Pathao, Bangladesh’s leading digital service company, has been picked out as one of the top 40 global technology firms that are outperforming their Western counterparts.
The list was prepared by Rest of World, a New York-based tech-focused news publication founded by Sophie Schmidt, the daughter of former Google CEO Eric Schmidt.
The 40 trailblazing companies were chosen that were, in their own ways, “beat the West”. Some of them won by market combat: years of bruising competition led to lucrative acquisitions by their Western rivals or acquisitions of the Westerner’s local assets. A few just dominate their sector outright.
“Faster, smarter, more adaptable: these emerging market pioneers are outmanoeuvring Silicon Valley for global domination,” said the foreword to the list.
Pathao has been grouped with Brazil’s Nubank, the largest digital bank in the world; Grab, the Southeast Asian superapp; Kenya’s M-Pesa, the global pioneer in mobile money; the secured messaging platform Telegram; ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company; Tencent, the parent company of China’s “everything app” WeChat and video game PUBG; UAE’s ride-hailing giant Careem; and India’s mobile money provider PhonePe.
About Pathao, it said: “Few startups in South Asia have managed to expand regionally, let alone also lead those markets. Pathao is the biggest ride-hailing company in Bangladesh and Nepal — both markets with half a dozen local and international players, including Uber (in Bangladesh) and inDrive (in Nepal). And it’s the only profitable food-delivery business in Bangladesh.”
The company, which was founded in 2015, logged in revenue of $14 million and has more than 8 million active users, according to the Rest of World report.
Contacted, Fahim Ahmed, the managing director and CEO of Pathao, said: “Well, that was a rather pleasant surprise. The credit behind this recognition goes to our outstanding team, who are passionate about building products for the local youth, who share the same aspirations and face the same challenges in their everyday lives as we do.”
Pathao is the market leader in ride-sharing, food delivery and e-commerce logistics, serving more than 10 million consumers, daily earners and small businesses. All three verticals are profitable.
“We have been sharpened by the competition from our Western rivals, many of whom have come and gone, but it is our maniacal focus on our customers that inspires us to move forward every day, and to be here with you,” said Ahmed, who took charge of Pathao in November 2021.
The company, which was recently awarded the Employment Catalyst Award by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for outstanding contribution to job creation, is now working to roll out its digital payment wallet to be called Pathao Pay. It has also applied to the Bangladesh Bank for the digital bank licence.
“Pathao is far more than a brand, or a suite of products — it is a lifestyle. Just as it has radically transformed urban transportation and the gig economy in Bangladesh, Pathao Digital Bank will reshape banking in Bangladesh. With this, we believe we can catalyse an important growth stage of the Bangladesh economy,” Ahmed added.