The IT and consumer tech industries in Bangladesh have grown rapidly in the last three decades. The journey of this industry started in the 1960s through nuclear research, but from the 90s, this industry started to grow slowly. The sector is contributing 0.76-percent to the country’s GDP with export earnings of $1.3 billion and turnover of $1.4 billion in the local market in FY 2020-21. About 10 lakh people have been employed in this sector. On the other hand, the market size of the consumer tech sector is around $2.4 billion. Telecom companies like Grameenphone, FinTechs like Bikash as well as consumer tech giants like Walton are operating in this industry. Today we’ll be covering the top 5 tech company CEOs in Bangladesh.
Matin Mahbubul – Dotlines
Talking about the leading institutions of the Tech-based or IT sector in Bangladesh, Internet service provider Carnival Internet, logistics company eCourier, e-learning, or EdTech platform Ghoori learning will come up. Although many may not know that these three companies are basically subsidiaries of Dotlines. In fact, Dotlines has more than 20 tech-based companies in more than 10 different verticals. And the founder and chairman of this diverse company Matin Mahbubul.
He started his career as an investment banker after completing his studies at the University of Hong Kong, MBA from IBA, Economics from Delhi University, and London School of Economics and Political Science. His entrepreneurial journey began in 2005 with the establishment of Systems Solution & Development Technologies Limited or SSD-Tech. Although Dotlines’ ventures are quite diverse, each venture is actually interconnected in an ecosystem. For example, Dotline’s subsidiary Carnival Internet, which has connected more than 140,000 families and more than 550,000 rural people with the Internet. Another venture of Dotlines is Audra, Asia’s first DIY internet security solution. Meanwhile, there are ventures like Ghoori Learning, eCourier and Carnival Point for online-to-offline logistics services, payment services EasyPayWay, Foster Payments and Sohoj so that people can develop skills using the Internet. Also, there are ventures like Carnival Assure to digitize insurance and microfinance and BanglaCut in the lifestyle segment in Bangladesh. Apart from Bangladesh, several ventures of Dotlines are operating businesses in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, and Myanmar.
A.K.M Fahim Mashroor – Bdjobs.com
Until 2000, daily newspapers were the only means of finding any kind of job in Bangladesh. Although by that time, online job search sites had become available in many countries of the world. In continuation of this, in July of 2000, Bdjobs.com was launched as the country’s first online job listing platform, making it possible to find and apply for online jobs in the country. And the co-founder and CEO of this platform is A.K.M Fahim Mashroor.
Around 2000, the use of the Internet was increasing worldwide, but the number of Internet users in Bangladesh was still very low. However, with the gradual increase in internet usage in the country, BdJobs also became popular among job seekers and recruiters. Currently, the BD Jobs platform has an average of 2 lakh daily unique visitors, and more than 25 thousand corporate accounts. Besides, more than 34 lakh resumes of the country’s job seekers are listed on the platform. Fahim Mashroor completed his graduation in Economics from Dhaka University, and his MBA from the IBA, DU. After graduation, Fahim started BdJobs in a room at his house with only two to three associates and three computers from family members. Currently, he is associated with the management of several other technology ventures besides investing and leading the country’s largest B2C online marketplace, AjkerDeal.com, and the country’s only local language social network, Beshto.com. Even in 2012 and 2013, he served as the President of BASIS. In 2008, Fahim Mashroor was able to receive the “Best Innovative Entrepreneur” award from the Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Besides, he also received ICT Personality of the year from the Ministry of ICT in 2014, E-Business of the Year from The Daily Star and BASIS in 2016, and the Best SME Entrepreneur Award in SME Foundation in the service category in 2018.
Yasir Azman – Grameen Phone
GrameenPhone is the top mobile network operator in Bangladesh with about 46 percent or about eight and a half crore (8,48,00,000) subscribers. Starting operations in 1997, this company is basically a subsidiary of Norway’s Telenor Group. Since its inception, this multinational company has introduced new services along with modern technology to ensure better telecommunication services for the people of Bangladesh. The current CEO of the company “Yasir Azman”, is the first Bangladeshi CEO since the company started.
He completed MBA from the Institute of Business Administration, University of Dhaka, and participated in various executive educational programs at London Business School and INSEAD, France. Yasir Azman’s career at Grameenphone started in 2009 as Director of Sales and Distribution. In that capacity, he worked on the establishment of Grameenphone’s sales and distribution wing and brought changes to the existing distribution infrastructure. Following this, from 2010 to 2013, Yasir Azman served as the EVP and Circle Business Head of Grameenphone’s parent company, Telenor’s India operations in Odisha and Karnataka. He also joined Grameenphone Bangladesh as Chief Marketing Officer in June 2015 after serving as Group Head and Vice President of Distribution & eBusiness of the company from 2013 to 2015. Apart from this, since 2017 he has also served Michael Folley as Deputy CEO and was appointed CEO of the company in February 2020. Under his leadership, the organization has managed to bring more than 95 percent of the country under 3G coverage and about 97 percent of 4G coverage.
Golam Morshed – Walton
Walton is the leading consumer electronics manufacturer brand in Bangladesh. This electronics giant started its business in 1997 and is currently manufacturing electrical appliances like lights, fans, switches, home appliances like blenders, refrigerators, TVs, washing machines, air conditioners, and even elevators. Besides, the company manufactures various computer accessories, including mobile phones, and laptops. In addition to serving the local market in Bangladesh, Walton is also exporting products to more than 40 countries around the world.
The contribution of Golam Murshed, the company’s current managing director and CEO, behind Walton’s success is significant. He joined Walton as an Assistant Engineer after completing his Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering from the Islamic University of Technology (IUT) in 2010. In 2019, he claimed the position of Executive Director and CEO of one of Walton’s most important product segments, Refrigerators, with his talent and skills. While in charge of the refrigerator segment, under his leadership, Walton acquired several refrigerators and air conditioner manufacturing plants from Vietnam, Taiwan, and China, which has played an important role in the company occupying the top position in the refrigerator market of Bangladesh. In addition, the entire process of Walton’s listing in the capital market through the IPO offering in 2020 has been under his leadership and supervision. Following which, Golam Murshed was appointed as CEO and Managing Director of the company in October of that year. After taking over as CEO, he started focusing on establishing Walton as an international brand. Following this, he also joined CES 2022, one of the world’s most influential tech events, in addition to setting up Walton’s Research and Innovation Center in South Korea. Due to being the highest exporting company in Bangladesh’s electronics industry in 2022, Walton was also featured in CNN’s Made in Bangladesh campaign. In 2022 Walton acquired three European compressor brands Acc, VOE and ZEM. Under the leadership of Golam Murshed, Walton Technology aims to establish itself as one of the world’s top brands by 2030 through innovation in products.
Kamal Quadir – bKash
Bkash is the company that has contributed the most to the unprecedented change in Bangladesh’s fintech industry and bringing the country’s people under financial inclusion. Kamal Quadir is the founder and CEO of Bkash. His entrepreneurial career began in 2006 with the establishment of CellBazar, the country’s first classified ad platform. In 2010 Norwegian telecommunications operator Grameenphone’s parent company, “Telenor” acquired Cellbazar.
On the other hand, after receiving the license from Bangladesh Bank on April 12th of the same year, the journey of the first mobile financial service journey of the country began on July 21st, 2011. Which has contributed significantly to the growth of financial inclusion of people in Bangladesh, personal to business transactions, e-commerce and f-commerce. Under the leadership of Kamal Qadir, the number of users of BKash has crossed 56 million in just one decade of its journey. Kamal Qadir joined the New York Chamber of Commerce after graduating in art & economics from Oberlin College, USA. After completing his MBA from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he returned home and established his first venture CellBazaar. Under the leadership of Kamal Kadir, in 2008, Celbazar was able to receive the Social and Economic Development Award in the Best Use of Mobile category from the GSM Congress, and Asia Telecom’s Innovation of the Year Award. In addition, in 2007, Kamal Qadir was awarded the Tech Award for Applying Technology to Benefit Humanity, and in 2009, he was selected as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. Moreover, in 2017, Bikash managed to occupy the 23rd place among Fortune magazine’s ‘Change the World 2017‘ top 50 companies. In addition to this, Bikash was recognized as the best brand in Bangladesh in a consumer survey conducted by Bangladesh Brand Forum twice in 2019 and 2020. Bikash has been selected as the No 1 mobile financial service brand in Bangladesh for the fourth consecutive time in the MFS category.