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Marketing Featured South Asia

DreamStart Labs, BRAC Bank partner to provide digital financial services to unbanked women in Bangladesh

Dhaka, Bangladesh – Fintech DreamStart Labs and commercial bank BRAC Bank in Bangladesh have announced a partnership to provide digital financial services to unbanked women in Bangladesh. This partnership will see BRAC Bank using technology from DreamStart Labs to help women in rural communities access affordable small business loans.

Through this partnership, unbanked women in Bangladesh will be using the DreamSave app from DreamStart Labs to create informal community savings groups. As members use DreamSave, the technology will generate data-driven credit scores that make it easy for BRAC Bank and its microfinance institution (MFI) partners to offer digital financial services with greater security, transparency, and efficiency. The use of the DreamSave app will facilitate BRAC Bank’s expansion of its MFI business portfolio in Bangladesh.

Moreover, BRAC Bank and DreamStart Labs will be expanding the use of the DreamSave app with savings groups under the USAID-funded Nobo Jatra project, implemented by World Vision in southwest Bangladesh.

Syed Abdul Momen, deputy managing director and head of SME banking at BRAC Bank, said, “DreamStart Labs offers market-leading innovation from Silicon Valley to help unbanked women break the cycle of poverty. BRAC Bank is pleased to partner with DreamStart Labs for this important initiative.”

Meanwhile, Wes Wasson, CEO of DreamStart Labs, commented, “BRAC Bank is the market leader in banking solutions for underserved entrepreneurs. DreamStart Labs is delighted to work with BRAC Bank to bring our innovative technology to unbanked women in Bangladesh.”

In March 2022, BRAC Bank has also partnered with Singapore’s consumer bank DBS, aimed at allowing Bangladeshi migrants working in Singapore to easily transfer their hard-earned income to their families back home, with minimal fees and in real-time by using DBS Remit, a remittance service integrated within the digital banking platform, DBS digibank.

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Marketing Featured South Asia

Bangladesh-based AB Bank unveils two new DMDs

Dhaka, Bangladesh — The Bangladesh-based financial institution, AB Bank Limited, has announced the elevations of Syed Mizanur Rahman and K.M Mohiuddin Ahmed as deputy managing directors.

Rahman holds an extensive understanding of the banking industry as he has over 25 years of banking experience. Under his leadership Retail Banking Division, Agent Banking Division and Business Development Unit were established in AB Bank.

Before joining AB Bank, he worked for Dhaka Bank, IPDC, Bank Al Falah and United Commercial Bank. Over the years Rahman acquired extensive knowledge in different segments of the banking industry with a distinct focus on branch banking, retail, process transformation, business development and corporate communication.

On the other hand, Ahmed joined AB Bank in 2003. Having more than 19 years of experience in the bank, Ahmed worked in different positions at the Department of Accounts and Finance.

He has extensive experience in the arena of financial management, financial control, capital management, taxation, budgetary management etc. Ahmed has also worked as a core team member and track lead of the core business software up-gradation project of the bank.

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Platforms Featured South Asia

Digital entertainment platform Binge now made available in more than 120 countries

Dhaka, Bangladesh – Bangladesh’s digital entertainment platform Binge has expanded its reach to the global audience. From now on, viewers from more than 120 countries around the world will be able to enjoy endless content of Binge including live TV, web series, movies, dramas, exclusive originals and so on.

Binge has come up with two subscription plans for global audience. They can avail the service both in monthly and yearly subscription plan only for $3 and $12 respectively. Smartphone users with android or IOS operating systems both can enjoy the service.

Robi’s Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) Shihab Ahmad, said, “We are extremely delighted and proud to be able to bring our national entertainment platform Binge to our audience across the world. In this connection, we have recently received the recognition of ‘Silver Play Button’ from YouTube with the endless love of the audience. We firmly believe, with a large content library- Binge will get the attention of a global audience too.”

Ahmed Armaan Siddiqui, EVP for Digital VAS and New Business at Robi Axiata Limited commented, “Binge has brought a revolution in the entertainment industry of Bangladesh with the tagline ‘Entertainment Made Endless’.” 

“We have launched our operation in more than 120 countries after huge success in local market. Now our global audience gets the opportunity to enjoy more than 1,200 content including web series, movies, and dramas. In addition, our local entertainment industry will have the opportunity to bring their content to the world stage,” Siddiqui added.

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Marketing Featured South Asia

Akash Digital TV launches product that would ward off pesky mosquitoes during TV time

Dhaka, Bangladesh – As Bangladesh has been hit by a dengue epidemic within a pandemic, Akash Digital TV, the country’s direct-to-home (DTH) service provider, has launched a new unique mosquito repellent curtain called ‘MosBlock’, aimed at providing uninterrupted entertainment in a safe and healthy environment.

Several reasons why the number of dengue victims is rising are that low-income people living in slum communities partake extensively in communal social practices, as well as many mosquito repellents are not approved by the health board, and their ingredients can pose a severe health threat. Therefore the only safe defence is a mosquito net which is often impractical as you need to stay indoors throughout the day. 

According to research done by the Aichi Agricultural Research Center, it has been found that in the animal planet, Zebras get less attacked by mosquitoes because of their black and white pattern. The pattern creates an illusion in the compound of the eyes of mosquitos, which derails their landing. Mosquitoes avoid journeying in the direction of this unique pattern.

With this insight, an initiative was started as a pilot project in Dhaka’s largest slum – korail slum. The program began with an awareness and activation campaign throughout the slums, followed by the distribution of MosBlock curtains amongst households- all free of cost. The curtains were put on the doors and windows of homes as well as on the boundary walls – thereby deterring mosquitoes from this area.

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Platforms Featured South Asia

Reselling platform in Jarafa launches reseller, wholesaler marketplace in Bangladesh

Dhaka, Bangladesh – Jarafa, a reselling platform has announced the launch of its reseller and wholesaler marketplace in Bangladesh. It aims to link wholesalers and resellers via its website and app so that all they have to do is click to generate money.

Anyone in the country can sell and buy things from anywhere in the country. Both B2B and B2C business models are maintained by Jarafa. Jarafa also shared that it will  be offering a financing program in the near future that would involve bank loans. 

Jarafa’s chief mission is to develop an eCommerce environment that will allow digital businesses to grow and expand throughout the country. Ultimately, Jarafa aims to become a one-stop tool that helps businesses sell their products through Facebook and other social media platforms.

Md. Fahad, CEO of Jarafa, said that the Jarafa team will work tirelessly and sincerely to facilitate the creation of a social commerce ecosystem that is safe and secure. By using this strategy, digital commerce and entrepreneurship will both be boosted to a larger extent. 

“With the best technical and financial support available to our resellers and wholesalers, Jarafa hopes to reach a strong and stable position in the next 2-3 years,” the company said. 

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Platforms Featured South Asia

Bangladesh telco Banglalink unveils digital marketplace AppLink

Dhaka, Bangladesh — Telecommunications company Banglalink in Bangladesh has unveiled AppLink, a digital services marketplace aimed at connecting Banglalink customers with local developers. Along with providing the customers with convenient purchase facilities, it will open up earning opportunities for the developers.

Local developers can register and get all the necessary tools and Application Programming Interfaces such as SMS, USSD, and billing connectivity on AppLink’s platform to publish and monetize their digital services of different categories such as health, education, sports, among others. Banglalink customers will be able to purchase their desired services using Banglalink’s mobile airtime balance at the Applink website (applink.com.bd/).

Zunaid Ahmed Palak MP, honourable state minister of the ICT Division, said, “Banglalink is known for taking exemplary digital initiatives for the country’s youth. This time, it has developed a digital platform that can encourage young developers to develop apps for our local market. This is an example of how large corporate organizations can contribute to the growth of our IT sector by empowering young professionals.”

Upanga Dutta, chief commercial officer of Banglalink, said that the company has launched AppLink with a two-fold objective; firstly, this new digital ecosystem is to empower local developers with a platform to showcase their talents with the opportunity to earn.

“Secondly, it enables our customers to easily purchase their desired services and apps with complete ease. We are happy to expand our digital service portfolio further through this initiative, and hope to enable young developers across the country through this platform,” Dutta said.

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Marketing Featured South Asia

GREY launches campaign for IPDC, Amal Foundation’s ‘The Child Marriage Prevention Loan’

Dhaka, Bangladesh – IPDC, one of Bangladesh’s major non-banking financial institutions, and the Amal Foundation, an NGO that focuses on preventing child marriage, have launched the Child Marriage Prevention Loan by IPDC, powered by Amal Foundation. The initiative’s goal is to prevent child marriage by offering low-income parents a conditional microfinance loan with no interest or collateral.

When it comes to child marriage within its borders, Bangladesh has long been at the top of the world rankings. The main reason behind underage marriages is parents in the poorer rural communities of Bangladesh areas, where most if not all, believe girl children to be a burden on their Parents’ limited earnings. These findings were notably true for the daily wage earners known to flock to metropolitan areas for work. As a result of repeated covid-19 lockdowns that took away their sources of income, they were compelled to return to their villages, and once back, with even more dampened savings, many parents opted to marry off their young girl children to avoid further financial responsibility. This is where the loan aims to be of help.

The campaign for the loan offering was done by Grey Bangladesh. The 2-minute ad focused on the culture of child marriage in Bangladesh. It also features how girl children in Bangladesh need not be seen as a burden when families are able to practice proper financial handling and training.

The Child Marriage Prevention Loan (CMPL) is a conditional zero-interest microfinance loan that assists underprivileged parents in establishing long-term businesses if they match three criteria. The first condition being, only parents of a 12- to 18-year-old girl child can apply for a loan. Secondly, a girl child cannot be married before she reaches the legal age,and  finally, the girl child must be educated until high school.

This collective effort will result in the transformation of these girls from liabilities to assets and ensure education for them.

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Marketing Featured South Asia

BRAC Bank, DBS partner to provide real-time, zero-fee remittances to Bangladesh

Bangladesh – Bangladesh-based private commercial bank BRAC Bank has partnered with Singapore’s consumer bank DBS, aimed at allowing Bangladeshi migrants working in Singapore to easily transfer their hard-earned income to their families back home, with minimal fees and in real-time using DBS Remit, a remittance service integrated within the digital banking platform, DBS digibank. 

The new partnership will enable DBS and POSB customers in Singapore to remit funds to any of BRAC Bank’s 187 branches and more than 700 agent banking outlets across Bangladesh. Furthermore, customers can credit their remittances via DBS Remit to any bank account in Bangladesh. By the end of 2022, customers will also be able to use DBS Remit to transfer funds to Bangladesh’s mobile wallet bKash, a subsidiary of BRAC Bank.

For remittances to Bangladesh, DBS Remit has no service fee charges, provides guaranteed exchange rates, as well as real-time automated deposits to any bank account there. BRAC Bank’s extensive network also allows recipients in Bangladesh to easily collect funds in cash if they prefer. For remittances deposited to a BRAC Bank account, BRAC Bank customers can use the bank’s app, Astha, to pay for utilities, insurance and loan installations, credit card and phone bills, as well as transfer funds to any bank account or mobile wallet in Bangladesh. They can also withdraw their cash at any ATM around the nation.

Rhidoi Krishnakumar, the regional head of DBS Remit, commented that they are very pleased to partner with BRAC Bank, one of the most innovative financial institutions in Bangladesh, to enhance their DBS Remit capabilities and provide more accessible, affordable and secure remittances for their customers. 

“We also look forward to enabling remittances to bKash wallet by the end of this year so customers can remit to even more touchpoints across Bangladesh,” said Krishnakumar.

Meanwhile, Selim R.F. Hussain, BRAC Bank’s managing director and CEO, shared that inward foreign remittance is one of the backbones of the economy, and they are always working hard to facilitate its continuous growth. 

“We joined hands with DBS Bank, the leading digital bank in the world because they, like us, offer their customers the best service experience, backed by the most advanced technologies,” said Hussain.

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Platforms Featured South Asia

Fintech wagely bags fresh funding to extend service in Bangladesh

Dhaka, Bangladesh – Indonesia-based financial wellness platform wagely has announced that it has added up US$8.3m in funding from their oversubscribed pre-series A funding, which will be used to help workers access their earned salaries on demand in Bangladesh, in addition to their local Indonesian market.

The funding round was led by East Ventures (Growth Fund) with participation from existing backers, including Integra Partners, the Asian Development Bank, Global Founders Capital, Trihill Capital, Blauwpark Partners, and 1982 Ventures.

Wagely’s funding follows their latest expansion to Bangladesh, to which CEO and co-founder Tobias Fischer said that they are honoured to offer their financial wellness platform to leading apparel manufacturers in Bangladesh, including SQ Group, Classic Composite, and Vision Garment.

“We are proud to be successfully operating in two of the largest markets in Asia, employing more than 150 million workers. Instant access to salary plays a pivotal role in reducing costs for employers and increasing the productivity and well-being of workers,” Fischer said.

The platform also disclosed that it secured the backing of Central Capital Ventura, the VC arm of Indonesia’s largest private bank, Bank Central Asia (BCA). The investment into wagely underpins the commitment to expand the digital financial ecosystem and drive financial wellness solutions across Indonesia.

Launched in 2020, wagely is building a holistic financial wellness platform with earned wage access (EWA) at its core that lets workers of partner employers access their earned wages in real-time.

In addition, the new capital will enable the company to accelerate its market-leading position in Indonesia and Bangladesh and spur the development of its holistic financial wellness platform, which the company plans to start rolling out later this year.

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Platforms Featured South Asia

SHAREit Group to bolster business in Bangladesh market

Dhaka, Bangladesh – SHAREit Group, the global internet technology company, mainly dedicated to mobile internet application development and digital services, is set to bolster its business in the Bangladesh market to fulfill the diverse demands of the people in the country.

According to a report by Dhaka Tribune, the number of internet users in Bangladesh has increased by 19%, totaling 7.7 million between 2020 and 2021. In January 2021, there were 47.61 million internet users and the Internet penetration in the country stood at 28.8%.

SHAREit, which owns the flagship product, SHAREit app, aims to double down on the highly engaged digital audience in the country. The company said that while there is a vastly increasing number of internet users in Bangladesh, the development of internet channels and resources is rather slow, and therefore opening up the need for a rapid and reliable internet application.

The SHAREit app offers opportunities for users to access a platform that enables online streaming videos, file transfer facilities, as well as applications aimed at gaming, entertainment, and personalized digital content. 

Starting mainly from offering a file transfer app, SHAREit group has since branched out to offering brand marketing, digital advertising, and entertainment solutions. SHAREit offers a wide inventory for advertisers and has also performance advertising solutions to drive installs for brands and gaming apps. In addition, SHAREit offers in-game advertising and payment solutions. 

“Over the years, our growth as a platform for marketing and entertainment as well as the meteoric rise of total users has been phenomenal. Now that we have many users in Bangladesh, we want to strengthen our business in this country to partner with local and global apps and serve our users in more enhanced ways,” said Karam Malhotra, partner and global vice president of SHAREit

The SHAREit group has mapped out plans to cater to the digital entertainment, brand marketing, and advertising solution needs of the country. This is expected to benefit the users in multi-faceted ways as it comes as an alternative channel for brand marketing as well. 

According to SHAREit, its presence is now at 200 countries and is available in 45 languages. Currently, SHAREit Group has its offices in various regions in the world, including Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, and the United Arab Emirates, among others.