Portfolio Spotlight: Shuttle

Startup Spotlights
This is some text inside of a div block.
This is some text inside of a div block.
This is some text inside of a div block.
This is some text inside of a div block.

At Accelerating Asia, our approach to gender lens investing goes beyond investing in female founders. We also invest in teams delivering solutions for women like Shuttle.

Shuttle started off providing safe transport for women in Bangladesh and has expanded to also offer Shuttle for Business and other services. Here we talk with Founder Reyasat about their current traction, products and the Accelerating Asia experience.

Shuttle received investment from our early-stage VC fund and graduated from Cohort 3 of our flagship program. If you’re interested in connecting with Shuttle, investing alongside us, meeting our portfolio companies, or just generally interested in talking to us about startup investing, please reach out and tell us a little bit about yourself.

Can you tell me about Shuttle and what you do?

Shuttle is a mass-transit startup based in Bangladesh that provides safe transportation at an affordable price by moving more people with fewer vehicles, it caters to both B2B and B2C customers. We usually provide the service in minivans where 10-11 people can safely commute together by paying less than one-fourth of ride-sharing cars. Using data, we project demand and design the most efficient routes possible. We started our journey back in July 2018, since then, we have generated more than US$600k in revenue.

How does Shuttle’s platform work?

Shuttle operates on fixed routes with specific pick-up and drop-off points. Just like how people book flights, our customers choose their pick-up and drop-off locations in line with their trip schedule in the app to book a ride. We also introduced Shuttle Credits which works like mobile-phone recharging so our users can buy Shuttle Credits online through the app and then use that to pay for their rides.

What makes Shuttle different?

When we started Shuttle, we figured out that there are segments of people -  women, men, school students, people who commute to work and who all have different needs.

We realised that 21st century mass transit solutions need to cater to the unique needs of each of these segments separately. Especially, keeping that in mind, back in 2018 we started with a women-only transportation service that aims to solve the transportation problem for women in Bangladesh. Last year, we also launched Shuttle for Business which is a unique transportation service only for businesses that want to ensure safe transportation for their employees.

What’s on the product roadmap?

Currently, we have two products - Shuttle for Women and Shuttle for Business. Our main focus right now is to establish Shuttle for Business in the market and onboard B2B clients. We are constantly taking feedback from our existing clients and improving the product accordingly. Shuttle Rental, Unisex Shuttle and a solution for lower-wage earners are some of the other products that we plan on exploring in the future.  

So can you tell me a little bit about the traction you've had so far?

Since we started in July 2018 we have generated more than US$620k in revenue and in the past 12 months, we have a monthly compounded revenue growth rate of 15%.

We have more than 20,000 registered users in the B2C segment and we are also working with 12 B2B clients at the moment including a few multinational banks. So far in the last 2.5 years of our journey, we have completed more than 1 million successful rides.

As a transport company, how have you approached and how did the pandemic impact Shuttle?

From the beginning of the pandemic, we have been providing sanitised transportation solutions to organizations, especially the ones that were open (banks and the government organisations) during the lockdown. We have been enabling businesses to support their moving employees during the pandemic and this has significantly increased our monthly revenue since March last year.  

Can you tell us a little bit about your background and founder story?

We are three co-founders – Jawwad, Sufian and I (Reyasat). All three of us grew up in Dhaka and have experienced first-hand the problems with public transportation in Bangladesh. I personally never felt comfortable using public transportation and have always preferred other transportation options even though those were not as cheap. Like many other developing countries, our public transportation system lacks automation or a proper system. The total number of buses are also not sufficient to cater to the needs of an ever-growing population. The problem is more severe for women, as sexual harassment in public transportation is a regular occurrence in Bangladesh.

During our university days, one of my partners at Shuttle - Jawwad, shared his concerns about the problems people face in public buses in our country. He had to commute to work using public transportation and it was a nightmare for him. In a way, that was the start of our journey.

Later, after talking to the potential customers, we decided to focus on catering to women only in the initial phase. A study done by the development organization BRAC shows that 94% women commuting in public transport in Bangladesh have experienced sexual harassment.

Hence, we started our journey with a women-only service back in 2018.  

Since neither Jawwad nor I could code, we needed someone who could build the technology. Hence, we partnered with Sufian, who used to be my elder brother’s partner in another company before we started Shuttle.

Why did you decide you wanted to join an accelerator?

The main reason we wanted to join Accelerating Asia is that we wanted guidance from people who have gone through the experience of scaling a business before. We have implemented and validated our idea and the business model in Dhaka on a small scale. And right now, our main focus is to scale the business. This is why we felt the need to take inputs from experienced people and grow more efficiently. Basically, we wanted to learn from Craig, Amra, Nesh and the entire team.

The second reason is in Bangladesh fundraising and getting investment is still an issue because it's very difficult to find investors who are willing to invest more than $100k. Shuttle is at a stage where we need more investment and we felt that Accelerating Asia would be a great platform for us to get connected to global investors.

We also wanted Accelerating Asia’s help in building a proper product roadmap.

What were your top 3 key takeaways from Accelerating Asia?

  1. Accelerating Asia helped us design a proper fundraising strategy - both for the short-term and the long-term.
  2. With the help of the Accelerating Asia team and also by observing other startups in the cohort, we now have a clear understanding about how we want to grow our business and the team. Right after the end of the program, we onboarded new team members in a few key areas and they have had an immediate impact in the business.
  3. Accelerating Asia is an amazing platform to get connected to angels in the region. We have had several meetings with prospective investors with the help of Accelerating Asia and have been able to get commitment for the entire amount that we wanted to raise in the current round.

Which mentor and masterclass stood out the most and why?

For me, the best masterclass was the one that we had with Peter Browne in the second week of the program. It was super helpful to organise our pitch deck and also the way we share the story of Shuttle with the stakeholders.

We also loved our sessions with Dhawal Shah, who gave us a lot of valuable suggestions on product development and marketing.

Why would you recommend Accelerating Asia to a fellow Founder?

The main reason I would recommend Accelerating Asia to fellow founders is because Accelerating Asia is a team of amazing people who would always give you the right advice and suggestions and would support you in any way possible to help you succeed in your journey. For any type of problems/issues, you can always seek their advice and be sure that they have your back.

Do you have any asks for the Accelerating Asia community?

We are always open to discuss our story with potential strategic partners or investors. As such we would request anyone in the community to send them our way if there is an opportunity. Request an introduction to Shuttle

Shuttle received investment from our early-stage VC fund and graduated from Cohort 3 of our flagship program. If you’re interested in connecting with Shuttle, investing alongside us, meeting our portfolio companies, or just generally interested in talking to us about startup investing, please reach out and tell us a little bit about yourself.

Startup Spotlights

Invest in the future

Accelerating Asia invests in startups with scalable technology solutions and revenue generating business models that combine purpose with profit.


In making an investment decision, investors must rely on their own examination of startups and the terms of the investment including the merits and risks involved. Prospective investors should not construe this content as legal, tax, investment, financial or accounting advice.