While attending and speaking at Innovation Xtreme in Dhaka, Bangladesh, we’ve met Shajgoj co-founder Milky Mahmud.

In a nutshell, Shajgoj is an online community platform for women, with the particularity to be in Bengali language exclusively.

shajgoj dhaka bangladesh women online platform community bengali startup milky mahmud innovation is everywhere martin pasquier south asia 1

 

Addressing women in a 250 million population Bengali speaking market

In the early 2013, while researching about startups, Milky Mahmud noticed in beauty and lifestyle space Bengali language had a severe shortfall of content.

With about 220 million native and about 250 million total speakers, Bengali is one of the most spoken languages, ranked seventh in the world. And there was no website which only focus on things which most of the female like and talk about.

Bangladesh as such is also one of the most dynamic countries of South Asia, with 6% GDP growth on average for 2014-2016.

shajgoj dhaka bangladesh women online platform community bengali startup milky mahmud innovation is everywhere martin pasquier south asia 3

Since the inception in may 2013, shajgoj.com continuously generate contents about Makeup, Skincare, Recipe, Fashion and on other lifestyle aspects.

Since then growth has been amazing, with monthly 2 million page views, 80% returning visitors. On their Facebook page, 625K fans have joined organically. Most of them are female and they all are active.

As a result our Facebook page has become one of the most active and engaged page in Bengali language.

 

Shajgoj co-founder Milky Mahmud interview

Innovation is Everywhere: You told us you were running Shajgoj, a website popular among the female population in Bangladesh, as you address the topics of Food, Fashion, in Bengali. Why this choice of Bengali-only?

Milky Mahmud: As I have seen the people love to read in their mother language even if they are comfortable with other language. Our growth also suggest that people are loving our contents.

shajgoj dhaka bangladesh women online platform community bengali startup milky mahmud innovation is everywhere martin pasquier south asia 4

Innovation is Everywhere: What is your business model so far? Advertising? What revenue streams are you studying for the months to come?

Milky Mahmud: We are generating a decent advertising revenue already. We have Unilever, the largest media spender in Bangladesh as our customer. We are also managing some brand Facebook page on behalf of Reckitt Benckiser.

In addition, we have launched a Makeup and Beauty Supply store in Jamuna Future Park which is the largest shopping mall in south Asia and one of the largest in the world. Sapphire, the store, solving the problem of getting authentic brand beauty supplies in Bangladesh.

 

shajgoj dhaka bangladesh women online platform community bengali startup milky mahmud innovation is everywhere martin pasquier south asia 2

Innovation is Everywhere: How can your platform evolve in the next few months and years? Tackling other strong verticals (healthcare, cars, etc) in Bengali? Or expanding the model of a woman-centric website in other countries where English may not be the top language (India? Pakistan? Myanmar?)?

Milky Mahmud: We do not want to shift our focus from beauty and life styles to other sectors. There is still huge potential to grow in this particular sector. But with our knowledge, experience  and expertise we can think of expanding India, Pakistan, Sri-Lanka and beyond.

Innovation is Everywhere: What kind of support did you get so far? Funding from Angels or VCs? Government help?

Milky Mahmud: So far we are investing on our own but we would definitely look forward to Angels, VCs as investment partners.