If you are a project lead or work in project-based tasks in any big business company, chances are you are using internationally-known project management solutions such as Asana, Trello, Microsoft Teams, etc.
On the flipside, if you are someone who works at a SME or small company, you probably cannot afford these project management solution tools due to their high monthly subscription fees.
However, all hope is not lost – not anymore at least. A Bangladeshi project management tool has come to your rescue. This local startup asks for a fraction of what global market leaders in the category charge, but offers all the top solutions.
Onethread is a Bangladeshi startup that offers a smooth multi-team project management tool for effective team collaboration; and a team of three Bangladeshi tech enthusiasts has built it.
Project management tools refer to a collection of planning, tracking and administrative features that are intended to assist project teams in order to meet the objectives of the projects within the allotted time. It helps members of the team interact more effectively and speeds up the process.
Some of the features include dashboards, gantt charts (commonly used in project management and one of the most popular and useful ways of showing tasks or events displayed against time), scheduling system, timesheets, project baselines, communication plan, data analytics, real-time reporting, invoicing features, etc.
Traditionally, much of these can be done on Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets. However, as projects get complicated, a dedicated software is often needed in big companies.
The startup is first of its kind in Bangladesh. In an interview with The Business Standard, CEO and co-founder Erfanul Rashik shared his company's journey.
"Onethread is a simple project management solution. Companies in our market have been dependent on WhatsApp/Google sheets, etc to manage work.
Onethread helps you organise all your work, put everything in one platform and gives you features for communication and file sharing. We provide a simpler alternative to international solutions while making it the most affordable solution," said Erfanul Rashik.
The development of the startup took over three years as most team members worked on a part-time basis before it officially launched in July 2021. Rashik's vision for the startup is to help solve a basic problem among local businesses.
"My family business is in the RMG sector, so I saw first-hand how unstructured internal communication is. We looked into the market and saw there are only a few solutions but when we talked to different businesses, we realised that they can't implement solutions because of the complexity and price.
So we figured if we can provide a simple solution at an affordable price, we can disrupt the market," said Rashik.
So far, Onethread has been working with startups, SMEs and agencies. They are in talks with a few corporations as they are looking to provide slightly customised solutions to them.
"We have a full fledged task management solution; now adding project management features as well. We are open to new opportunities," added Rashik.
Over a short period of time, Onethread has gained considerable traction; not only from Bangladesh but also from global audiences. Rashik said that there are over 1,000 registered users on the platform. And, almost 30% of their user base is outside Bangladesh.
"We have 12+ paying companies in our portfolio already in Bangladesh and it's growing exponentially," said the CEO, adding "We are now talking to a few major enterprises who can easily help take our user base up to 2,000. We are also planning on a major launch event to attract overseas attention as well."
At this stage they have no local competition. The closest competition is their target group's dependency on WhatsApp/Google Sheets.
Onethread targets small enterprises as well as big businesses who use international products and "it is an intuitive and most affordable [project management tool available in Bangladesh]" reiterated Rashik.
Rashik completed his graduation from BUET. After that, he completed MBA from DU-IBA. Now he looks after sales, marketing and investment. Co-founder Robat Das Orvi, a CSE graduate from BRAC, leads the tech team. The other co-founder, Seeam Shahid Noor – graduated from Harvard and currently in IBM – looks after the product team on a part time basis.
Onethread's team comprises 13 members, all of whom work completely remotely. Being remote helps them to onboard talent from anywhere and "we have teammates beyond Dhaka as well," according to Rashik.
Differentiating Onethread from global competitors
But how does it differ from global competitors?
"We are a small team of Bangladeshis. We emphasise on the most basic tools. Many of the well-established competitors offer lots of options. As a result, their expenses go up.
On the other hand, as we mainly focused on the local market, our first target was to familiarise people with this software and then gradually roll out newer updates," replied Rashik.
Onethread has three pricing plans. For a team of up to five users, they can use the software for free. It costs only $1.5 monthly for a team of 5-60. And for teams of over 60 users (or larger), they provide custom solutions and charge accordingly. As the startup always emphasises on localization, they have also made the tool available in Bangla language.
The software can be used from multiple devices – through computer browsers or smartphones. Team members can collaborate on tasks and communicate with each other in real-time as it also has an integrated messaging system.