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Fahim Saleh, from app developer to tech millionaire

  • Published at 01:52 pm July 15th, 2020
Pathao Co-Founder Fahim Saleh <strong>Collected</strong>
Pathao Co-Founder Fahim Saleh Collected

The decapitated, dismembered body of Pathao co-founder Fahim Saleh was found at his apartment in New York on Tuesday

Tech entrepreneur Fahim Saleh, co-founder of Pathao, was born in Saudi Arabia and moved around with his family quite a bit, before settling in Rochester of New York.

Later, he shifted to Poughkeepsie of New York, according to a 2016 blog profile.

The 33-year-old, son of Bangladeshi immigrants, learned to code and began to develop apps as a teenager, his friends said.

Fahim was found dead and dismembered in his $2 million Lower East Side apartment in New York around 3:30pm (New York time) on Tuesday, reports The New York Post.

An investor that finds things – is how he described himself on LinkedIn.

The leading tech entrepreneur of international ride-sharing companies had much more to offer had his life not been cut short.

Dreaming big

He first started with a simple site for his family - Salehfamily.com - when he was in the eighth grade. By the age of 15, he began to develop a knack for programming and set up a blogging site just for his friends. The dotcom boom of the 1990 saw him become interested in programming and developing websites.

What started as a teen hangout (teenhangout.com), ended up turning into a blogging forum for the community as more people heard about the site and began to publish articles, according to the Daily Mail.

A blog notes how at high school, Fahim Saleh was drawing a profit of between $100,000 and $150,000 a year as he created websites that focused on young people. 

Also Read- Pathao Co-Founder Fahim Saleh's decapitated, dismembered body found in New York condo

He attended Bentley University in Boston, Massachusetts where he studied Computer Information Systems and developed a Facebook app which allowed students to have food delivered.

He then set up a phone-pranking phone app that would let a user choose a prank call before calling up their friends to hear their surprised reaction.

What started off generating about $20 a day soon grew to $1,000. In an article for Medium, he recounted that PrankDial.com has generated $10million during its lifetime.

The website still brings in about $1-2million a year and allowed him to set up more companies: TapFury, an entertainment company, and Ninja Fish which had a focus on gaming.

He then set up a venture firm that would allow him to invest in startups in the developing world

Other achievements

He also taught himself how to program and started KickBack Apps, garnering over twenty-million downloads.

Beginning of Pathao

Seeing an opportunity in his parent's native country of Bangladesh, he went on to co-found the largest ride-sharing company in the country, Pathao, valued at over $100 million, with Hussain M Elius and Shifat Adnan in 2015.

Pathao started as a bike hailing service before pivoting into a logistics company. Fahim envisioned a venture in Bangladesh with the intention to help, rather than focus on profit maximization. Elius and Shifat had been working together to create tech solutions.

It was with his experience with Pathao in Bangladesh that Fahim went on to the bike hailing adventure in Lagos of Nigeria called Gokada in 2018.

Gokada, the former bike hailing company, was a success in the early stages. It pivoted into delivery services like Pathao following the government's ban on passenger motorcycles.

The company raised $10.6 million in funding after four rounds and was on track to break even by January 2020 before the government ban.

Following an attempt to appeal to the government about the ban, Fahim was criticized for the way he portrayed his bikers in a video,  reports pulse.ng.

According to Fahim’s Linkedin profile, he had over 15 years of entrepreneurial experience and was also an active investor in emerging markets, investing first in Colombia's largest motorcycle ride sharing company - Picap, recently valued at $15 million.

He also launched the venture capital firm Adventure Capital in New York in 2018.

Tributes pour in

Zunaid Ahmed Palak, the state minister for ICT, mourned, calling him a man with exceptional innovative mind. “He was an exemplary young man,” Palak said.

“We’ve lost exceptionally talented young entrepreneur of international calibre in the tech sector,” the state minister said in a message.

“Rest in peace Fahim Saleh. Deepest condolences for his family and friends. The world is becoming inhumane day by day,” wrote Ashiq Rahman, a software engineer living in Toronto, according to the Daily Mail.

Abraham Ojes, another entrepreneur, tweeted: “Rest in peace Fahim Saleh. I'm writing this from a place of pain and loss. You were such an inspiration to me and my team.”

"This is a big loss for us. Bright young people like him elevated our whole industry," said Syed Almas Kabir, president of Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS).

"We share Pathao's success story internationally often to show Bangladesh's potential. And Fahim's strong international network contributed to Pathao's international success undoubtedly," he told Dhaka Tribune. "Fahim's work didn't just benefit Pathao or his companies, but it benefitted the whole IT industry in Bangladesh."

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