Top 5 reasons why startups fail in Bangladesh

A startup can be undoubtedly called the buzzword of the century. People have started to believe in the thought that building your own startup is their only possible way of becoming a billionaire. However, not all startups succeed like Facebook, Amazon, Snapchat etc. Here are the top 5 reasons why most deshi startups fail.

Not having a proper business model

Top 5 reasons why startups fail in Bangladesh

Having a well-analyzed business plan is the first and foremost thing a startup should have. The business model should include why they are building their startup, what is the product and how they are going to sell and reach to the people. The business model should have a proper revenue model and also how they are implementing the supply chain. 

At times founders assume that because they will build such an interesting web site, product, or service,  customers will beat a path to their door. That may happen with the first few customers, but after that, it rapidly becomes an expensive task to attract and win customers, and in many cases, the cost of acquiring the customer (CAC) is actually higher than the lifetime value of that customer (LTV).

Not understanding your customers

Top 5 reasons why startups fail in Bangladesh

Market research is a crucial thing in building a startup. As a founder, you might think, “I have an idea of a wonderful product, this should work.”

But in reality, not every product will suit everyone.

You have a great concept of starting a service that will allow car owners to rent their cars when they’re not being used. Sure, it may work wonders in the USA. But will it work in Bangladesh?

Without doing proper market research, you may never know whether people would actually pay for the product. It is a futile project to build a product that nobody wants.

Not marketing the product the right way

Top 5 reasons why startups fail in Bangladesh

Marketing your product is the only comprehensive way to make your products known to potential customers. You might have a great product, an amazing team behind it and a product that cater to the right customer group. But without a proper marketing channel, your product will fail to reach your customer. Hire the right marketing team or outsource it to the right agency. Hire consultants who can tell you the best way to market your product. Every little detail is crucial.

Not having a proper team

Many experts consider the startup team is the most crucial part of a startup. If the team members don’t have proper understanding amongst each other, they will not be work with each other for long.

Pathao had been successful because the team members had an amazing sense of understanding amongst each other, which dates over 10 years.

Not being able to adapt

Top 5 reasons why startups fail in Bangladesh

Eric Ries model of Lean Startup is very popular amongst startup founders, which states the importance of having a minimum viable product. But a core concept they miss is that building the minimum viable product is not everything, they need to adapt it with time.

You might have a great concept and you’re ready to jump ship. But in this mercurial market, if you don’t make necessary adaptations, your startup is bound to fail. 

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A burger flipper turned CEO worth $148 million: The incredible story of Ashik Ahmed

A very common scenario of any immigrant going to a first world country is simply this: doing a part-time job to earn their bread. The scenario was somewhat similar for Ashik Ahmed. Flipping burgers was the way 17 years old Ashik would meet his ends. However, a powerful vision, creativity, and indomitable perseverance have made Ashik one of the big shot CEOs in Australia. He is now worth a staggering amount of $148 Million!

How it all started

Ashik came to Australia from Bangladesh when he was 17 years old. He started flipping burgers at a fast-food chain in Melbourne to earn his living. He recalled about his hard early days in an interview with SBS Australia, saying:

“I was an hourly-paid worker myself so I saw all the challenges on this side, and I also got to see it from the employer’s side in managing the employees.”

This indomitable ambition and thinking outside the box have paid well for Ashik. His exposure to the multidimensional work environment of Australia, along with his ardent passion for Mathematics and Science, had helped him co-found Workforce management ‘Deputy’ back in 2008.

Quoted from his Forbes Bio,

“I was fortunate to meet my co-founder Steve Shelley (a small business owner) for whom I was able to make a significant difference by improving people management in his business. In 2008, we co-founded Deputy to make every other small business owner successful like Steve. Deputy is now used by over 40,000 workplaces in 73 countries.”

Read more: Snapchat’s former Bangladeshi CSO, Imran Khan, launches e-commerce venture to compete with the likes of Amazon

About Deputy

Deputy is a global workforce management platform for employee scheduling, timesheets, and communication.  The mission of Deputy is to improve the lives of shift workers and small business owners, by providing them with the necessary technological disruption. 

Deputy mainly provides cloud-based workforce management and scheduling platform. It is designed specially to help companies organize, track, and manage their teams. The company now has a client list of more than 184,000; which includes big names like NASA and Qantas.

The 38-Year-Old Ashik Ahmed is now worth over 148 Million Dollars.

The once burger-flipping 17-year-old is now listed at number 25 on the Australian Financial Review Young Rich List,  which was released this week. Ashik Ahmed has made good use of his 11 years in entrepreneurship, and is an inspiration for any aspiring entrepreneur!

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HiFi Digital’s workshop on Data Journalism held successfully

A wonderful and a much needed workshop on ‘Data Driven Journalism’ was held in the beautiful ambience of Hotel La Vinci on 13th September. The day long workshop was organized jointly by Hifi Digital Limited and Bangladesh Internet Society.

The workshop had two distinct phases. The first phase, conducted by Zyma Islam, focused on how to collect data from authentic sources. Some really useful sources were shared, and questions from the audience made the session quite lively. Zyma poured out her experience by giving some real life case studies. A brief showcasing of some useful tricks of Microsoft Excel made it quite a productive experience for the observers.

The second phase, conducted by Abu Shaer Reaz, focused on data visualization. He focused on some simple tools, which can be quite powerful if we know how to use them.

The most common mistake journalists do in Data visualization, is not knowing when to use which tool.

Some real life case studies from his experiences in Daily Star made his session quite engaging. Shaer wonderfully finished the session by showing the audience a simple yet effective data driven documentary, which helped the session to end on a high note.

“The experience was quite immersive. I learned a lot. The real life experiences and case studies shared by the two experienced instructors made it quite a learning experience.”

Nabila Jalil, one of the attendants, said joyfully

The participants of this workshop had mostly given positive feedback, and their constructive opinions were taken in formal response forms. The complimentary lunch and snacks made it quite a wholesome experience for all the participants. The cherry on the cake was added by the certificate giving ceremony, where all the participants were given certificates for their participation.   

This bamboo made school from Bangladesh just won the Aga Khan Award for Architecture

A very simple but quite innovative amphibious structure made of bamboo was adjudged one of the six winners of the 2019 Aga Khan Award for Architecture. It was announced Thursday in the Russian city of Kazan. The award-winning structure houses a school for underprivileged children in Bangladesh.

About the project

The Arcadia Education Project is situated on the bank of Dhaleshwari in South Kanarchar of Keraniganj. The award-winning structure for this project is constructed by Saif Ul Haque Sthapati and run by Maleka Welfare Trust.

But the most unique thing is, the project is built on a site that remains submerged by three-meter of water a third of the year on average.

The structure was built using very simple materials -different varieties of bamboo, recycled tires and steel drums. The innovative part of the structure is that it rises with the water level. The structure expands on about 486 square metres. 

Read more: Abandoned WWII airbase to turn into Bangladesh’s first Aeronautical and Aviation University

The innovation has paid off handsomely. The six winners of the Aga Khan Award would share the prize money of $1 million among them, as stated by a release of Aga Khan Development Network.

The release also added: “The modesty of the program, the use of materials and the construction method are all successful parts of building this amphibious school through experimental and collaborative teamwork. Though simple and compact, the project resolves complex issues – of buoyancy, anchoring against the river current and waste management.”

Read more: Bangladesh earns the highest rate of trust in vaccines, France the lowest

How the structure is made

A traditional Bengali method was employed in the construction. The bamboos that were used in the structure were collected from neighbouring villages. They were then chemically treated and made waterproof by applying liquid made by boiling local Gaab fruits. Moreover, most of the joints in the structure used a rope-tie technique rather than steel wire which would corrode. This technique was a major innovation itself. 

“At a time of rising sea levels, this modest bamboo school illustrates how to build an affordable and viable solution with locally available materials.”

Said an official press release about the structure 

Read more: From slums of Dhaka to the USA, the incredible story of Siam

The people behind the project

The construction of the structure was executed by a team led by Pran Bollov Biswas from December 2014 to February 2016. For planning the building at the cost of $50,800, the designers had spent exactly two years from December 2012.

About the Aga Khan Awards

The Arcadia Project was not the only project catching limelight in the Aga Khan Awards. Bangladeshi project, Amber Denim Loom Shed in Gazipur, was earlier shortlisted in the final 20s for the 2019 award.

The other winners of the 2019 Aga Khan Award for Architecture are the Revitalisation of Muharraq of Bahrain, the Palestinian Museum in Birzeit, the Public Spaces Development Programme in Tatarstan of Russia, Alioune Diop University Teaching and Research Unit in Bambey of Senegal, and Wasit Wetland Centre in Sharjah of United Arab Emirates.

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Snapchat’s former Bangladeshi CSO, Imran Khan, launches e-commerce venture to compete with the likes of Amazon

A new retail website, called Verishop, has gone live recently. And it goes head-to-head with mammoth platforms like Amazon. The brain behind this venture is the former Chief Strategic Officer of Snapchat, Imran Khan.

Why Verishop

Khan being present in the business arena for quite a while had observed some of the frustrations up-and-coming brands have expressed regarding existing sites that have counterfeit products or that hurt brand integrity. Verishop aims to change that and create an even and transparent platform for both buyers and sellers.

The business model of Verishop

Verishop actually buys the inventory directly from the brands. This step is to prevent having counterfeit goods on the site. Verishop hopes this differentiating factor will help build trust with consumers, too.

Is the big tech too big?

Globally companies like Facebook, Amazon, Alphabet etc. are ruling the world. It takes much audacity to come up with a business that has to compete largely with Amazon itself. However, Khan doesn’t feel that the big tech is too absolute. And with proper differentiation of their services, they can have a sustainable business.

“I think our vision is to be the best home for brands,” Khan said in an interview ahead of the launch of Verishop.

“Whenever the consumer is looking for branded products, we want to be their first destination. There is massive growth of direct-to-consumer brands.”

Verishop has launched with around 150 brands. Those include apparel makers Levi’s, AllSaints, DVF and Citizens of Humanity; home-goods retailer Boll & Branch; make-up company Lily Lolo and skin-care line Kora Organics.

An offer too good

Verishop offers free, two-day shipping with no minimum purchase, free returns and a 24/7 customer-service portal on the web. That means you can buy anything even worth 10 Dollars, and still can get free shipping! This new feature is something that most customers had been waiting for.

There are 2 main shopping sections, Tastemakers and Responsible Shop. Between these two, Tastemakers is solely targetted towards influencers. 

In this daunting attempt, let’s hope Imran Khan makes a difference to the world of e-commerce, as he has done in case of Snapchat. A reminder for the readers, this is the same Imran Khan whose BTV debate went viral on Facebook this year!

Like our content? Follow us on our Facebook page for regular updates. We want to hear from you. Take a moment to write to us with your stories, contributions and suggestion. Contact us for advertising and partnership opportunities at [email protected] Thank you!

Tonic app lets you order dengue tests from your home

Tonic, an online healthcare service of Telenor Health, has launched its home service for diagnostic tests of dengue through their mobile application.

The recent dengue outbreak has become a major national issue, and Telenor health has raised eyebrows by this intervention. Tonic has launched the service along with video conference for doctors’ consultation through its mobile application “Tonic App”.

People from Dhaka and Chattogram metropolitans and Mymensingh city will be able to order dengue screening tests through Tonic App. The best part is that the patients can get the entire test done from their homes.

Read more: Dengue in Bangladesh

How it works

The patient first needs to order tests through the Tonic app. After the order has been placed, Tonic’s sample collector will visit and collect the sample from the patients within 24 hours. Tonic is quite concerned with the safety and promises to maintain all aseptic conditions necessary. After conducting the test, the patient can consult a doctor over a video call through Tonic App along with their report.

Read more: Preventing dengue: Steps that you must take

In this age of digital disruption and innovation, Tonic App promises to be the much intervention at the most appropriate time. Let us hope this app has a significant impact on the ongoing outbreak. 

From slums of Dhaka to the USA: The incredible story of Siam

We all love underdogs. Rags to riches stories are quite popular amongst people. A story defying all odds has become a reality in our country because of the amazing resilience of a boy. A boy from the slums of Rayerbazar has managed a scholarship in one of the most prestigious IB programs of USA!

If anyone ever told MD Bilal Hossain, a caretaker in Rayerbazar, that his son would one day attend a prestigious program in the US, he would probably let out a big sigh or laugh it off. He had struggled quite a lot in maintaining the expenses of his family from his low-paid job. His struggles doubled when he lost his job right after admitting his only son, Siam Hossain, in a school of Jaago foundation in 2008.

Flash forward eleven years, Siam has successfully rekindled the hopes of his family for a better through his nothing less than stellar academic performance.

He has managed to earn a two-year scholarship at the renowned United World College (UWC) in New Mexico, USA.

Starting from the academic session 2019-20, the scholarship is worth $80,000.

Siam’s academic journey through years

This wonderful academic achievement didn’t come in a single day. Siam had always shown good performances in his academics.  He had achieved GPA-5 in the Primary Education Completion (PEC) examination in 2012. He had also registered an A grade from the science department at last year’s Secondary School Certificate (SSC) examinations.

The UWC programme

UWC (or United World Colleges) is a global educational movement with the mission to “make education a force to unite people, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future”. UWC consists of 18 schools and colleges on four continents, several short educational programmes, and national committees in 159 countries and territories worldwide.

Siam has received a scholarship in their college of New Mexico. Most of these18 schools and colleges exclusively offer two-year residential programmes, for young people aged 16–19 years, during which they complete the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme.

“There was a time when I didn’t take my studies that seriously. However, hopes for better and higher schooling arose in my mind after being admitted to the Jaago Foundation School”

Siam said during a press conference at Jaago. 

Siam thanked his sponsors because there was a time he thought of quitting his studies because of financial hardship. He had also mentioned how his ambitions rose after his stellar result in the PECE examination. 

The dreams of Siam

Siam expressed his ambition to become either a doctor or a communication specialist. Upon completing his two-year course at the UWC, he would like to pursue higher education at a foreign university before returning home to serve the people.

The rise of Bangladesh Cricket

Bangladesh batting, you are stuck in a traffic jam. You start watching the match 30 minutes late, expecting to see already 3 openers going back to the hut.

This was a common situation even till 2011. And batting collapses were something we the fans had made our peace with. Best case scenarios were an odd win here and there, and Shakib and Mushfiqur anchoring us towards a somewhat defendable total or a less shameful loss.

But not anymore.

2007 World Cup and finding our 5 heroes

Many critics argue that knocking down England from the World Cup 2015 was the start of our renaissance. But, the real flash of self-belief and an attacking mindset took root in the famous win against India in the 2007 World Cup.

The rise of Bangladesh Cricket

Tamim fearlessly coming down the track was a statement for a new brand of cricket. Shakib and Mushfiq both had chipped in with a fifty, with Mashrafe rattling down the Indian batting with his pace Bowling.

Our core group of 5 players, popularly known as ‘Ponchopandob’, including Mahmudullah Riad, are playing for the team together since 2007.

And thank heavens for this bunch.

Steady growth in the middle and ups and downs

In between 2007 and 2011, the most positive thing for Bangladesh cricket was the rise of Shakib Al Hasan as the top all-rounder in the world. Abdur Razzaq, the veteran left-arm spinner, also dominated the bowler rankings during this period.

Bangladesh had whitewashed mighty New Zealand. With the whitewash of a relatively weaker West Indies side, Bangladesh team was gradually making a statement.

But, there was this lack of consistency and it showed. The batting collapses in 2011 World Cup against West Indies and South Africa were stark examples of our inconsistency.

The sudden sparks of brilliance after the 2011 World Cup

Bangladesh had a disappointing series after the 2011 world cup and Tamim was facing a good amount of criticism for his lack of form. But the 2012 Asia Cup was somewhat of a bittersweet memory for Bangladesh. Bangladesh lost to Pakistan in the first match but won 2 consecutive matches against India and Srilanka, knocking both of them out. Tamim had scored four consecutive half-centuries and had made a statement.

The rise of Bangladesh Cricket

But Bangladesh had a heartbreak for falling short of 2 runs, and the iconic scene of Mushfiq and Shakib bursting in tears still haunts the fans till date.

2015 World Cup and a new brand of cricket for Bangladesh

Bangladesh had struggled to find a perfect opening partner for Tamim Iqbal. The problem was wonderfully solved by the inclusion of Soumya Sarker. His attacking form of batting was something the opposition was not used to seeing.

The rise of Bangladesh Cricket

Fast forward to World Cup of 2015. Bangladesh vs England. Rubel Hossain bowling an amazing reverse swing delivery and Nasir Hossain chanting, “The Bangla tigers knocked out the English lions out of the world cup”. This is arguably the most memorable scene for any Bangladeshi fan so far.

After the 2015 World Cup, Bangladesh had won 3 consecutive series against the giants Pakistan, India, and South Africa. This was a major statement to the cricketing world that a win of Bangladesh is no longer an upset. Huge credit needs to be given to Captain Fantastic about how he marshalled his troops and created a sense of togetherness in the Bangladesh team.

Rise of Captain Fantastic and not looking back

The rise of Bangladesh Cricket

Another magical finding was our very own ‘Fizz’. Mustafizur Rahman had taken the world by storm through his mystery bowling. Although injuries hindered much of his rhythm, he is still a key member of the Bangladesh squad.

The rise of Bangladesh Cricket

Bangladesh has now become a force to be reckoned with in the cricketing world. The team that got bowled out for 58 runs and 78 runs to West Indies and South Africa in the 2011 World Cup, scored over 300 runs against both of the teams in the World Cup of 2019. We have great depth in our batting and we don brand a new form of fearless cricket.

It took us a while to finally get here, but we’re here at last. And we’re here to stay.

Focus on the game of cricket, not the jersey

Picture a scene from the last World Cup. All Bangladeshi players gathering in the field, celebrating their win against England, and eventually qualifying for the Quarter Finals. This scene is arguably the most favourite cricketing moments for any Bangladeshi Cricket Fan. 

Fast forward 4 years. Another world cup is almost here. And a surprisingly unlikely contender is the topic of debate this time. The jersey.

No red in the jersey and it apparently matters

The fans are used to seeing our tigers in the world stage with the famous red and green jersey. But this year, when the official jersey was published by BCB, all hell broke loose. Two separate jerseys were there, but instead of a red and green merge, two separate jerseys of Green and Red Colour was brought to the media.

Mistakes were definitely made. But we might be focusing on the wrong ones. It was not the colours that we should be worried about. Names of the players were typed wrong including that of the captain’s.

Reaction of people

The reactions of the fans were nowhere near positive. Especially the green jersey had infuriated the general fans because they felt it was almost a copy of the Pakistan team jersey. Social media outbursts were observed.

“What is this nonsense? What is the point of copying Pakistan’s jersey? It would seem like a Pakistan vs Pakistan match while facing them.”

A furious fan commented

Does it really matter?

Aesthetics aside, this is actually not the first time Bangladesh had a single coloured Jersey. The iconic 1999 jersey with tiger strap did not have any hint of red either. Plus, there was a brief period when Bangladesh had a blue jersey. And also a time when it would be quite hard to differentiate between the Bangladeshi jersey and that of the Zimbabwe team.

The point is, the entire debate over this jersey is pointless. The design of the jersey that was designed and approved sparks debate, but it might not be the biggest of concerns. Yes, it didn’t have hints of red in it but no book says that there should be.

Reaction of BCB

Amidst the uproar (!) of people, BCB declared, they are applying for change. As per the latest news, a stripe of bland red in the middle of a tacky Green had been approved. Let’s hope this settles the debate once and for all for everyone.

Cricket world cup comes only in 4 years. And this is arguably the best Bangladeshi team yet.

Our focus should have been on the game, not the jersey.

And this is the last world cup of our very own Mashrafe Bin Murtaza. We hope that the Tigers bid him a proper farewell through their performance in the world cup.

The views expressed in this article are of the writer’s own, and not of HiFi Public as a publication.

The curious case of BRAC University and its Pohela Boishakh

If you don’t stay under a rock, you should have come across all the memes making fun of BRAC University for celebrating Pahela Boishakh a week earlier. There were loads of trolls and some were actually funny. Most were also kind of hackneyed.

But why though?

First of all, we were told that it was not anything enforced. The students actually played a significant role in the decision as well. Mid-April is the time BRAC University holds its semester final exams. The exam season means no class, and thus the university remains closed.

“Well, we kind of wanted it to celebrate early. We always have our exams in Mid April, and thus it becomes difficult for everyone to attend. Moreover, as the university remains closed, things don’t become much festive.”

Sartaj Islam Shovon, a student of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, commented

“This was not much of a problem. The heat and everything were there. The program was good. The main thing is, we liked it. We mostly couldn’t enjoy in previous years due to exam pressure. This also becomes somewhat of a refreshment before the exams.”


Said Sabreen Alim, an energetic junior doing her BBA

Well, okay. If you put it like that..

All work and no play

Some students are a bit disappointed at the authority for always holding their exams at that time. But most students agree that their university has a specific academic calendar, and rigorous following of that prevents them from all kinds of session jams.

This very “legitimate” reason that was there for the early celebration of Pahela Baishakh is quite unknown to many. Hence, the flood of memes in our newsfeeds has tickled us to laugh, and also causing embarrassment to the people of BRACU at the same time.

Hey! look on the bright side

But, the people of BRAC University should not be disheartened in any way. They have a lot of positives to take from this.

1. Uninterrupted GoT binge

The most anticipated Episode of Game of Thrones will be released on 14th April. They can watch it staying at home, as they are already done with celebrating. BRACU people! Grab your popcorns, stay at your home, and watch your most awaited episode.

2. For the sake of memes!

This had provided some quality memes in our newsfeeds. Think of all the people you made laugh, BRACU people! In these tough times, having a good laugh is rare.

3. Cheap Hilsha! Yes!

Hilsha fish is quite costly in the Pahela Baishakh week. You have saved quite a significant chunk of money for yourselves eating Hilsha a week early. Think of all the productive things you can do with the saved money!

4. Festival hopping

Finally, this gives a chance to the BRACU students to explore the Pahela Baishakh program of other Universities! A golden opportunity to explore and getting out of your shell!