From coaching centre to Evaly, the making of another bad billionaire
Mohammad Rassel, the man behind Evaly, in 2009 started his career as a coaching centre teacher who by 2018 became the owner of a company with over 3,700 employees and positioned as the country’s second-largest e-commerce platform.
With year-long huge discounts and up to 150% cashback offers, the platform was able to attract a huge number of customers across the country.
But with complaints and irregularities, it soon became a name for controversy in the e-commerce market.
On September 16, after the arrest of Evaly’s CEO Rassel and Chairperson Shamima Nasrin, his wife, RAB revealed that the platform counts liabilities over Tk1,000 crore.
Though Rassel wanted to create Evaly’s brand value to sell the platform to some foreign company, the supply chain could not be maintained and liabilities kept growing, he said.
The couple also admitted that they had little investment in the platform. The discount trap was what made customers pay in advance for the products that fueled the growth of this platform.
On Friday afternoon a Dhaka court placed Rassel and Nasrin on a three-remand leaving millions of their customers in worries of never getting back their money and keeping the country waiting for more insights into this burning scam.
From coaching centre to Evaly
Rassel was from Dhaka's Savar and grew up in a boarding school. After his post-graduation in 2007, he started teaching in a coaching centre in 2009.
In 2011, he got into the banking sector where he worked for several banks in six years and learned the mechanism behind the banking process.
Meanwhile, in 2013, he completed his MBA and started developing different business ideas.
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In 2017, he developed a company for kids' products that eventually became the Kidz Diaper brand. Selling the diaper brand Rassel established Evaly in December 2018, making himself the CEO and his wife Nasrin the chairperson of the e-commerce platform.
With over 4.4 million registered customers the platform has always made year-long huge discounts and cashback offers.
With advanced payments from the customers, the platform grabbed more customers by increasing the level of promotion, i.e. increasing the discounts.
In this manner the platform used customers’ money to bring more money into its account; similar to a Ponzi scheme: advance payment from customers - using the money to run massive promotion campaigns - getting more money – repeat.
According to Rassel, Evaly followed the strategy of making 1: 2 attractive deal offers more like the foreign e-commerce platforms and extracted money from the manufacturers-customers supply chain.
His eventual plan was to build the brand value of the platform to sell it at a huge price - something he almost thought he had with the Jamuna Group in the final stretch. All the liabilities too would of course be transferred.
For this reason, even after the notices from the ministry asking for transaction records, Evaly did not disclose any such information - it rather sought six months more, during which Rassel the showman would surely try and get someone to pay for his greatest trick.
But this time the show was over, and no one was buying.