The stars seem to be aligning with Bangladesh’s startup scene. While the ecosystem is still in its early stage, the country has all the conditions ripe for opportunity and growth.
Rapidly increasing internet penetration? Check. 24.5 per cent of the country has Internet penetration, and the number is going up.
Mobile-first population? Check. The country has more than 125 million mobile subscribers.
Young and tech-savvy millennials? Check and check. 70 per cent of the population is under 35, and Bangladesh has a lower median age than most Asian countries, except Pakistan.
Bangladesh is also has the added advantage of being a homogeneous culture according to Minhaz Anwar, Director of Founder Institute, one of the active players in Bangladesh’s tech scene.
“We talk just one language and we are like one piece of land. It is not very divided. We have a huge internal market,” he says.
In an interview with e27, Anwar explained that while Bangladesh is many years behind that of Silicon Valley or India, the startup scene is currently at a tipping point, with many VCs from Silicon Valley, Singapore and India already flocking to the country to invest in startling early-stage ventures.
The centre of this startup revolution? Dhaka, the capital city. It has the highest number of universities, easy accessible 3G services and other forms of technology powering this ecosystem.
Previously known as Kaaktaruaa, Technolive is a news aggregator app that compiles content from websites and social media sites like Facebook and Twitter etc and presents them to the users in real time. Tehnolive also leverages machine learning algorithms for social listening and monitoring services for brands.
2. The Tech Lab
With an aim to reinvent Bangladesh’s education system and to play a key role in its ‘future investions’, The Tech Lab is the first engineering institution catered to Bangladeshi children. The startup provides courses on Programming, Electronics, Robotics, and Mechanical Engineering. The institute presently has two courses- one for Children ages 6 to 15, and the other for youths (age 15+).
Enrollment for its new batches of studies will begin from March 1.
Similar to Glints, unigigg is a platform that connects students and recent graduates with potential employers. Unigigg aims to popularize the ‘unorthodox’ career choices of society, and in Bangladesh’s case, it’s maverick jobs like photography, music and designing.
The startup is scheduled to launch in less than two months, and while the exact pricing and service tiers are unknown, early subscribers will get our premium service for 6 months.
With a significant mobile and internet penetration comes e-commerce sites like Branoo. The site caters to men, women, (even kids and babies), with a huge variety of products like clothes, cosmetics, perfumes and books from over 100 brands. Branoo also has their own warehouse to store products, and allows payment options like cash on delivery (COD) and bkash.
Notably, Branoo offered huge discounts with its Happy Sale Day to commemorate its first anniversary. Held last September, the event, similar to Flipkart’s Big Billion Day, sold more than 10 lakhs BDT (US$ 12 800) worth of products in a single day.
Like two sides of a coin, e-commerce and last-mile fulfillment are inseparable verticals. Track My Vehicle not only caters to them, but any company or individual keen on keeping an eye on their vehicles, especially when TrackMyVehicle claims that a personal vehicle is stolen every 24 hours in Bangladesh.
Through their mobile app or website, users can get reports on the vehicle’s speed, location, engine and other important stats via the VTS’ GPS device installed into vehicle.
Track My Vehicle also won over the hearts of the audience and took home the People’s Choice Award at Echelon Asia’s TOP100 Startup Search.
6. HiFi Public
With the rapid growth of Bangladesh’s startup scene, startups are popping up every day- and that needs reporting. Enter HiFiPublic- a tech news and media network catered to its Bangladeshi audience. With its team of 15, the site reports on the latest in tech news, reviews and trends. Other startups have also entered the space aside from HiFiPublic, like SD Asia.