Shohoz founder and managing director Maliha M Quadir is an MBA from Harvard and has been named Young Global Leader of 2017 in Asian Countries by the World Economic Forum (WEF) for her efforts in digitizing the ticketing system in Bangladesh
Her company Shohoz recently received a $15 million investment from Singapore-based venture capital firm Golden Gate Ventures. In conversation with Dhaka Tribune's Niaz Mahmud, Shohoz founder shared her priotised areas for plan in going forward.
What made you launch ride sharing services in Bangladesh?
Shohoz means easy and it is a very generic name, and our goal is to make life easy for the masses. When I started Shohoz, the idea was to build something as big as Alibaba, Tencent, or Rakuten in Bangladesh.
One has to focus and start somewhere - we started with transport sector as it is a major hassle. I had wanted to do ride sharing since 2013 - I went and met authorities a few times in the 2014/2015 time-frame. I was basically waiting for the service to become legal.
We launched our platform right around that time. Our goal is to be the defacto online destination for Bangladesh and we see it to be a mobile first strategy with ride-sharing leading the way- as it’s a frequent use product.
How big is your ride sharing service now?
We do complete about one million rides each month from about 50,000 registered drivers.
Your major competitor Pathao is now operating food services and pay services. Do you have any plan to enter into that market?
We have plans in delivery and fintech in future. Any necessary service you can imagine will be offered from Shohoz in future.
Pathao has already launched services in Nepal. Do you have any plan to expand your services beyond the border?
There is a lot to be done in Bangladesh. We feel that we need to conquer those before venturing to other countries.
Do you consider payment as a major challenge as Bangladesh’s ride sharing is still a cash-based economy?
The cash based economy is not necessarily a challenge, however, digital money would make people’s life a lot easier.
Do you have a plan to bring riding solutions for female commuters?
We already have some female riders but the challenge is that there are not many women driving in Bangladesh - I would love to see that happen. As a woman, I feel strongly about doing something for woman’s transportation.
You have raised a big amount of fund last month. What are the areas you are looking to prioritize, going forward?
The capital will be used in order to support customer acquisition and retention, as well as expansion into other on-demand services. With the new investment, we will expand ride sharing business in Dhaka and beyond Dhaka and will be launching our delivery businesses soon.