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Sharing Economy

Motorbikes inspire Pathao, Bangladesh's 'two-wheeled' Uber

Bumpy ride to "super app" status smoothed by help from Indonesia's Go-Jek

Pathao claims to have captured 60% to 70% of Bangladesh's motorbike hailing market. (Photo courtesy of Pathao)

SINGAPORE -- Hussain Elius was still in his mid-20s when the rise of e-commerce in Bangladesh gave him an idea -- a delivery startup to serve the growing needs of online retailers. He and his fellow co-founder set up Pathao in 2015, but soon found another use for their fleet of motorbikes, ferrying not only goods but also people through the notoriously crowded streets up Dhaka.

Thus began Pathao's transformation into a "super app" in the mold of Southeast Asian peers Go-Jek and Grab. The transition has been bumpy at times -- including a battle with regulators to legalize ride-hailing and a privacy scandal involving how its app stored users' personal information.

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