Early Life & Background
Qazi Bouland, a Bangladeshi native, was raised in a household that advocated social impact, particularly in the realm of rural development. After completing his education in Bangladesh, he pursued higher studies in the UK. Following its completion and later obtaining a PhD in electrical engineering, he embarked on a professional journey in the field of technology, progressing from a software developer to a tech and strategy consultant at Accenture. During this time, discussions regarding Bangladesh's emergence as a potential economic powerhouse began to surface. Coincidentally, this period aligned with a time when Bouland's family required extensive support, prompting him to seize the opportunity and return to his homeland after a 17-year absence.
Drawing upon his technological expertise and early childhood experiences, Bouland made the decision to establish an agricultural technology venture. Driven by his ardent desire to provide his family with fresh produce, he undertook the cultivation of vegetables on a patch of his family's land in Bhaluka, to gain more hands-on knowledge about the sector. As his endeavours proved successful and resulted in an abundant harvest surpassing his family's needs, Bouland recognized a critical problem inhibiting the industry. To his surprise, the prevailing issue did not lie in the demand or supply side, but rather in the underlying supply chain.
Seizing An Opportunity - The Birth Of Agroshift
During his pursuit in resolving the supply chain crisis, Bouland fortuitously connected with Diptha Saha through LinkedIn, leading to insightful discussions and him eventually becoming a co-founder. Through a series of subsequent developments, the company welcomed its third co-founder, Rameez Haque, and together, they brought Bouland’s vision to life. The conception of Agroshift was founded on one aim - to reengineer Bangladesh's existing agricultural supply chain by leveraging technology. The venture endeavors to address multiple challenges faced by farmers and consumers alike, such as ensuring the delivery of fresh produce at fair prices while facilitating farmers' access to the market.
Initially, the company planned to focus on B2B operations. However, during discussions with retailers, it became apparent that the market infrastructure remained underdeveloped and relied heavily on traditional modes of distribution, such as wet markets. Furthermore, there was a lack of proper sales channels, with numerous traders being unable to access markets to sell their products. To make matters worse, the persisting price volatility made it exceedingly challenging to maintain sustainability, thus exacerbating the supply chain crisis.
Tapping Into Potential - The RMG Connection
Recognizing the experience one of the founders had in the ready-made garments (RMG) sector, the team decided to explore RMG workers as a consumer segment. With their homogeneity and close geographical proximity, the team realized this segment had massive untapped potential. By targeting this specific group, Agroshift was able to significantly reduce logistics costs while maximizing revenue. The company uses a proprietary technology-driven system for taking orders, adopting a 'phygital' model that improved upon traditional brick-and-mortar approaches. All orders are placed digitally, with a primary focus on food. Customers are required to pre-order their desired items, with Agroshift delivering them accordingly. Agroshift's innovative approach not only addresses the challenges in the supply chain but also ventures into a previously unexplored market. By leveraging technology and focusing on efficient order management, the company is able to overcome the limitations of traditional distribution channels. The combination of a scalable business model and an optimized sales approach has positioned Agroshift as a promising player in the agritech industry, paving the way for improved market access and sustainability in Bangladesh's agricultural sector.
At present, Agroshift plans to serve its current factory channel and capitalize on its growing momentum. However, the company has ambitions to extend its services beyond factory communities. By integrating technology into the supply chain in a pragmatic manner, Agroshift seeks to offer a direct and streamlined approach that benefits both consumers and producers.
The company also plans to incorporate embedded finance into its operations to provide additional value to its consumers, to enhance access to financial services.
Agroshift's vision goes beyond simply providing agricultural products. It strives to revolutionize the way consumers connect with their food sources, by eliminating unnecessary intermediaries and creating a more transparent and efficient system.