bKash: Financial Technology Innovation for Emerging Markets
(10 pages of text)
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?
This case is suited for graduate or undergraduate courses in strategy or general management, emerging markets and businesses in Asia, and strategic entrepreneurship and innovation. It explores the link between institutions, industries, and company-level innovation and gives students practice using various conventional strategy tools in the context of an emerging market. After completing the case, students should be able to
- design a business model for bottom-of-the pyramid customers using the business model canvas as a framework;
- recognize how the nature and type of innovations in an emerging market evolve as a company and its industry mature; and
- understand how a developmental regulator can allow a country to successfully leapfrog mature economies in terms of financial technology innovation.
Finance and Insurance
Bangladesh, Large, 2017
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