Meet our portfolio: Romoni

Startup Spotlights

Romoni have just launched their latest offering, an eCommerce platform where people can purchase over 1000 beauty products from 50 different brands. Here we talk with CEO and Co-Founder Armin about why she started Romoni and what’s next.

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Can you tell us a little bit about Romoni?

Romoni is a 360-degree business-enabling platform that generates business leads, facilitates growth financing, and sources raw materials for MSME women service entrepreneurs who provide at-home beauty, wellness, and lifestyle services.  We’re from a small cozy country called Bangladesh, which constantly ranks amongst the most happiest countries in the world.

Myself along with Co-Founders Tarique Ibne Haider and Abidur Rahman Mallik founded the startup, specifically on a Monday in August in 2018, the 13th to be exact.

How does the platform work?

Basically, customers can visit our website or download the app to access at-home beauty services provided by qualified beauticians.

For our customers, we offer at-home beauty, wellness, spa, and lifestyle services. Currently we have over 50 services available on the platform. It includes everything, from day-to-day haircuts to bridal makeup.

We’re also just launched our eCommerce platform where people can purchase over 1000 beauty products from 50 different brands.

How does Romoni support micro-entrepreneurs?

One of our major aims is to empower and support women in their entrepreneurial journey. We do that in three steps. We call them - Introduction, Continuation, and Expansion. For introduction, we help them get their trade license, and we help them set up a bank account for their business. For continuation, we onboard and cultivate relationships with consumers who order services from the entrepreneur. On top of it, we facilitate skill training so that they can keep expanding their service portfolio. We also facilitate financial literacy training so that they can keep a tighter hold on their business and experience a greater ownership over it. For expansion, we facilitate growth financing for them through our partner Banks and NBFIs.

What’s next for Romoni?

An e-commerce platform was always a part of our bigger vision. When we were starting the company for at-home beauty services, we knew there’s a demand for authentic beauty products among our target customers. And since starting the services, we actually saw that demand from our B2C customers visibly. So, it was an organic decision to move into that segment.

Another reason for it was that we want to standardise the service experiences for our customers. We don’t want our service providers to use products that are below standard, inauthentic, and potentially harmful for our customers. If we can source the products for our service providers, we can ensure the quality of the experience. All of these naturally gravitated us towards e-commerce which will be launching this month.

What prompted you to start Romoni?

I started Romoni because I had faced this problem myself, as a customer. While working in a corporate bank, I often had to rush to salons after work to get my hair done for attending weddings of my friends and relatives. My busy schedule coupled with my passion for technology made me realise the problem could easily be solved in an uber-like model. I started speaking to beauticians working in various salons around Dhaka, and my conversations with them made me realise these skilled women earn much less than what they deserve and often find it very difficult to start a business and be financially solvent because they don’t have access to critical resources required to start, run or grow a business. The potential to solve a big problem coupled with the potential impact on women entrepreneurs convinced me to start this venture.

What is the current state of the startup ecosystem in Bangladesh?

Make no mistake, Bangladesh still has a long way to go to have a proper ecosystem which can help startups to sustain and thrive. But we’re running in the right direction. There are several local accelerator programs being run by corporates. Even the government has an accelerator program which has been helping local startups with seed funding, co-working space, mentoring and proper guidance. Several angel groups have been formed which are actively participating in encouraging entrepreneurship. The people are now more welcoming of the startups and are willing to try out their products/services. More and more people are actively seeking out startups that can provide solutions for their problems.  

Why do you think Bangladesh is primed for more investment and a good investment opportunity for angels and early-stage investors?

Bangladesh is one of the most populated countries in the world. More people means more problems, and more customers for each solution. Additionally, our GDP and the size of the economy is growing at a healthy rate every year. Which means people have more disposable income than ever before. Another thing is most of the modern startups are either solely or at least partially dependent on tech. Bangladesh genuinely has a tech-savvy population. The internet penetration is really good. We have a huge pool of talents who studied in technological subjects in their universities. So it’s easier to find talents for startups. I believe this ideal market condition, and the availability of talents make Bangladesh a prime location for angel investments.    

How did Accelerating Asia help your startup growth?

Accelerating Asia helped us to re-evaluate our business model and our 2-3-5 year goals. The 1-1s and expert sessions helped us learn a lot about common frameworks and metrics used in similar startups in similar markets. Most importantly, the EIRs helped us redesign our pitch decks and prepare us for important investor meetings.

Romoni were part of Accelerating Asia Cohort 2 and received investment from our early-stage VC fund.  During our last recruitment round for cohort 3, Accelerating Asia received 450 applications from over 25 countries and we have touch points with 2000+ startups per year.

If you’re interested in connecting with Romoni, 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

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