In 2013, an online food ordering platform Foodpanda brought about a revolution. No longer, people had to go out in the middle of work to have a meal; they had it sent to their doorstep. This allowed people to choose from several dishes of countless restaurants without even having to get up from their seats.
One of the maestros behind this turn is an incredible businesswoman -- Ambareen Reza, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Foodpanda. In Foodpanda's remarkable tale lies how Ambareen Reza explored her passion on digital platform and changed the game for all.
Foodpanda basically partners with restaurants to provide consumers a digital platform through which the consumers can order food from all of their favourite restaurants and Foodpanda gets it delivered.
Foodpanda was founded by Rocket Internet. In December 2016, Foodpanda was sold to Delivery Hero Group, a Germany based company. It is a listed company which has businesses around 40 countries with 80 brands.
Ambareen came to Bangladesh in 2013 and started working with Rocket Internet. But she acknowledged a burning desire in herself -- to explore other ventures. When she along with her colleagues used to work late in Rocket Internet, there were really no services that could get them food delivered in the office within 30-40 minutes. "So, we felt the need of an option that would allow us to have food delivered to our office. For which the best way is to have a delivery service," said Ambareen.
At that time, Foodpanda was in Singapore, India and other big markets like that. So, they wrote to the Founders and said that they wanted to start Foodpanda in Bangladesh.
Ambareen said, "It was a refreshing change to have an app through which people could order food. People needed that. Thus, it was very well appreciated." They received great encouragement wherever they went. Even large scale businesses encouraged and appreciated them for what they were trying to do.
"When one starts a business, there would be certain obstacles anyway, be that online or offline," said the Managing Director. Ambareen did not have a lot of network in the market back when they started. So, she had to start from the scratch doing all the groundwork first.
Eventually, owing to hard work and focus, Foodpanda shattered all the obstacles and came out with head held high. The same people who did not want to work with them at first, certainly did six months later at a better agreement. "What I think they saw is the dedication."
"Another barrier, probably the biggest of all, for Foodpanda was that the market already had this product." Yet, Foodpanda was able to create a value for themselves. Then, they made all the restaurants realise what they were offering. Finally, they were successful getting all of them.
If one wants to reach to a wider audience, one should use digital platforms, social media, search engines, YouTube and any tool one sees lying around. "But marketing and the product itself - these are the key factors. Partners, restaurants, customers - all has to come in consideration."
Being analytical is mandatory, according to Ambareen Reza. The first step is to have a vision of what one wants to do with the company. She believes one has to be fully prepared to dedicate oneself wholeheartedly and give the absolute best.
"Because building a business is about determination. There will be many challenges. One just has to be brave enough to face each of them and try to solve any problem that comes in the way. Every problem has a solution. So, being a problem solver is a must." On the other hand, knowing how to manage stress can have great effects as well.
Ambareen Reza loves how entrepreneurial Bangladeshis are performing at present. To have that spirit is what matters the most. According to her, Bangladeshi people try to do everything by themselves without relying on anything else but effort. And young women who aim to do online business, they must know what their product is at first. What they are offering, how it is different, what value it will add, if it will meet people's needs where you can fit you product - these are what one should have a clear understanding of.
Then, ensuring to reach one's target audience is the second part. These help to define one's business. As she says, "You can make changes to your product, but you cannot change people's needs. So what you do is you cater to people's needs. That's the key."