7 Top Startups in Bangladesh which are shaping Dhaka’s Digital Ecosystem
The symbolic hallmark for startup is that 90% startups come and go. But the remaining 10% reshape our lives and change our lifestyles forever. Every new startups are entering the market with their innovative ideas and dexterous execution. The digital economy of Bangladesh is thriving. The top startups in Bangladesh are leading the charge in transforming the lives of the citizens in Dhaka City. Our dream of a digital Dhaka is coming true.
Digiology being the premier knowledge platform for the digital citizenry of Bangladesh, our team has identified 7 tech-based startups of the country based on their impact in our lives, their creativity, their industry of operation and overall sustainable future.
Our digital economy is driven by smartphone and internet penetration and adoption. With over 143 million cell phone users and 74 million internet users, the digital fever is spreading like wildfire. The fact that Dhaka is the most populous Facebook city in the world creates provides a rather interesting insight into this digitalization trend.
Every startup is formed around solving a problem or meeting an identified need. Stories of such imagination and digital transformation are shared below. (in no particular order)
Keeping up with the Bangladeshi trend of consuming fast food items and the discomfort associated with gruesome traffic to go to fast food outlets, many entrepreneurs were fast to realize the potential of the demand for “food on demand” commonly knowns as home delivery of fast food. The timing of Hungrynaki was right on point. Starting with delivery within Dhaka city in the beginning, Hungrynaki has now expanded their service to other prominent cities like Chittagong and Sylhet. This leading name in food delivery business has revolutionized both our lives and our food habits!
Service. A very broad term, right? So, what does service mean to you? Service is the act of serving. Worldwide, it is defined as a one separate industry. There is the manufacturing industry and there is the service industry. Sheba.xyz is on a mission to digitalize the service industry of Bangladesh. They have brought all types of service vendors under one platform: Sheba.xyz. Today, we do not have to go out in the scorching heat of the summer to look for an electrician or a car mechanic; we can order it with a tap on the screen. Starting from plumbers to creative technicians like makeover artists can be booked at Sheba, such is the diversity of the platform.
10 Minute School
If you are a student studying in Bangladesh, this organization needs no introduction. They have digitalized education. Chances are you have heard of the likes of Coursera, Udemy and Khan Academy. What they are doing if simply put becomes, ‘online learning, on demand’. Private coaching has been prevalent for as long as one can remember. Even though the prime motive was better care for the students, somewhere along the way it turned into an unethical and at times unavoidable for the students. 10 Minute School has disrupted this practice. Numerous middle school and high school students are taking classes at 10 Minute School for free instead of running tirelessly to coaching centers. They have digitalized education for the leaders of tomorrow’s Bangladesh.
For us Bangladeshis grocery shopping has always been about fresh veggies on Friday mornings. Shifting this very traditional customer behavior towards digital was a big challenge. But there was a rising class of young; middle class and tech savvy demography in Bangladesh. With time they were getting matured and forming young digital citizens. The founders were quick to realize this and reacted promptly. They brought grocery shopping to the doorsteps of Dhaka city. The widespread adoption of Chaldal was not just limited to the young families. Even the ‘Maas and Bhabis’ of our society who only would only use internet for Facebook are shopping groceries online, thanks to Chaldal. They have transformed digital shopping behavior of the housewives in Dhaka City.
Shohoz.com was the first company to digitalize the travel industry. They are a one stop ticketing platform for travelling, movie shows and miscellaneous events. Whether it was getting pass for a concert or travelling long route one always had to go to the counter or office to purchase a ticket. For travelers, this was a major hassle before even starting to travel. Shohoz.com partnered with the major bus operators from different routes; and brought all of them under one platform making lives of the citizens easy and convenient. Now they are also providing similar solutions for all types of events like seminars and concerts. Whether it’s a long distance commute or a breathtaking concert, users can book tickets on the go.
They started off as a logistics company. Initially their prime business was parcel delivery throughout Dhaka. Fast forward a couple years, they are digitalizing the whole “on demand” economy. Their latest products include Pathao Rides, Pathao Cars, Pathao Mart and Pathao Foods. Their big breakthrough came by solving the commuting problem in Bangladesh. In a country where traffic congestion costs the economy hundreds of millions of Taka, Pathao was the first to introduce bike hailing service. It was widely applauded and accepted. They have shifted our digital behavior to the extent where convenience of inter city travelling has multiplied exponentially. The mass adoption of Pathao Rides has been so vibrant that the phrase ‘bike hailing’ has been replaced by Pathao.
Video has rapidly turned into the best form of content. Google could see the future back in 2006, resultingly they purchased YouTube. The millennial demographic all over the world is spending more time on YouTube than any other media channel; be it traditional or digital. Facebook’s response was to concentrate on encouraging more video content in the News Feed. But their biggest innovation came when they introduced Facebook Live. Today brands and influencer from all over the world including Bangladesh are come Live on Facebook to broadcast their product launch, do content marketing, connect with their audience and what not. Facebook Live has driven an incremental rise of internet consumption in Bangladesh amongst users of all purposes and segments. Dhaka Live has formed a business around it. They are broadcasting live events like concerts, seminars, government programs and what not. Their growth has been superb. Dhaka Live has tapped into an intrinsic demand of live broadcast among the digital audience. People from all corners of Bangladesh are turning in to Dhaka Live to watch events and shows live.
The per capita income of Bangladesh currently stands at 1,602 US dollars. We intend to become an upper middle-income country by the year 2021 through hitting the 7-8% annual GDP growth bar. A key driver of this growth will be successful expansion of digital startups nationwide and revamping themselves from startups to matured business entities. The market is massive, the rate of change in digital behavior is astounding. Whether these startups can shape into matured sustainable businesses is the question of the hour!