21 Must-Read Future Startup Interviews
Future Startup Interviews, Face to Face, and Founder Stories, became its own distinct brand in 2022, befitting its weekly schedule and increasing the importance of our overall work. Following is a list of some of the best interviews we published throughout 2022. Interviews are not organized in any particular order.
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Ayman Sadiq is the founder and CEO of 10 Minute School, one of the largest ed-tech startups in Bangladesh. Ayman has received several awards for his work. In 2018, he received a Queen's Young Leaders Award for his work to improve access to education for young people in Bangladesh. The same year, he was named on Forbes Asia's 30 Under 30 list. Ayman is an original thinker and a wonderful human being.
Amarlab is an on-demand at-home pathology service company. Founded in 2017, the company has experienced excellent growth within a short period of time. We featured Amarlab about a year ago at the beginning of the global coronavirus pandemic. Like every other digital service, the digital healthcare landscape in Bangladesh has since changed 360 degrees. Today, people are simply more open to trying digital services which was not the case before.
“You have to be a subject matter expert in the business you want to build. It is better to start with some domain expertise. The second lesson is don't delegate late and don't delegate early. Delegate fast but make sure your people are ready before delegating. Move fast. Slow has no value in today’s world. Finally, whatever you do, don't compromise your values. Some things are priceless.”
Mohan Belani is the founder and CEO of E27, a Singapore-based Pan-Asia tech ecosystem platform. Mohan and his team have built a Pan-Asia ecosystem platform at a time when the media business is considered one of the most challenging verticals. From a small team of four, E27 today is a team of close to 30 people and has grown to become a leading business matching and tech ecosystem platform for startups, corporates, and investors in Southeast Asia.
Nahita Nishmin is the CEO of Cookups Technologies Limited, a Dhaka-based on-demand home-cooked food delivery platform. Prior to running Cookups, Ms. Nahita worked for a brief period with Unilever Bangladesh where she worked on sustainability and purposeful brand-related initiatives. Before that, she spent a long time working in the development sector including eight years at Swiss Contact’s Katalyst project where she managed agricultural portfolios.
Sami Ahmed is the Managing Director of Startup Bangladesh Limited, a Government of Bangladesh-funded VC firm, actively backing local startups.
“Nuport is a full-stack supply chain automation company. We work with manufacturers, distributors, and eCommerce brands in building out a back-end automation infrastructure so that you're able to scale and grow faster.”
“We get greedy when it comes to achieving things. We want all the fame, all the money, all the credit. We want to do all the work. And we want to maintain all the social relationships. But we don't want to sacrifice anything. We don't want to sacrifice anything because everything is easier to access nowadays which was not the case before. That's something that I have learned. It has helped me a lot in terms of finding focus, being productive, to have a goal. It all comes with being present where you are right now.”
“If you are going for a career, prioritize learning over everything else in your early days. Try to figure out what you enjoy, and what makes you come alive. Try different things. Be open and courageous. When you enjoy your work, it can change everything.”
“My work philosophy is simple: maintain your integrity no matter what and do as best as you can. When you are honest with yourself, you can see how you are doing and will not need anyone else to tell you to do this or that.”
“Almost everything takes time to happen. Nothing in life is like food delivery, you tap some buttons on your phone and food arrives at your door 30 minutes later. You have to learn to wait at least a few years before getting the expected results.”
ShareTrip is one of the earliest and most important players in Bangladesh's travel industry. Starting as an offline travel services company, ShareTrip has gone through several metamorphoses over the past years and transformed itself into the leading OTA in the country, while also helping transform the entire travel scene in Bangladesh.
“Financial control can make or break a company. Resource allocation is the ultimate test of your business acumen. If you could do it, you can have a fantastic run as a company. Some companies raise a ton of money but eventually fail because of the failure of resource allocation and financial control.”
“To run a business, you need a team you can trust. I have a key team with whom I discuss and brainstorm ideas and challenges and share my burden. Founders should never try to do everything on their own. Share your challenges. Discuss. Make decisions.”
Gazi Raffan is the founder and CEO of BanglaMeds, a fully-owned subsidiary of Chaldal. Founded in 2017, BanglaMeds is one of the earliest players in the vertical. The company was fully acquired by Chaldal 2021, Bangladesh’s largest online grocery startup, in a cash and stock deal. Mr. Raffan joined Chaldal as the CEO of BanglaMeds after the deal. BanglaMeds continues to operate as a fully-owned independent subsidiary of Chaldal.
Mufti Yousuf Sultan is the co-founder of IFA Consultancy, a pioneering institution in Bangladesh that provides training and consultancy on Islamic finance, aiming toward a Halal and Sustainable Economy.
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.
Bijon Islam is the co-founder and CEO of LightCatsle Partners (LCP), a Dhaka-based management consulting firm that has experienced a consistent rise over the last several years. Started as a small operation, LCP is now often referred to as McKinsey of Bangladesh, and rightly so.
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.
ThemeXpert, a bootstrapped company through and through, didn't take long to find a path to growth. A few years into the business, ThemeXpert launched its first no-code/low-code drag-and-drop website/page builder Quix, which has since crossed 100,000 installations. It is one of the most popular Joomla page builders in the world.