The path was not always smooth. Initially, Pathao started as a delivery service. It delivered parcels and goods on bicycles to people in and outside Dhaka. In the middle of 2015, Pathao decided to shift to motorcycles, as they were fast and on the demand transports. In the beginning, there were approximately 100 drivers employed by the startup.
Pathao was launched from the business idea Elius Hussain first started with his friend Fahim Saleh and Adnan Shifat. Adnan Shifat is now the CTO of Pathao. Like all successful startup stories, they had to face a lot of obstacles. There were financial issues and the families weren't much of a supporter. As time passed, the business started to grow fast and caught people's attention. There were people who believed in them and offered them the support they needed. Now, there are almost 500 freelancers who are serving the customers.
The customers who use Pathao Rides are mainly students and service holders. All they have to do is request a ride on the app, mention their destination and the location they are at and get dropped for a fixed price. Pathao's rides are priced so that they cost less than an auto-rickshaw's. Pathao Rides is available from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., 7 days a week. It is a metered system, so you do not need to bargain at all. The app has a great interface, where you can pinpoint your pick up location on a map, which makes it way more convenient than giving out directions over the phone. But the startup's core business still relies on deliveries. When launched in 2015, Pathao wanted to introduce themselves as instant courier service, delivering parcels through time and speed. The regular merchants were not that interested as they wanted reliability. But Pathao has improved since then. They have launched 'Free Experience Campaign: My First Pathao Ride' on December 1st, 2017. During this campaign, customers were offered to experience their first Pathao ride for free in Dhaka City.
“We hope to expand in the nearby future,” says Elius Hussain. Pathao does have some local competitors, like Amarbike. Regarding this, Elius Hussain says, “I won't say that we are better than the local competitors. Of course, there are fields where we need to improve more.”
Pathao is one of the most successful startups in recent years. There are a lot of unemployed young people around the country who have the ability to start businesses like this, but cannot find the inspiration. For them, Elius Hussain says, “The young people need to believe in themselves. There will be a lot of people who would say that they can't do it or it is crazy to take such risks. However, if they believe in themselves, anything is possible.”
Although Pathao is still in its improvement stage, we can hope that it will expand more in the future and offer mobility and safety to the people in the commuting field.