular people to profitable businesses.

Finding meaningful investment opportunities can be a challenge in Bangladesh. It is a complex problem exacerbated by a lack of personal finance education and investment knowledge, a lack of accessible investment opportunities, and a crisis of trust. If you’re looking for reliable halal and Shariah-compliant investment opportunities, it can further limit your options. Shabab and Saeed said it is a challenge they faced themselves — “we could not find any easy and transparent way to make halal and Shariah-compliant investments in Bangladesh.” So they decided to build a solution and biniyog.io was born.

Biniyog.io is still in its early days — the company just turned one last month. The company says it has worked with some hundred retail investors and a handful of businesses. It’s a relatively new vertical. There are various infrastructural and policy challenges. But the problem is real. And it is a fascinating space that offers genuine opportunities. 

I recently had an opportunity to speak with Shabab and Saeed. The duo comes from interesting backgrounds. A BUET-trained engineer, Shabab worked for five years as a software engineer before starting biniyog.io. Saeed studied finance at IBA, Dhaka University, and then worked in finance in the telecom industry. We talk about how they met and came up with the idea of biniyog.io and got started, their motivation behind starting the company, what biniyog.io does, its business model, challenges, and ambition going forward. We discuss how biniyog.io ensures investment safety, and how it assesses companies and policy status in the space in which it operates, and we reflect on the challenges founders face and their lessons in venture building. 

The interview is fascinating in its entirety. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed doing it. Build great things! 


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Ruhul Kader  

Thank you for agreeing to speak with me. I want to begin by learning about you. Can you tell us about your background? 

Shabab Shahriar Khan 

I did O levels and A levels from Mastermind and then went to BUET where I studied CSE. Then I worked as a software engineer for about 5 years before starting biniyog.io.

Muhammad Saeedul Alam 

My background is in business. I graduated from IBA, Dhaka University where I studied finance. Afterward, I worked in the telecom industry for six years.

Ruhul Kader  

When did you start biniyog.io? How did the company come into being? Can you please tell us what you do and a sort of background and overview of the company? 

Muhammad Saeedul Alam  

We started in 2021. It has been a year since we launched. 

Shabab Shahriar Khan 

As we discussed we were service holders working full-time. We come from the same problem that we couldn't find Halal investment options easily. It usually takes a lot of time to find these opportunities. And most people don't have that sort of time. 

That was one of the motivations for starting biniyog.io. We were planning to do something. Exploring a few ideas. And then thought this is a major problem for us and for many people we spoke with. In that sense, we're our own customers. 

So far we're a bootstrapped company. We're a small team. In terms of fundraising, we're in the middle of raising a pre-seed round. 

Ruhul Kader  

What are the services that you offer? Can you briefly tell us about what the company exactly does? 

Shabab Shahriar Khan

We serve two sets of users. On the one side, it is the investors — people who are looking for Halal investment options or in general investment options that offer good returns. The other part of this is the small businesses that raise investments through us. 

When we started working on the idea and studied the market, we came to learn that there is a huge gap in small business financing. It is difficult for small businesses to access financing from traditional sources because of various requirements such as mortgages and extensive documentation. In many instances, these processes are cumbersome and stressful. That’s how we came to the idea that we could build an ecosystem where both parties can benefit from each other. So these businesses are the second part of our platform. 

We provide two services: an investment platform for people who want to invest and a financing platform for businesses who are looking for financing. We are sort of a match-making platform between the two. 

Ruhul Kader

That's interesting. It means if I'm an investor, I'm investing in small businesses that work with you. There are a couple of companies that are sort of working on addressing similar challenges for different segments of users. For instance, several agri-tech companies are working to solve financing problems that farmers face. So you have, on the one hand, farmers who are seeking financing and on the other end, you have retail investors who are interested in putting money in. I know some of these agri-tech platforms, so that's an example I can use. They usually don't directly give cash to the farmers. Instead, they give farmers inputs and other things that farmers need. And these companies have field workers who work with farmers to ensure that they get their money back. Many of these companies are now trying to work with banks and financial institutions. For you, how does the entire process work? How do you work with investors and small businesses? 

Muhammad Saeedul Alam  

The main contract that we use is a ‘sale contract. When a business applies, we look for the sort of products and assets the business requires. For example, a garment manufacturing company is raising funds for buying fabric. The contract says we help raise five lakhs to purchase fabric of five lakhs on behalf of investors. We then buy the products on behalf of the investors, add an X% markup and sell to the business on a credit. The business then gets on a repayment schedule where it repays the investors in small installments or big installments over a period of time. 

The challenge, however, is that it is hard to find businesses that maintain their books properly, which makes it difficult for us to evaluate a good business. The ideal scenario is that the businesses maintain proper accounting and proper books that make it easy to judge their business and creditworthiness. 

Ruhul Kader

Since you are a platform for halal investment opportunities, does it raise the question of shariah compliance when you promise a fixed return? And how do you ensure Shariah compliance issues? 

Shabab Shahriar Khan

Not exactly - in fact, it's mandatory to make it fixed in some cases. It depends on how the contract is formulated. You mentioned Mufti Yusuf Sultan early in our conversation. We have been working with IFA Consultancy from the very beginning. We ensure that the businesses that we feature follow models that are shariah compliant. The other part is that the contracts that we formulate are sharia compliant. We go to great lengths to ensure that the conditions are shariah compliant.

Ruhul Kader 

How do you generate revenue?

Shabab Shahriar Khan

At the moment, we take a service charge from the businesses for helping them raise funds. For investors, we don’t charge anything yet. However, it can change in the future depending on the services we provide them. That said, for any change we introduce, we will always be transparent.

Ruhul Kader

You’ve been operating for a year now, what kind of response are you seeing from the market?

Shabab Shahriar Khan  

The response has been pretty good actually. We have been growing purely on word of mouth with zero paid marketing as of now. 

There is a genuine demand here. We just have to reach people and build trust. There is a genuine lack of trust because people have been scammed in the past, which we understand.

Muhammad Saeedul Alam

Our retention has been excellent. A lot of our investors have reinvested with us and we expect it to increase as more investments mature. Businesses that have raised through us once also come back for raising their second and third investments. It proves that we’re doing something right and our users are happy with our service. The response has been excellent. 

Ruhul Kader 

Saeed bhai briefly mentioned that small businesses don’t maintain proper accounts which makes it difficult to judge their eligibility and the state of their business. That's a common complaint we hear when we speak with banks or there are a couple of companies that sort of work in SMEs. How do you address that challenge? How do you judge companies? Do you have a process for that? How do you ensure investors' safety? If some businesses fail to return the investment, what happens?

Shabab Shahriar Khan

That's a very good question. We have an assessment mechanism and risk-grading mechanism that we use internally to objectively evaluate and assess businesses. The risk management part is baked into the whole assessment process in multiple layers. 

Firstly, we only cater to businesses that have been running for at least a year. So these are not idea-stage businesses. These businesses have some proven and consistent revenue. That's the primary screening before they apply. 

The real assessment begins after the application. We check their business health, financials, bank statements, supporting documents, viability, conduct with suppliers and existing clients, business KYC, legal documents, and various other factors. 

We also assess the macroeconomic factors in that particular industry. Then we have a way of condensing all this information into a risk score. Based on that score we have a cutoff point, whether a business is eligible or not for getting financing through our platform. 

That's the primary assessment phase. 

After that, we sign legal agreements with the business on behalf of investors. Investors can also sign agreements themselves separately if they want. We ensure that investors can sign legal contracts on stamp paper with the businesses they are investing in. We take security checks from businesses, which can be used legally if they breach the contract. These are some of the ways through which risk is mitigated. 

Once a business successfully raises an investment through us, we regularly talk to them and monitor them. We’ve built a feedback loop to ensure a smooth flow of information, which allows us to supervise these businesses on a higher cadence. For example, if a business misses an installment, we know that it is not a good sign, so we recalibrate our monitoring process. 

We have also developed processes for investors to reduce their risk exposure. The minimum investment that we cater to at the moment is BDT 10,000 — you can invest a minimum of BDT 10,000. We plan to further reduce the minimum investment size at some point. We encourage investors to diversify the risk by investing in multiple businesses instead of investing in one or two businesses. 

We don't allow one investor to contribute much of their funds to one business. It reduces their exposure to risk from that one particular business. We encourage investors to diversify their portfolios and diversify risks. 

Do you want to add anything Saeed? 

Muhammad Saeedul Alam

I think all the points have been covered. I just want to add that we can mitigate risk to a certain extent but we can't entirely eliminate risk. There will always be some risk, which is the case for any investment. But we work hard to minimize risk for our investors as much as we can. 

We spend a fair amount of time on investor awareness. When an investor first registers on our website, we call and speak with them to understand whether the investor understands how the entire process works and the risk involved. We’re transparent in everything we do. We communicate with our investors and businesses clearly what they are dealing with. 

Shabab Shahriar Khan  

I want to add one more thing: we share everything clearly and transparently. You will learn everything there is to learn before investing. For example, we share all the findings about a business from our assessment process along with the profile of the business on our platform and all our communication for that business. We share the positives and also all the risks that we see for the business. Investors can see all these details on our platform before making an investment decision. 

Ruhul Kader

So investors can make an informed decision. Can you tell us about your traction in the sense of the number of companies and investors you’ve worked with so far, etc? 

Shabab Shahriar Khan 

As I said earlier, we’re seeing pretty good traction. We’ve worked with over 100 investors so far who have made investments through our platform. On the business end, it's basically what you see in the platform. We’ve so far seen excellent retention on both sides. 

Ruhul Kader 

You said your growth is mostly driven by word of mouth. You don't do much marketing. Then and again you certainly have an approach to reaching out to both sides of your platform, how do you do that? 

Shabab Shahriar Khan

On the business end, we're exploring partnerships so that we can find good business to finance. We have a few partnerships in the pipeline that will make it easier for us to reach more businesses that are looking to access financing.

On the investor end, while it is mostly word of mouth at this moment, we're also trying out other avenues such as social media, newsletters, etc. And a lot of people convert from these efforts.

Ruhul Kader

Are there any regulatory requirements for a business like yours? Finance is a highly regulated industry. It's difficult to do almost anything. Is there any regulatory framework for what you do? Do you, say, have/need permission from Bangladesh Bank or any other authority?

Shabab Shahriar Khan

We are fully compliant with existing company regulations like registration, taxes, etc. We also try our best to educate the users we serve regarding compliance. We help investors deal with income taxes by connecting them to industry experts and enforce businesses to be compliant by making sure they have updated trade licenses.

The industry we are operating in is quite an innovative space, especially in Bangladesh. There are regulations in our neighboring countries such as India, probably Pakistan as well, and Malaysia. In Bangladesh, it's still a nascent industry. From what we understand, the Bangladesh Bank officials are aware of this and they do have some plans. I was reading an article recently, where the chief economist of Bangladesh Bank mentioned that they have plans for future financing products and he particularly mentioned crowdfunding. At the moment, however, it's sort of an unchartered territory — much like mobile financial services (bKash) and ride-sharing (Pathao, Uber) in the early stages, or e-commerce until 2021.

All in all, we are constantly in touch with policymakers and would love to assist them in new policy developments as one of the leaders in this nascent industry.

Ruhul Kader

You currently deal with one asset class, do you plan to diversify going forward and go into other asset classes? We now have several Islamic mutual funds and various other asset classes. 

Shabab Shahriar Khan

Difficult to tell at the moment. We have more plans that we can explore at one time. We have two sets of users. We can expand both ways to cater to more types of investors and we can also cater to more types of businesses. 

We may explore other opportunities in future but at the moment, we're focusing on this particular aspect of the business. 

Ruhul Kader

You do a lot of different things to manage risk and ensure safety including assessment and monitoring. These are expensive to do. Even financial institutions find many of these things expensive to do. Consequently, many banks don't invest in SMEs. From the P&L perspective, what are the major cost centers for you and where does the revenue come from, and does unit economics make sense? 

Shabab Shahriar Khan

Yes. Right now a lot of things are not automated for us. We have plans to and we can improve in all these areas which will bring down our costs and help us scale more efficiently. 

Muhammad Saeedul Alam 

We see a healthy unit economics. But we have to scale to see things more clearly.

Shabab Shahriar Khan 

We do need to automate a few things. The bottleneck here is of course the assessment process. We do need to work there as much as possible. But it's possible to work with positive unit economics. We’re very much a healthy business. 

Ruhul Kader

What are the challenges for the company now?

Shabab Shahriar Khan

Since we cater to two sets of users, sometimes in the past finding good businesses was a challenge and sometimes it was investors. For instance, we now have a good pipeline of businesses, but we need to reach out to more investors. Since we don't have that sort of marketing spend, this is a challenge. 

Ruhul Kader 

You said you’re in the middle of raising a pre-seed investment. So far, you have been financing the business yourself. 

Shabab Shahriar Khan 

Yes. We started with a small capital. It is an asset-light business. The opex is mainly salaries, office expenses, and assessment-related expenses. We’ll use the investment to finance innovation and growth and to scale the business. For the business to sustain itself, it can run on a minimal investment. 

Ruhul Kader

I'm asking the trust question again because this is a huge issue in Bangladesh. Historically investors have suffered different iterations of the same problem — invested money in some funds/assets and then funds went away with their money. This remains a problem in the country. When something like that happens in the market, it creates a problem of trust for the entire industry. You mentioned several initiatives to ensure investor safety. I’m asking this again for several reasons. One is from the regulatory perspective, companies that operate in this space don't need any legal permission from Bangladesh Bank or any other entities, which is good in the sense that it allows innovation to flourish, otherwise people will not try new things and innovation will not happen. At the same time, it's a risk because bad players can easily enter and do things that could push the entire industry backward. How do you see that? And how do you ensure that in the long run investors do not get affected negatively? 

Shabab Shahriar Khan 

You're asking how we ensure that investors trust us or how we ensure that investors are safe. 

Ruhul Kader 

It’s the same. Investors, who invest with you, how do you ensure the safety of their money? 

Shabab Shahriar Khan

Our risk management policy is solely focused on solving this particular problem. There could be risks that investors are exposed to just because of the businesses that they invest in. One important thing to note here is that a primary difference between interest-based schemes and halal investments is that investors are aware of possible risks associated and invest with that in mind. So there are some risks involved. As I said, we have built policies and processes to minimize these risks. 

The other point here is scamming people which is not related to anything, it's just ill-intent. For that part, we have measures like rigorous due diligence of the business, legal contracts and security checks, and additional similar security measures. We’re always looking to improve these measures as we grow. In general, it's a tough question to answer just because of the ecosystem and the society, you have a lot of these challenges. 

Shabab Shahriar Khan 

What we can do I think is we can find the best businesses and we can ensure the best compliance practices. We can ensure transparency across the process. That's really what we can do. And we’ve been doing it. 

In general, this is a collective issue that customers face and can be addressed with interventions from the related parties, and government bodies.

Ruhul Kader

Both of you come from excellent professional backgrounds. You had good careers. What happened? Why did you decide to leave your secure jobs and start your own company? 

Shabab Shahriar Khan

I always wanted to explore entrepreneurship. Even back when I was in college and university, I always had this plan that somewhere down the line I would pursue entrepreneurship. COVID sort of made things faster. But yeah, I've always wanted to start something. It was just about finding something that I'm passionate about. 

The problem we’re solving now is a problem that I'm solving for myself. It is purposeful from the religious and social perspective — doing something impactful that impacts people and society in general. So that's where my motivation comes from.

Muhammad Saeedul Alam

My inspiration is quite similar. I also wanted to build something of my own. I’ve been exploring different ideas for a while. But I didn't have a partner to work together and experiment with. 

I was doing well at my job. At the same time, it was getting boring. I knew that I could switch to a different company, a different industry, and climb up the ladder, but then there would always be that feeling that I'm working for someone else. So I wanted to try out something. That's where the motivation came from. 

Shabab and I have known each other for about eight/nine years. We discussed trying something out before. And luckily both of us were exploring at the same time. So that's how we decided to try this particular idea. 

Ruhul Kader

Interesting. How did you first meet each other? You did not go to the same school as far as I can gather. 

Shabab Shahriar Khan

It was actually in an informal class where we were participants. We have mutual friends.

Ruhul Kader

That's interesting. These gatherings are useful because you bring people together, they meet each other and it can lead to interesting outcomes. What do you enjoy and what do you find most challenging about being a founder? 

Muhammad Saeedul Alam 

There are challenges every day. But I enjoy building things, which makes the challenges bearable. 

In our work, we get to speak with a lot of people, mostly entrepreneurs. And I enjoy talking with different businesses, listening to their stories, ideas, and seeing how they are running their businesses. I see a lot of innovation and resilience among businesses. COVID affected many of these businesses very badly but I see these people are very resilient which I find inspiring. I enjoy this part of our work the most. 

Yes, you have a lot of challenges, but if people can push through all these challenges, we can as well. 

Shabab Shahriar Khan

The best part about being a founder for me is building something to my vision. I like to daydream. I would often think about certain scenarios that haven't happened, sort of a rabbit hole, a train of thought that leads from one to another. So ideation is something that I like. Coming up with ideas, exploring ideas, and executing an idea, that's a part of being a founder that I enjoy. 

The other part, of course, is building something valuable that people find useful, which provides a different kind of satisfaction. We get good feedback from people, both investors, and businesses, which makes our work meaningful. 

About the challenges, I think it's pretty common for all sorts of founders. At least for us in the early stage, there are so many problems with sales, marketing, to some extent tech as well, and also business development in general. There are so many moving parts. People management remains a challenge. 

So you face all these challenges but you also learn from these experiences. I think entrepreneurship is something that even if it doesn't work, you will grow as an individual in the process of trying it. 

Muhammad Saeedul Alam 

As I said, my biggest challenge is maintaining motivation while going through all these challenges. It helps when you come across other founders and read their stories. 

I was reading a write-up on LinkedIn by a YC founder where he wrote about his struggle and mental state. He wrote how he feels all kinds of emotions and how he feels super hopeful and excited in one moment and super down the next. It is a relatable story and is empowering as well. After reading the story, I thought, if someone who went through Y Combinator experiences these things, then I'm not alone. Talking with other founders and sharing struggles and emotional ups and downs help. 

Keeping yourself motivated is a challenge but it is super important. I think counting your small wins and connecting with other founders are the two most useful strategies to maintain your optimism.

Ruhul Kader 

That's beautifully put. I think a lot of founders agree with that. Many people say founders have two moods. That all founders suffer from bipolar disorder. You are either euphoric and flying high or you are super down. There is nothing in between. BTW, I didn't get to ask about how the company came into being. Can you give me a couple of more minutes and talk briefly about the early days? You guys were having discussions, probably during COVID and you thought okay, this is one idea we can try, and then what happened? Can you talk about first, say five/six months of the journey? You started the discussion, and decided to pursue this idea, and then how did you put together everything and get started? 

Muhammad Saeedul Alam

Last April, I decided that I'd leave my job. I was exploring a few ideas and was determined that I would start something. But I didn't exactly know what. I had several ideas and a lot of notes. 

At that time Shabab was looking for a co-founder which he posted on LinkedIn. So I reached out to him and asked him to meet over coffee and discuss. I think it was around May 2020. Shabab, can you take it from here? 

Shabab Shahriar Khan

Sure. I was exploring a few ideas. As I said, COVID sort of accelerated the process. The other part was that I just had my first baby. I thought that things are moving fast, I would get very busy soon and might just get stuck in a job. So let me experiment as soon as I can. 

So, I was exploring a few ideas. I developed an MVP of some sort for a particular idea related to ecommerce. Then I figured out that it wasn't gaining much traction because the problem was already being solved by multiple industry players. 

Then I started exploring this particular idea of halal investment, did my research, and was looking for a co-founder when Saeed reached out. We had a couple of long phone calls and then coffee meetings. I showed him what people are doing globally in the vertical, in Southeast Asia such as Malaysia and the UK. These are good hubs for Islamic finance in general. This is a new space in Bangladesh and we may try something. We didn't exactly know the market size or stuff like that. We could tell that it was a problem. So that’s how we started. 

Muhammad Saeedul Alam

Shabab was in a startup and knew about how startups work. But I worked for a large established company and had zero ideas about how startups work. Initially, it was a big learning curve. I was in a different world and had to spend significant time learning. That was my initial few months, learning about how startups work and so on. 

Ruhul Kader

That’s interesting. You decided, okay, this is an interesting market and a critical problem and there's an opportunity and let’s build something here, what happened after that?

Shabab Shahriar Khan

I do come from a startup sort of culture. That helps me to think in a startup kind of way. I understand the culture, but I didn't necessarily know how startups work. I just went through a lot of things on my own. I'm a big fan of Y Combinator in general. They put out a lot of good resources. So I would always bombard Saeed with all these resources, videos and lectures, and articles. 

So we understood that we need an MVP. Things that don't scale, but can be built cost-efficiently and launched fast. So we decided to build a version of our platform. It's the same platform that we still have today. It was built in I think a week or so. Very bootstrapped, but it gets things done. 

The other thing we wanted was onboarding a particular business to start with. We didn't exactly have a playbook or a framework for the assessment phase at that time. All these things came later on as we explored more businesses and ideas. We looked into the financial side of that particular business and found it a good business. It was a safe food, agro sort of business, dealing with layer farms, chicken eggs, and stuff like that. We knew them from before. We pitched to them and convinced them to pay us a service charge. That was interesting. Our first sale, you could say. 

Once they agreed, we put up that on our website. We created a Facebook group, added people, and introduced what we’re trying to do. The Facebook group is still there. We explained to people that this is what we're trying to do and this is an investment opportunity that you could explore and we shared as much of the assessment findings as we could find. 

Things took up from there. It exceeded our expectations. We wanted to raise BDT 10 lakh, but we ended up raising over BDT 12 lakh for that company. We had to end the campaign ahead of the deadline. It went very well. And then there was a big dip. The next month we didn't have any business at all. So that was a huge test of patience for both of us. Things went up after that. Especially when we got some exposure.

Ruhul Kader

By the time you left your job.  

Shabab Shahriar Khan

Saeed left first. When we launched biniyog.io, I was still working, but I already gave my notice. Because I couldn't focus on the job. Many people told me that I have a family and stuff like that and I should continue both at least for some time. But people differ in their personalities and I couldn't focus on two things at once. 

Muhammad Saeedul Alam

After that, there were a lot of peaks and dips. For a few weeks, we did not know what to do because we weren't getting any clients. And then we got two clients and had a good run. Then there was a barren period when we had no clients. 

It was a huge learning experience for us. From that learning, we started developing these channels that eventually helped us to build a consistent growth path.  

I think two new things happened around this time. We came across BYLC Ventures, participated in their bootcamp, and learned a lot from that experience. At the same time, we started applying to different accelerator programs. Going through those applications helped us in terms of developing further clarity about our business. 

Around September last year, we applied to YC. We didn’t get in but for me, that was very interesting. Doing that application gave us a lot of perspectives about what accelerator programs look for, etc. Although these were relatively difficult days because we were not growing as much, we were learning a lot from the experience and trying a lot of different things.

Ruhul Kader

That's an excellent point. Do you have any other examples of things or supports or anything else that you found useful in the process of building the company?

Shabab Shahriar Khan

If anyone wants to build a startup, I recommend YC resources. Even these days, if a new YC video pops up, in most cases I take a look. If not anything, it motivates me. 

Muhammad Saeedul Alam

I think it is useful to have a close circle of founders with whom you can share your experience, vent your frustrations and hear what others are going through. Being a founder is hard and when you hear the stories of others, their successes, and struggles, it allows you to see that you’re not alone. That helps. 

I think that having a mindset that not everything will work is also useful. Some things will fail. Initially, it was difficult for me to understand this. It took me a while to realize that failure is a necessary part of growth. Once you accept that you can navigate your journey better. 

Ruhul Kader

That’s such an important observation. You try a lot of different things, some things will work and some won't and that's nature. What are a couple of priorities for the company in the next two-three years? What are the plans?

Shabab Shahriar Khan

Pretty straightforward, growing the business. Catering to more businesses and more investors. That's one part of it. On the other end, we want to build our tech. We're planning to launch our app early next year. 

So far, we mostly focused on streamlining our processes and developing the business because there are a lot of moving parts that needed attention. We sort of have that in place now and we now can look ahead to growth and building out the tech to support the growth.  

Ruhul Kader

I think this is a good place to end our conversation today. Thank you so very much for taking the time to speak with me. 

Shabab Shahriar Khan

It was fun talking to you. Thank you. 

Muhammad Saeedul Alam

Thank you. I enjoyed the conversation. 

Ayrin Saleha Ria reviewed an early draft of this interview.

Update on October 11, 2022: This interview has been updated with new information regarding policy environment and risk management.

Ruhul Kader is a Dhaka-based writer, researcher, and entrepreneur. He is also the co-founder and CEO of Future Startup and the author of Rethinking Failure: A short guide to living an entrepreneurial life. He writes about entrepreneurship, business, strategy, technology, and culture. He can be reached at [email protected]

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