DataBird, Bangladesh’s leading Internet group, recently raised $3 million in funding led by Skycatcher, a global Internet and software investor. Previously, the company raised a Seed round of $4m in 2018.
DataBird is the parent to Bangladesh’s leading brands in online travel with ShareTrip and in communication with Ridmik Keyboard. ShareTrip is the largest online travel agent in the country with +50% market share of online travel. Ridmik Keyboard is Bangladesh’s most used app and is used by the majority of all smartphone users in the country.
Kashef Rahman, CEO of DataBird, shares that “With this additional investment, not only are we being able to strengthen the market position of ShareTrip as a leading OTA in the aviation industry but also, we are expanding our ecosystem footprint with investments into communications, fin-tech and digital advertising. We are fortunate to have value-added partners who go beyond just capital and help shape our strategy.”
One of those key products is Ridmik Keyboard. Shamim Hasnath, Ridmik founder and CTO of DataBird, explains that, “When I first created Ridmik, it was to create a better typing experience for Bangla and English. Now as the clear market leader, we see our brand in Ridmik can be much more and become a Super App.”
As DataBird expands, it continues to invest and nurture homegrown talent in Bangladesh. Tanveer Ali, Board Member of DataBird shares “We are in this for the marathon ahead so one of the most important objectives for us is to invest into our team members to expand their skillsets. The real opportunity in a nascent market like Bangladesh is the knowledge transfer that can happen by studying Internet business models globally. We are really proud of how well our team has executed in the past few years and our bar is world class products.” Sadia Haque, CCO of DataBird, shares that “We are inspired by the cultures of Asia’s leading tech ecosystem giants like Tencent, SEA group, and Kakao where they operate with decentralized teams building product. We believe we offer a unique culture in the local context of Bangladesh and are always actively recruiting talent locally or diaspora from abroad who want to come Dhaka and make an impact.”
Building an Internet giant takes time and a laser focus on execution. Sia Kamalie, Skycatcher founder, shares that “We are playing a different game. Our investment horizon can be forever and we think a lot about where the world will be in 2030. For us, it’s clear that Bangladesh Internet ecosystem will be exponentially bigger than today when you consider that it’s 8th largest country in world by population, growing GDP at +8% for last decade, and we estimate smartphone penetration is only 40% today. In the next few years, we expect another 50 to 75m smartphone users coming online for the first time and DataBird will be there to serve all their needs.”