Forbes announced its sixth annual “30 Under 30 Asia” list on 19th April (Monday). This time, nine young Bangladeshi entrepreneurs have made their way into the “Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia 2021” list under three categories – Enterprise Technology, Retail & E-Commerce and Social Impact.
The list features 300 young entrepreneurs, leaders and pioneers across Asia, all under the age of 30.
In its website, it stated that Asia sees the light at the end of the Covid-19 tunnel, activists, entrepreneurs, scientists and young leaders on the Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia 2021 list are working hard realizing the new normal.
After the toughest year in their generation, these 300 Millennials and Gen Zs have persevered to survive and even thrive despite long lockdowns, restricted travel and uncertainties on all fronts.
It features bright and innovative millennial and Gen Z leaders who have persevered and thrived despite global uncertainty, with 30 honorees selected for each of the 10 categories.
The categories are The Arts; Entertainment & Sports; Finance & Venture Capital; Media, Marketing & Advertising; Retail & Ecommerce; Enterprise Technology; Industry, Manufacturing & Energy; Healthcare & Science; Social Impact and Consumer Technology.
From 2016 till 2020, a total of nine Bangladeshis made their way into the list for their outstanding work. This year alone nine Bangladeshis under the age of thirty got listed for their work in three categories: Enterprise Technology, Social Impact and Retail & Ecommerce.
Morin Talukder, the co-founder of Pickaboo, has been addressed under the Retail & E-Commerce category of the list.
Morin co-built one of the first Dhaka-based online stores, Pickaboo five years ago that has introduced a monthly installment payment plan, same-day delivery and a customer membership program.
The recent plan of Pickaboo is to open 150 physical stores across the country by the end of 2021 after it has raised over $6 million from investors in Bangladesh and India. Previously Morin set up the e-commerce site ehaatbazaar.com, which he sold to his cofounder in 2016.
Shehzad Noor Taus Priyo (24), and Motasim Bir Rahman (26), are among the awarded entrepreneurs and inventors who were honoured for Gaze – a Singapore and Bangladesh-based AI startup, launched in 2018.
Taus and Mostasim’s startup Gaze has been making waves in the last couple of years. Gaze builds API for visual recognition with AI supporting features like spoof-proof face recognition, OCR, object recognition etc. It also offers visual recognition technologies for online transactions.
According to Gaze Facebook page, they build Gazepass—a passwordless sign-in API for developers that is compatible with any device with a webcam or biometric sensor. The company has raised about $1 million in funding, and its customers include Dhaka Metropolitan Police. It won the Startup World Cup Bangladesh in 2020 and Bangladesh Business Innovation Award for Best Startup in 2019.
Meanwhile, Mir Sakib was honored for Cramstack in the enterprise technology category. This is a startup that uses AI to automate the extraction of information from unstructured data to provide insights for businesses. Cramstack helps industries with its natural language-driven search interface to analyse and visualise data.
The idea behind Cramstack is to build a search platform that would allow users to search enterprise data sources as easily as a Google search. It also offers tools to extract and process data from PDFs and images.
Cramstack has clients in the power, finance, manufacturing, healthcare and retail sectors including the government of Bangladesh, BCG, UNDP and National Bank. During the pandemic, it provided government data from healthcare workers and immigration officials to help track, and curb, the spread of the coronavirus. It has raised over $1 million from Rockstart (Netherlands), Grameenphone (unit of Telenor) and angel investors.
However, five Bangladeshis got recognition under the Social Impact category. They are Co-founders of AWARENESS 360 Rijve Arefin (26) and Shomy Chowdhury (26), Co-founders of HYDROQUO+ Rizvana Hredita and Zahin Rohan Razeen, and the Founder of the OBHIZATRIK Foundation Ahmed Imtiaz Jami (27).
Rijve Arefin and Shomy Chowdhury jointly established Awareness 360, which is a Kuala Lumpur-based NGO. The NGO aims to bring together young people wanting to improve the lives of others. The duo’s work has been recognized by the UN Development Programme, among other international groups.
Rizvana Hredita (28) and Zahin Rohan Razeen (22) co-founded HYDROQUO+, a Dhaka-based startup that uses AI to improve water management, in 2018. It has developed systems and technology to detect anomalies in water and analyze water quality.
Besides, the company consults for government agencies and NGOs on water-quality modeling. In September, Razeen, CEO of Hydroquo+, was named one of the United Nations’ 17 Young Leaders for the Sustainable Development Goals who are leading efforts to combat the world’s most pressing issues.
On the other side, Ahmed Imtiaz Jami founded the Bangladesh-based Obhizatrik Foundation in 2010 to work on poverty elimination, education, health and nutrition, human rights and the environment.
In the past decade, it has supported more than 1 million people and provided free education to 500 underprivileged children in three schools, empowered 550 families in seven districts, and provided free treatment for 10,000 patients.
Again, it operates a free school and also has a grants program to help poor families set up a business that can be their source of income for the long term. During the pandemic, it donated free vegetables to 200,000 individuals, as well as free groceries to 65,000 families and free meals to 90,000 families.
Meanwhile, it raised $235,000 from government ministries as well as corporate donors such as Standard Chartered Bank.