Kazi Monirul Kabir was born in Jashore. He spent parts of his life in Chattogram and Khulna. His father was a banker and his mother was a homemaker. He graduated with a BBA degree from Khulna Univeristy.
Interestingly, he stepped into the corporote world before completing his graduation.
He started his career in British American Tobacco (BAT) and worked in companies like Banglalink, Grameenphone and Google.
He now owns a digital transformation company, Spider Digital Innovation, based in Dubai.He has recently been declared a member of the Forbes Technology Council, where world-class technology executives and entrepreneurs come together with their insights, build a stronger network and work together to create a greater impact on the business world.
Only a few with an already impactful professional and personal career qualify for this council.
Kazi Monirul Kabir has also been greeted into the professional editorial team alongside other experts to contribute to original business articles on Forbes.
Journey from BAT to Banglalink
His career started in the late 1990's when he was still a BBA student in Khulna University.
BAT had arrived there for their global campus recruitment programme.
Being the fourth year student, he did not qualify for the interview as the job was open for MBA students only.
He along with some of his friends talked to the teachers to let them attend the interview just for experience.
"Surprisingly, I got selected. My probation period started during my last semester," he said.
He started working in Chattogram. He often had to travel to Khulna to attend final examinations from there. It cost him more than what he was earning but it could not deter his enthusiasm.
By the time he completed his bachelor's degree; he became a permanent employee in BAT and was posted in Sreemangal in Sylhet.
He worked in the organisation for seven long years.
Back then, corporate jobs were synonymous with BAT, most professionals coveted working there.
But he dared to switch from a comfortable job and join an apparently new team in Banglalink in 2005.
"I did not plan any thing. I attended the interview out of curiosity," he said. When he decided to join Banglalink, everyone was sceptic. But he took the job anyway.
"I love exploring new things.".
He started working in the Banglalink sales division, a team that started with him and at that time did not have separate cubicles for employees.
There was a new challenge every day and they used to sit together around a table, solving the issues.
To deal with the demand and supply discrepancies, they deployed 3000 women representatives in the sales department under his supervision, who would go door to door with Banglalink SIM cards and handsets.
Coming from an organised and established company like BAT, he said he thoroughly enjoyed working in Banglalink where he could contribute to the building of the company.
A person always on the go
Despite enjoying his work, he did not stay in Banglalink for long. He resigned after one and a half years.
He laughed and said, "I left Banglalink because I was promoted!"
His promotion demanded him to move to Iraq. At that time Iraq was a war stricken country and his mother did not let him go there at any cost.
His office assured him that he would not need to go to Iraq and could run his procedure from Jordan. He found the proposal extremely appealing but had to turn it down for family's sake.
Afterwards, he tried to work in several national companies but they did not work out well. After a year of wandering around, he joined Grameenphone where he worked for five years.
But his journey was not very pleasant.
"Back then, our economy was an agrarian one that was changing after independence. There were first generation businessmen in the national company scenario when I started to work. They started small and grew exponentially. The corporate culture was new and all were striving to rise above the traditional norms and ideas," he said.
There was less freedom of work which did not suit him.
"Now there are second and third generation businessmen in the field and the scenario has changed," he said.
He worked in Grameenphone in two different roles and became Telenor's youngest managerial board member. But then he switched again, this time he joined Google.
His journey to Google
While pursuing his executive MBA course, he had to travel different countries. In the process, he made a diverse friend circle.
In 2012, Google was recruiting representatives and one of his friends from his MBA class introduced him to a person from the company.
When I was offered a job in Google, I was puzzled as the salary they offered was almost half the amount I used to get in Grameenphone. But my father advised me to go for it
"When I was offered a job in Google, I was puzzled as the salary they offered was almost half the amount I used to get in Grameenphone. But my father advised me to go for it," he said.
He thinks the decision to step into the tech-giant has changed him forever.
"I developed corporate arrogance in me. Google helped me become humble and better," he said.
He said, though his job was to represent Google in Bangladesh, he was actually representing Bangladesh in Google.
He wore panjabi in conferences and distributed the national flag and cards with Bangladesh's history in the Singapore office on Victory Day.
Google never said "no" to any of his propositions.
"So, I could carry on with things like the Google street view project. Google street view is something that even many developed countries do not have," he said.
Then, there was Google bus that travelled through small cities and towns teaching students the basics of internet use.
As Google had no office in Bangladesh, he kept the vehicles in his garage in Dhaka. Overall, he cherishes his experiences in Google.
Founding his own company
Google had changed the pattern of his work which became technology based and made him confident.
He realised it was time to do something of his own. He left Google and started his company, Spider Digital in Dubai.
Even though his company is based in Dubai, he introduces it as a Bangladeshi company.
But why did he choose Dubai instead of Bangladesh for his business?
The existing business eco-system in Bangladesh and my business model were not very compatible with each other as the concept of financial technology or fin-tech industry was yet to be popularised
"The existing business eco-system in Bangladesh and my business model were not very compatible with each other as the concept of financial technology or fin-tech industry was yet to be popularised. Dubai was a hub for such a model for its geographical position. It is easier to communicate with both Europe and the Asia from here," he explained.
His company works on ensuring digital security.
Clarifying the purpose of his company, he explained how data available on open-source platforms can be vulnerable to manipulation, be it data available in national portals, of an individuals or an organisations. Even financial and biological information can be extracted by hackers from smart devices.
They can create a dangerous threat to one's privacy and business integrity.
His company works on supporting individuals and organisation to protect their privacy, cybersecurity and data integrity and provides end-to-end cybersecurity and data protection for organizations as well as individuals.
Bangladesh's position in the fin-tech industry
Kazi Monirul Kabir feels that we have huge potential in this sector but it needs patronisation.
"We cannot depend on freelancers only. We already spent a decade in freelancing. In India, organisations like Tata Consultancy Services and Infosys started with freelancing but became big names in the industry with proper patronisation," he said.
In addition, he said that we are not in a race against anyone and we are a much younger country than India. Whatever we have achieved so far is a lot.
But how the Indian government, their private organisations and the Indian citizens worked together to achieve goals in their fin-tech industry can be an example before us.
He referred to the garment industry and how proper patronisation has made it a big name.
No sector becomes an industry overnight. We should start financial incentive providing technology based entrepreneurs and start-ups with financial incentive
"No sector becomes an industry overnight. We should start financial incentive providing technology based entrepreneurs and start-ups with financial incentive."
In a small country like ours, we have qualified engineering institutions. But he feels that we failed to protect them from corruption.
"We cannot compromise with the quality of education and expect to be successful," he said.
"There is no shortcut to success. If we fail to find ways to keep our education system corruption free, we will fail our students and nothing good would be achieved," he said.
Kazi Monirul Kabir thinks, today's generation, the Gen Z, is full of potentials.
"They were born into technology. They have figured the system out. This is why they are more assertive and confident," he said.
Talking about his future plan he said, "For a longer period of time I was busy with my work and could not spend time with my children. My next target is to become a better father."
Other than that, he intends to work on health education and agriculture. "I already have started a project on agriculture and education. Let us see how it goes."