Bangladeshi on-demand platform Shohoz has secured US$15 million in pre-Series B funding led by Singapore-based Golden Gate Ventures, with participation from Linear VC, 500 Startups, and angel investor Koh Boon Hwee, according to a press release today.
Shohoz will use the fresh funds to boost its customer acquisition, retention, and vertical expansion efforts. It is currently serving two distinct on-demand markets — ride-hailing (car, motorbike, bus, and ferry) and movie ticket booking. It plans to target services like food delivery and financial services.
KrASIA reported last month that China’s Ant Financial was in talks with Shohoz to invest in the on-demand startup. According to an investment pitch deck dated April 2018 we received, current investors in Shohoz include Linear VC, Innotech Corporation, Fenox Venture Capital, and others.
Established by ex-Harvard Business School alum Maliha Quadir, Shohoz launched its bus and ferry ticket booking platform in November 2014. It only moved into the on-demand motorbike taxi sector fairly recently in January 2018, competing directly with Pathao and Uber Moto in Bangladesh. It is now on track to execute a “super app” strategy with 200 staff members, said Quadir in a statement.
Quadir claims that the company is recording “one million completed rides per month”, according to TechCrunch. She added that bus ticket booking will continue to play an integral role in Shohoz’s business as Bangladesh’s capital city Dhaka faces dense population and no subway system.
Home to 160 million people, Bangladesh is becoming an increasingly attractive country for foreign investors with deals like Shohoz. Kazi M. Aminul Islam, Executive Chairman of Bangladesh Investment Development Authority, said in a statement that “this is the largest investment by a VC in Bangladesh to date”.
For Golden Gate Ventures, whose fund is typically focused on making investments within Southeast Asia, this is its first step into investing in a tech startup in Bangladesh. Justin Hall, Partner, Golden Gate Ventures told KrASIA that he does not expect this deal to be the VC firm’s last investment in Bangladesh, when asked if this will mark more investments in Bangladesh by the fund.
Given that Golden Gate Ventures has a strong footprint in Southeast Asia, will this deal help bring Shohoz into the region? Hall said, “I think for the time being, Shohoz will remain laser focused on scaling and dominating the Bangladesh ride-sharing and food delivery verticals.”
Other recent deals that have involved Bangladesh’s growing digital economy and foreign investors include Ant Financial’s investment in local fintech firm bKash, and Pathao raising capital from Indonesia’s Go-Jek.
Editor: Nadine Freischlad