Bangladesh’s Top Tech Ventures – The SF Vault
The tech startup scene in Bangladesh is responding to this huge consumer demand for digital products and services with innovative offerings. Learn how Bangladesh’s top tech ventures are transforming the country!
chaldal.com was stared in 2014 with the aim of tackling some of the most basic, fundamental problems that exists in Bangladesh today. “I wanted to create a service which an average person can use and that is the reason I chose grocery” said Chief Technology Officer, Tejas Viswanath.
According to the company’s CTO, grocery is really a complex problem to solve but if you solve it,there are a lot games that can be held. Started in 2014 and officially launching in 2015, chaldal.com is an online food provider that promises its customers their order in just one hour. In order to combat the long periods of hours one has to wait to get their food, the company decided to set up a warehouse running a network warehouses around Bangladesh. “We started running trucks between them.
Ed Simnett is a board member at Pathoa – a car service company based in Bangladesh and he thinks that the traffic problem and the economic development problem is creating an opportunity to deliver a whole set of other services. “Hot food delivery is probably one of the largest food deliverer in Bangladesh which is Pathoa. We are continuing to do the package delivery as well. I’m also really excited about some of the other services that we just launched” said Ed.
Both entrepreneurs have a sit down interview with Shammi Quddus, advisory board at Alter and speak to give viewers insight on what sparked the interest of their companies as well how it contributes to the growth and development of Bangladesh.
Shammi: What are your thoughts on the current ecosystem in Bangladesh? We’ve seen some exciting developments with Alibaba taking its stake in vcash, the acquisition of thereof and Go Jack and also coming in. But also we have not really seen big acquisitions and exits. So I just wanted to hear your thoughts on the opportunities and challenges of this space?
Tejas: So the trends that I see very clearly are that people are definitely trying to do something on their own. They are trying to hash out whats done in other places and trying to fit it for the local market. So that’s definitely going on. Another thing which is very interesting that is also driving is the eruption of androids by almost everybody in the society. What I think needs to happen is that we need to start having original startups – things which are being done in Bangladesh for the first time. So that’s what I think things will eventually go towards. But I think we are slowly getting there and of course another thing worth mentioning is the traffic out there which leads to a lot of creativity to come out. It’s crazy cause no one wants to sit in traffic and this automatically makes you want to design solutions. There are people who have apps on the road sites which input how much traffic there is in this particular corner of the street. So these are creative things which come out purely based on the environment. This obstacle definitely promotes creativity and you do come up with some innovative solutions.
Ed: I think of one thing to see how it will all evolve is, again if you think about Silicon Valley, you are thinking about the US or your Western Europe. Historically there has been less exit by recapitalisation. I wouldn’t be surprised if you didn’t see more of that in some of the markets we are talking about because its a very natural way fitting in with the local ecosystem. So it’s important to remember that you are building a local business and you will be successful if you remain true to your local roots.
Shammi: This is about diversity and tech in Bangladesh. With tech comes great opportunity but we’ve seen in the valley, it leaves out women and under represented groups and with Bangladesh, we are on this cast of this great growth so how are you guys thinking of making that opportunity as inclusive and accessible, acquisition as possible?
Tejas: It takes a lot of effort in making sure that you are building an environment that is open to all. You just need to make sure that when they are transgression, you handle them effectively. When people came into work, they started seeing that there is hierarchy, there is plenty of respect to go around and those are the basic things that you need to start looking into. You have to start taking serious actions if there is anyone who actually crosses the line. At this point, we have a pretty diverse work force and most of our top management are run by women.
Ed: From our perspective I would say that on the board of Pathoa, I would say that its my job and thank you for reminding me to make sure that we get this right because this is something that has to come from the very top of the company. And its not a matter of setting quotas but it is really a question of setting directions and asking the tough questions – at the senior levels and levels below. You frankly don’t see enough women and its frustrating.