Nagad, a leading mobile financial service (MFS) provider in Bangladesh, has turned into a unicorn startup only in four years of its launch – the fastest in the country to reach this impressive feat. In recognition of the achievement, Tanvir A Mishuk, founder and managing director of Nagad Limited, received the “Fastest to Unicorn Award” from Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at “Bangladesh Startup Summit 2023” at a city hotel in the capital on Saturday (Jul 29). At the award giving ceremony eight organisations received awards in eight categories, local media reported.
Startup Bangladesh Limited, the flagship venture capital company of the Information and Communication Technology Division of the Government of Bangladesh, organised the two-day event that brought together startups, enterprises, venture capitalists, angel investors, regulators, think-tanks, and experts from various countries.
Inaugurated by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on 26 March 2019 with a motto of changing lives, Nagad has reshaped the country’s MFS industry with one after another innovations and inspired confidence among a large number of people to embrace diversified products and services offered by it, said a press release.
In this way, the state-owned mobile money carrier has established itself as the fastest unicorn startup in Bangladesh with a valuation of $1 billion, equivalent to Tk 10,000 crore, only in four years of its journey.
The term unicorn was first published a decade ago. A privately held startup company with a valuation of $1 billion is called unicorn. Currently, there are around 1,200 unicorn startups in the world.
This is for the first time in Bangladesh, such a grand event has been organised to honour startups. And Nagad, an arm of Bangladesh Postal Department, was the first startup to have got this recognition.
State Minister for Information and Communication Technology Zunaid Ahmed Palak presented the keynote at the startup summit. He lauded Nagad’s contribution to building a smart economy in Bangladesh.
Nagad has reached a milestone of 8 crore customers only in four years of its inception, with its daily transactions hitting Tk 1,300 crore on average.
The introduction of a ground-breaking innovation that allows opening of an MFS account just by dialling *167# has earned Nagad a huge popularity. Besides, the mobile money carrier has become people’s first choice as it offers convenient and affordable services.
All these have helped Nagad become the country’s fastest unicorn startup.
After receiving the acknowledgement memento, Managing Director of Nagad Limited Tanvir A Mishuk said, “This day will remain memorable for the Nagad family and me. What I’m now feeling cannot be expressed in words. Today we have got the recognition of the dream, with which we embarked on our journey, from the Honourable Prime Minister. We cannot ask for anything else.”
“The home-grown company has come this far because Honourable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s ICT Adviser Sajeeb Wazed always inspired us to dream big. I extend my heartfelt gratitude to him,” he noted.
“I believe Nagad will become the first decacorn company in Bangladesh,” Tanvir added.
A private company with a value exceeding $10 billion gets the status of decacorn. Presently, there are only a few such companies in the world.
Currently, Nagad disburses education stipends, social safety allowances, such as allowances for elderly people, widows and the disabled. It has so far given Tk 25,000 crore among beneficiaries. The MFS company, which has brought about a revolution in the Fintech industry, is working relentlessly on establishing an effective smart payment system in Bangladesh.
Md Shamsul Arefin, chairman, Board of Directors, Startup Bangladesh Limited and secretary, ICT Division, and Sami Ahmed, managing director and CEO of Startup Bangladesh Limited, also spoke at the startup summit.