bKash: Financial Technology Innovation for Emerging Markets
The founder of bKash Limited (bKash), a successful mobile financial services (MFS) model pioneered in Bangladesh, built the company from scratch, targeting services at the lower socioeconomic segment of society and eventually acquiring 26 million customers. bKash has had a positive impact on the lives of countless poor people and has gained worldwide recognition for its innovative business model. The model required close collaboration with telecommunications operators, banks, non-governmental organizations, and regulators. In particular, the Bangladesh central bank supported the venture, allowing experimentation in MFS to address poverty through financial inclusion. By the end of 2016, the founder was concerned about future regulations and looking to strengthen the foundation of his disruptive business to make it more robust. How could the company continue to grow while maintaining its financial inclusion objective? The authors Ishtiaq P Mahmood, Marleen Dieleman, and Narmin Tartila are affiliated with National University of Singapore.