Tired of complaining about traffic in Dhaka, the co-founders of GObd decided to solve this pain point.
Though Dhaka is one of the least motorised cities in the world, traffic congestion is high, with road network comprising hardly 7% of the total built-up area. Traffic is the most talked about issue, affecting everyone’s life. This is the inspiration behind a new app that aims to solve these crippling problems.
“We started the business because we got tired of complaining about traffic and decided to do something about it. Our first service ‘GO! Traffic’ [GObd] is a multiplatform service that provides accurate real-time traffic updates in the palm of your hand. GO! Traffic aggregates multiple data sources to ensure a high level of accuracy in the data,” said Qasim Rana, Co-founder of GObd.
The co-founders Rana, Farhan Rahman and Swagata Prateek started working together January 2015 with a team of 10 people. “Since launching GO! Traffic Beta in April, we’ve seen a steady rise in the number of users to over 20,000 with a retention rate of about 60%” said Rana.
The startup is currently working on strategic partnerships with corporate partners including telcos, NGOs and government agencies. “The goal of these partnerships is to expand our user base and improve our data collection mechanisms. The next set of partnerships will be focused more on business development and revenue generation,” Rahman explained.
The company trains and deploys a strategic field team to monitor traffic at key intersections and routes throughout the city to ensure regular and accurate traffic updates. “Though this was costly, we did not want to rely solely on crowdsourced traffic updates. This made a big difference to our service delivery and it really sets us apart from competitors,” added Rana.
Solving a local problem
GObd [GO! Traffic] faces competition from players such as Dhaka Traffic Alert and others. Rana stated: “We do have a number of competitors such as Waze or Inrix, but they do not operate in Bangladesh. We aggregate multiple sources of data for our unique algorithm to make sure everything is accurate and timely.”
“Our advantage is the fact that we are taking a local approach to a unique Bangladeshi problem and not shoehorning a high-tech Silicon Valley product here. Dhaka has a maddening mix of motorised and non-motorised transportation such as cars, buses, cycle rickshaws, tuktuks (CNGs in Bangladesh), trucks, cycle vans and suicidal pedestrians and our approach takes into account all of that,” he explained.
Bangladesh is becoming attractive for investors
GObd has been primarily self-funded, but it has recently raised a small amount of funding which will enable the company to survive until mid-2016. “We have been speaking extensively with a number of VCs from around the Asian region for further rounds of funding. Interestingly, there has been a lot of interest in not only what we do, but Bangladesh as a whole – the fact that are 170 million people in an area the size of New York State, relatively young and ethnically homogenous population with a high degree of mobile penetration and increasing disposable income makes Bangladesh a particularly attractive investment destination,” he explained.
The immediate goal for the company is to expand its footprint to all of Dhaka. It will then expand to other cities in Bangladesh. “We are aiming for 1,000,000 users in the next 18 months,” Prateek said. “We will also expand into other types of services revolving around transportation and inefficiency. Some of these services are already being piloted, but we don’t want to say too much now,” concluded Rana.
This post was originally published on e27.
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