Accelerating Asia Invests in Three Bangladeshi Startups
It is not easy to find an investor or funding for a startup in the early stage. But there are few companies that offer investment for the startup in their early stages. And, Accelerating Asia, a Singapore-based startup accelerator and early-stage venture capital firm, is one of such companies that support startups through funding and investments. Recently, the company has invested in 13 firms. Among the 13 companies, nine of them are new startups, and four of them already have an existing portfolio. Three Bangladeshi startups, Shuttle, Markopolo, and MedEasy, received funds from Accelerating Asia as part of its cohort six. While Markopolo and MedEasy got the funding from Accelerating Asia, the Shuttle received follow on funding. Read Making Investment Decisions: Factors to consider when investing money Accelerating Asia Founded in 2018, Accelerating Asia is a startup engagement platform that links investors, partners, and clients. They aim to facilitate high-performing partnerships with high-potential founders. Help put promising, motivated founders on the path to success on a global scale. Acceleration Asia provides to aid startups in achieving their goals as part of the open tech ecosystem. Hence, it enables individuals across numerous sectors and industries to benefit from funding sources, resources, and opportunities. Singapore's Monetary Authority regulates Accelerating Asia's early-stage venture capital fund. Around $250,000 is invested by Accelerating Asia into startups from 10 countries and 20 industries. Further, its award-winning flagship accelerator program keeps track of the pre-Series A startups while taking an equity stake in the invested companies. Read B’Yeah: Shaping up the Youth Entrepreneurship Prospects in Bangladesh They also engage with the governments, MNCs, and universities to operate and design startup engagement programs. Currently, they have invested in 46 companies so far, and 36 of them are lead investments. They have made one diversity investment to Web2ship.com. Accelerate Asia has one exit; they have exited from MyBrand. Their investors include angel investors, Family Offices, HNWIs, venture capital firms, and large enterprises, including corporations and international development organizations. So far, Accelerate Asia startups have raised around $36 million from different external investors, which include family offices, angels, and VCs. Also Read: How to Transform Your Freelancing Career into a Scalable Business The majority of the startups joined in Accelerating Asia have closed at least one funding round. Startups have raised investment from angels in the Accelerating Asia network, Limited Partners, and institutional investors. Most portfolio members have closed at least one funding round since joining Accelerate Asia. Startups have raised financing from angels through the Accelerating Asia network and Limited Partners. Their Fund I portfolio companies are growing exponentially at 800% annually. Moreover, the broad vertical across the B2B, B2C, and B2G provide a diversified portfolio. Now they have introduced $20 million Fund II with ~50% initial commitments from existing investors and limited partners. Read Neuromarketing: How brands psychologically manipulate the consumers Now let's take a look at the three Bangladeshi companies that got funding from Accelerate Asia. Shuttle Started in 2018, Shuttle is a transport startup by Reyasat Chowdhury, Jawwad Jahangir, and Shah Sufian. Shuttle aims to redesign public transport in developing countries such as Bangladesh. They are doing for buses what Uber did for taxis. It is a B2B and B2C mass-transit company that transports passengers with minimal transportation hindrances. The Shuttle operates largely fixed routes with set pick-up locations and regular service times, making it simple for people to plan transportation. Shuttle uses data to predict demand and strategically design optimal routes to minimize inconveniences. Read Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle: Concept, Significance, Practice, Examples Shuttle initiated its work in Bangladesh by targeting the women's everyday transportation issue in overpopulated Dhaka. Since the city does not sustain a quiet mass-transport system for women, Jawwad and Reyasat had seen it fit to build something to provide a solution. The duo incorporated the idea of enhancing the town's transportation network with the purpose of advancing the women. Previously, Shuttle raised $750,000 through Accelerate Asia in Cohort 3. Now they received a follow-on funding from Accelerate Asia. However, the funding amount is not published yet. Markopolo Founded in 2021, Markopolo is a digital marketing agency that offers data-driven and tailored digital marketing services to online businesses and content creators. They provide data-driven advertising tools for 50million+ microbusinesses and creators. Read Work from Home Business Ideas for Moms, Housewives in Bangladesh The platform allows them to launch their targeted ads in just moments, with no experience or knowledge of Google Ads, Facebook Ads, or even without hiring an expensive firm. With Markopolo, creators and business owners can get up and run ads in minutes without utilizing hours learning Google Ads or Facebook Ads. Markopolo's marketing and advertising tool allow all types of entrepreneurs to plug in their creativity and funds and let their campaigns run using the best tactics from Google, Instagram, and Facebook. Currently, the company provides its service using more than 20 employees, and they are growing slowly. However, Markopolo's growth is going to be increased as they have got funding from Accelerate Asia in May 2022. The amount of funding is not published yet. Read How to Choose the Right Business Idea? MedEasy MedEasy is an online pharmacy that strives to make the lives of 30 million chronic patients in Bangladesh easier and requires extensive access to pharmacies. They offer doctor's consultations via video call and deliver medicines to patients' doorstep. So far, the company has completed more than 2 million medicine orders among the 70,000+ total users and seen 16 times more revenue in 2021. Now their growth may increase in the next few years as they have got funding from Accelerate Asia. Although the exact amount of funding is not known yet, it is expected the fund will help them grow. Final Words Bangladesh sees an uptick in investment in startups, with accelerators and funding groups pouring money into early-stage companies. With a vibrant startup ecosystem and strong entrepreneurial spirit, the country is well on its way to becoming a regional powerhouse in feasible startups. Read How to Open a Preschool in Bangladesh? Since its inception, Accelerating Asia has been helping Bangladeshi startups to boost their growth. The organization's resources and knowledge are invaluable to entrepreneurs looking to scale up their businesses.
An Overview of Shuttle: A Promising Mass Transit Startup in Bangladesh
Dhaka's roads are infamous for their chaos. Reckless rickshaws, daredevil bikers, and unruly buses are a nightmare for the commuters. Three friends tried to make sense of the madness and ended up creating a mass mobility service startup three years ago, aiming to simplify transportation in the capital. Tapping technology, the mobility startup uses fewer vehicles to move more people -- particularly women and students -- conveniently from one part of the city to another. Launched in 2018, Shuttle has since expanded broadly and added 'Shuttle for Business' and 'Rental Services'. Besides, the company has also raised funds for future expansion. How it all started Shuttle was founded by Reyasat Chowdhury, Jawwad Jahangir, and Shah Sufian. The journey of Shuttle started by addressing the women's daily commuting problem. The overpopulated city does not even have a safe mass transportation system for women. Addressing this problem, Jawwad and Reyasat thought of making a change to the city's transportation system, which will also make a positive impact on society. And in 2018, Shuttle started its journey on Dhaka's roads with two microbuses on July 15. It was initially launched for ferrying university students. Read 20 Most Promising Education Start-Ups in Bangladesh Initial Investment Investment is the core element to run a business or service, and it is very critical for any startup in its early stages. But Shuttle got lucky, and it received a considerable amount of investment from Robi through their r-Ventures programme. Initially, they have started 'Shuttle for Women' service, focusing on the corporate women and university-going students. However, the company faced challenges in the first months of its service. Initially, gaining trust was highly challenging as they were working with a specific market segment. But, the founders were able to come up with a proper execution plan and that helped in establishing the brand. Read Top 7 Truck Rental Apps in Bangladesh Shuttle Services Although the company started as a women-centric transportation provider, they have introduced two more services in their product line. Let's get to know each of them. Shuttle for Women As we have mentioned earlier, it was the primary service. Shuttle for Women currently serves seven routes in Dhaka -- Dhanmondi to Rampura, Mirpur to Bashundhara, Mirpur/Mohammadpur to Gulshan, Mohammadpur to Bashundhara, Uttara to Bashundhara, Uttara to Gulshan-1, and Dhanmondi to Bashundhara. The fare starts from Tk 80 a ride. The service starts early in the morning and runs till late at night. Shuttle for Business Many companies provide their own transportation for their employees. Therefore, they need to maintain a different department for that. To eliminate this need, Shuttle started 'Shuttle for Business.' It is a corporate pick-and-drop service for companies with customised routes. Suttle for Business provides service through a special app for businesses. Moreover, the 24/7 hotline support also helps to solve any problem. The app also has a real-time dashboard for human resources. Most importantly, late-night pooling can help an organisation to drop off their employees after dark to different areas through the shared transport facility. Read Top 5 Mobile Apps for Farmers in Bangladesh Rental Service This is a new addition to the service. It works like a traditional car rental service but in a digital way. You can book a car for your trip early from four different vehicle types, including Hiace, Noah, Sedan, and Coaster. The company promises to get you the best price in the town. Besides, you can make the payment online and go anywhere in Bangladesh. The trained driver ensures the safety of the tour. How Does the Shuttle Work? The working procedure is simple, like a piece of cake. Depending on the service, you can book your ride via the website or the app available for both Android and iPhone. For the Shuttle for Women service, you will need to select the route and choose your time for the ride from the time listed. However, if you are an organisation and looking to offer a ride to your employees, you can contact Shuttle directly and or even register through the website and get your customized route. Currently, they have two different apps to offer their service. One app is for the registered users, and the other app is used by trip managers. Using the app, customers can book riders, track vehicles, and know the approximate time of arrival along with the trip manager's information. Shuttle offers air-conditioned micro-buses where around 10 people can commute together. Overall, Shuttle operates on 10 routes in Dhaka city and provides service to more than 30,000 users. Read Top 10 Co-working Spaces in Dhaka Current Situation of the Company Shuttle is growing, and recently it has managed to raise $750,000 in a seed round. Impact Collective (The Ventures, South Korea), Robi Axiata Limited (r-ventures), and Bangladesh Angels Network (BAN) participated in the seed round. Apart from these investors, Foodpanda Bangladesh's Co-founder & Managing Director and Uber's Head of Mobility Innovation Programs also participated in the round. Moreover, the Shuttle is also eligible to receive Impact Ready Matching Fund of up to $100,000 from Biniyog Briddhi. However, the company also raised some investment from a pre-seed round from Robi Axiata Limited -- around $1 million in total. The future is bright for Shuttle in Bangladesh. The journey continues... Read LPG Growth in Bangladesh: Effective Alternative to Natural Gas
‘Shuttle for Business’ launched for safe transportation
Shuttle, a renowned app-based transportation solution for women, has launched “Shuttle for Business” - a new pick-and-drop service for organisations that want to ensure safe transportation of their employees.