Navigating the way in ride-railing business
From one of the first ticketing platforms to becoming a ride-hailing service, Shohoz's journey since 2013 has been an inspiring one, particularly for homegrown startups. We spoke with Maliha Quadir, the Founder and Managing Director of Shohoz where she shared her vision about the startup with BYTES:
How did the idea for Shohoz come about?
Shohoz means easy in Bangla and the company's aim has always been about making life easy. When we started the company, we wanted to be the Tencent and Rakuten of Bangladesh and we're adamant on executing that strategy. For the last three to four years we have been focusing on the bus ticketing and we have also added the ride sharing service for the transport market.
How much of the market has Shohoz been able to capture?
We are currently giving a million rides a month. So when you compare that figure with the rest of our competitors', our place in the market becomes clear. We want to delight our customers with the quality of our services- that's our main focus. As the market is maturing, we believe quality of the services will become the key differentiator.
What is Shohoz's focus with the newly acquired funding?
We are on Series B funding right now and we will be investing it in our ride sharing services and on-demand delivery services. We will start with food delivery but move into other services like grocery, laundry, medicine and other everyday goods delivery. You can order the items from our app and we will handle delivery. However, we won't keep any inventory like Chaldal or like other grocery stores. Grab and Go-Jek are good examples of what we want to achieve.
What are the challenges Shohoz is faced with currently?
The ultimate challenge is to achieve the loyalty of riders and customers and you have to raise a tremendous amount of capital and get in the game in order to endure that. All the companies are generating revenues right now but it is hard to make a profit with ride sharing alone. That is why everyone trying to provide additional services as well.
What steps are Shohoz taking to ensure customer and rider loyalty?
Customers are very fickle and hard to hold on to in this market. Ride sharing apps raise million dollars to make improvements in order to hold on to customers, because customer loyalty is the most important thing in this market. There are some key steps we are taking right now to ensure rider and customer loyalty such as, providing multiple services, offering a clean application interface and an alert customer care service.
What are the incentives for the riders with Shohoz?
The ride sharing market provides a lot of incentives for not only users but also for riders. Riders are always being provided with added values to keep them loyal to our platform. It's a matter of maintaining a cordial relationship with each rider and it's not just about money, it's about being transparent with them and always making sure that they are being paid back their dues on time. Another important thing to note is community and individual engagement with our riders which is crucial to our region.
What are Shohoz's plans outside of Dhaka?
We are going to expand to Chittagong after Dhaka. Although we started our operations in Narayanganj, the main issue was that a lot of riders didn't have licenses. So while Narayanganj has been a tough market to capture, our goal right now is to expand to Chittagong.
What are the chances of Shohoz going global in the future?
There is a lot to be done in Bangladesh alone so as a young organisation, we don't believe in jumping to other regions right now. Among the places where we can extend naturally to, India comes to mind but that market is already captured by the big players. There are countries with ride sharing markets much smaller than even Bangladesh's market. But if I weigh my options, we would rather launch a new service in Bangladesh than planning an international expansion. We will focus on Bangladesh for the near foreseeable future because of existing connections and market knowledge but international expansion is on our agenda for the distant future.