Entrepreneurship

Glimpse Of a New Bangladeshi Narrative Through the Journey Of an NRB Entrepreneur

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Mahbubul Matin is a consummate economics and business graduate and an investment banker


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writes: “Bangladesh is on the rise” and the numbers are truly staggering. In 50 years in its Independence, the country, despite going through unfortunate ups and downs in its political history, coupled with its natural calamities and socio-economic challenges, has delivered head-turning progress in all major indicators you can think of. With the highest ever GDP per capita compared to its mighty neighbours and bulging foreign reserve in its favour, WSJ’s Hong Kong-based reporter Mike Bird rightly claimed that Bangladesh is South Asia’s “economic bull” case, and its development model matches that of stages in South Korea, China and Vietnam. Bangladesh is no more just another country in the world map, but a notable instance that reflects true colours of resilience and unsatiable hunger for progress.

One entrepreneur from Bangladesh, with his team of 11 at the top and the army of 11 hundred across his group’s business verticals, is sending akin waves, a lot like his motherland, as it stamps marks of progress with its novel strides. Mahbubul Matin, a consummate economics and business graduate and an investment banker in his early career, realized soon that he is on for a longer run and not shorter sprints. So he stepped into entrepreneurship, and the story of going places began then and there.

Back in 2005, Matin saw a unique opportunity that no other Bangladeshi IT entrepreneurs ventured into: building a financial ERP that captures the local nuances and helping the budding lease finance industry of the country. It resulted in a great breakthrough for the entity, and with this confidence and new-found capability, it also moved to another growth sector: telecom. In a matter of few months, their stout service delivery platforms moved across all the telcos in the country and started making waves across other regional telcos. Matin saw serious need to work in the scopes of many other related domains, to help Bangladesh and Asia progress to their desired destinations. He identified the Asia-Pacific to be the hot bed for tech-business incubation. Coincidentally, Matin and his astute team got a leap-forward contract to serve a Fortune 500 global player in Malaysia, and that paved his way to be based in APAC’s one of the tech-hubs. Gradually, he incorporated Dotlines in Singapore, and started conceptualizing a connected ecosystem over IT platforms. As a non-resident Bangladeshi, he made sure that he stayed close to his root, drove purpose and delivered impact. Slowly but surely, he started gathering his dream team, and building an ecosystem of seemingly diverse but inherently connected entities.

Today Dotlines, not only serves in Bangladesh, but in 11 more countries – in one way or the other, across the 22 connected verticals, clubbed under 10 segments.

If you look carefully, Dotlines talks about pureplay connectivity (Carnival Internet), over which it brings security (Audra), learning (e.g. Ghoori Learning), empowerment, infotainment, insurance and financial services (Carnival Assure), payments (e.g. Foster Payments and Sohoj), lifestyle (e.g. BanglaCut) and logistics and online-to-offline (e.g. eCourier and Carnival Point). All its connected ecosystem is backed-up and further intensified by its ingenious digital services platforms and AI-powered robotic process automation solutions (e.g. Pulse).

To talk about a few impacts Dotlines and its sister concerns have delivered is imperative at this stage. Contrary to the popular inside-out strategy by infrastructure companies, Carnival Internet took it on them to break the digital divide of the progressing country, and started it’s own strategy of “Go Rural”, embarked on an outside-in strategy, and started connecting villages after villages with the true taste of fibre broadband. At everyone’s surprise, in just a few years, Carnival Internet has passed across 80% of the districts of the country and brought best-in-class internet experience to thousands of households. Dotlines’ Audra realized the need for enterprise-grade security at home-grade simplicity and affordability for millions of homes and SMEs across Asia, and now raving across countries, as it partners up with in-country distributors, big-name broadband players, high-street retails and eminent ecommerce players. Its logistics business eCourier brought world-class service quality and delivery benchmarks for millions of e-commerce, SME and enterprise players, and now moves to P2P delivery solutions, with the tag of “We move emotions”. To democratize payments for the masses, the group keeps on innovating and implementing secured payment channels over traditional, mobile as well as online-to-offline modalities. Its O2O digital payment service Sohoj for migrant blue-collar workers took the dear spot among the millions of helpless workers spread around developed countries. Its boutique food business BanglaCut promises artisanal authenticity and process purity when it comes to loved meat, fish and accompaniments – and dreams to take the authentic Bangladeshi taste to world. “Bangladesh is the new breeding ground for world-class talents out of Asia, and I always believed – my country holds tremendous possibilities of making global marks”, says Matin. And looking at all the striking stats the country delivers, it’s never an over-statement.

If you carefully look into it, the Dotlines canvas Matin, with his team of eleven, is working on – looks exquisitely thoughtful, carefully crafted and intricately painted – where each colour and their strokes are independently visible, but together, they speak a fascinating story in totality. No wonder why his intimate friends and close peers named him “the artist of business”. A pure Bangladeshi by heart, Matin dreams of taking the flag of his motherland to many more capitals and touch millions of hearts.

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