Being able to create a website isn’t much of a feat these days. Sure, you can design one yourself (given you have that prowess) or you could hire someone to do that for you, but when it comes to monetization, it could pose as quite a challenge. That’s where G&R comes in.
If you aren’t aware of what G&R is, G&R or Green and Red Technologies is the first and largest ad network in Bangladesh and they’ve been in the business for over 5 years. The company covers 198 countries, serves over 500 million ads per month and has more than 4,000 publishers on their platform. Now, to be able to bring about a completely new concept to the local market and be able to thrive isn’t something that the driven team behind G&R achieved overnight. Here’s the journey of G&R and how this internet based company is looking to become the name that resonates with Bangladesh when it comes to the internet.
G&R embarked on its journey in 2009 with a portal called ‘Goromcha,’ which encompassed classified news, events and everything in between. “When we first started out, we knew we wanted to build an internet based company but wasn’t certain on what it would be” recalls Muhammad Nazimuddaula, Co-Founder and CEO of G&R. “With Goromcha we realized that a big challenge is how to monetize a website, and in order to do that the idea of an ad network first came to our minds” That’s how the ad network came into being in August, 2011.
“When we first started out, we knew we wanted to build an internet based company but wasn’t certain on what it would be”
After the introduction of their ad network, the first publisher that G&R got was ajker weather and that was soon followed by Prothom Alo. One of the early advantages that G&R received was support in terms of investment from a London based company.
That doesn’t exemplify that G&R didn’t face challenges or hurdles along the way. “The first challenge we faced was to educate the publishers and advertisers about ad network,” said Rezaur Rahman, Chief Technology Officer of G&R, “The other challenge was to develop our product and we had to invest a lot on local Engineers who didn’t have sound knowledge on the concept.” It is indeed a big challenge that G&R has overcome and paved way for other players to enter into the same market.
In these last couple of years there are competitions that have emerged in the scene but what does G&R provide that makes it stand out? Lufti Chowdhury, Head of Sales of G&R, informs that they have some unique features that are of international standards which help them to be unique from competitors. “G&R is currently the number one ad network in Bangladesh and we are bigger than Google in the local inventory,” he said.
But it’s not only the features or the inventory that has makes G&R unique, but it’s something more personal than just business – it is the relationship G&R has developed over the years with its publishers and advertisers. “We have a unique relationship with our advertisers and publishers which remain unparalleled” mentions Nazia Jamal, Business Development Manager of G&R, and goes on to explain that they cater to advertisers of all levels whereby a small advertiser could even begin with advertising for only Tk. 500. If the advertisers face any problems or require help developing a strategy, G&R is always there to help and plays a vital role to their growth. Hence, Nazia believes that it would be difficult even for international competition to come to the local arena and develop relationships that G&R has so competently built.
“We have a unique relationship with our advertisers and publishers which remain unparalleled”
So how does G&R function?
G&R has two departments – Product and Business. The product department has Engineering and Design sub-departments under it. The job of the Engineering department is to work with the core ad network development while the Design department is also focused on that. At the same time, the Design department caters to publishers or advertisers who may require any creative service. The Business department has the Publisher and Sales team under it. The Publisher team maintains the publisher relationships while the sales team is in charge of bringing sales and maintaining liaison with the advertisers.
It was in February 2009 that G&R was acquired by the UK based leading ICT company GenEx Infosys Ltd. When asked about how the acquisition has altered the functionality and management of the company, Nazimuddaula said that much of the changes that were brought about were positive. The team mostly remained the same while there were certain aspects in terms of accountability and management which has become more streamlined. “There is also a common problem with cash flow that most businesses face in Bangladesh; there was a lack in balance between how we sell to the advertisers and how we pay the publishers, and we now have costs for house campaigns and promotions covered” He said.
G&R has indeed come a long way, starting with 2 founders to a team of 22 members now. But rest assured this journey is not about to end anytime soon. The founders have great expectations in the coming years and the first being that by June 2016, they are projected to serve over 2 billion impressions! The company will concentrate more on those who want to campaign with a small budget and eventually turn G&R into a brand that is known by all.