16 July 2020 I A young and maverick tech guru famous for starting a rideshare service popular in Nepal and Bangladesh has lost his life amid horrific circumstances.
According to reports, Pathao creator Fahim Saleh was found decapitated and dismembered in his upmarket New York City apartment – with an electric saw lying next to his remains.
Daily News said, citing NYPD, the millionaire’s “headless torso” was found in the Manhattan condo Tuesday afternoon. “An NYPD official said investigators believe the victim is tech entrepreneur Fahim Saleh, 33, who bought the condo for $2.25 million last year,” it reported.
The 33-year-old victim’s sister is understood to have alerted NYPD after she discovered the grisly scene at her brother’s apartment.
Pathao is the 1st Bangladeshi ridesharing company to expand its border beyond the country.
— Pathao (@PathaoBD) April 19, 2019
The final moments of the entrepreneur’s young life were caught on security cameras that showed him fall as soon as he got out of the elevator on to his floor, “followed quickly by a second man, dressed in a suit, wearing gloves, a hat and a mask over his face”. He was possibly shot or stunned prompting the police to think it could have been the act of a “professional”.
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We are shocked and saddened to hear the reports of the death of Fahim Saleh, one of the founding members of the Pathao team. Fahim believed in the potential for technology to transform lives in Bangladesh and beyond. He saw the promise in us, when all we had was a common purpose and a shared vision. He was, and will forever remain, an incredible inspiration for Pathao and our entire ecosystem.
The techie loved prank and he made a living out of it creating a prank calling website before he moved on to establish a rideshare (motorcycle) company – first in Bangladesh and then in Nepal.
A 2019 Twitter picture shows Mr Saleh proudly announcing his new home.
Read about Mr Saleh’s journey – in his own words:
I know from experience that there’s no better motivator.
I graduated from Bentley University in 2009, into the tough job market created by the economic recession. Pursuing big city life, I applied to several companies in New York City (choice A) and Boston (choice B), primarily. But the only offer I got was from a company in a small town outside Boston. While the location was not what I was looking for, I knew I’d probably have to take it if a better prospect didn’t present itself soon.
So I decided to try and create a better one on my own.
I figured I’d try developing a new website as a side project, just something that might generate enough income to keep me afloat while I waded through shallow employment opportunities. I’d done this before, as a high-schooler — I started a social network for teens, teenhangout.com, and a website that offered free AIM (AOL Instant Messenger) buddy icons, or avatars.
At first, the sites only netted a few bucks a month in revenue — which was still pretty cool to my 16-year-old mind — but after I teamed up with another young developer, Kyle Kapper, I began bringing in real income.
Within two years, our network of websites were generating over $200,000 annually. But visitorship dwindled as new social media platforms took over after 2005, and by the time I graduated college, the passive income from the network of websites we created in high school had disintegrated.
Hence, my post-grad search for a real job.
But first, I wanted to try one last website project, and I figured I might as well have fun while I was at it.
One thing I’ve always loved: pranks.
When I was 10 or 11, my friends loved having me prank call their buddies because unlike most of them, I could actually stay in character.
And even as I grew up, my passion for a well-executed prank remained. Figuring I might want it for a potential future project, I nabbed the domain PrankDial.com around the same time that I was creating teenhangout.com and other sites.
Just in case.
It sat around as an undeveloped project for a few years. But idling around my parents’ house that unemployed post-grad summer, I decided the time had come to dust it off. I recorded a few prank call MP3s in varying voices, uploaded them, and created a system that let a user pick the prank call scenario they wanted, then call a friend with it by entering their friend’s phone number. From there, I simply spread the word across a few websites, and watched it gain traction.
100 visitors per day. 300. 1,000. Tens of thousands.
Realizing I had something, I began focusing all my time and effort on the website. Eventually, I monetized it through advertisements and implementing a token system, which required people to buy prank calls. I wasn’t sure people would purchase these virtual tokens at all, but decided to give it a shot.
By the end of the first week, the site was generating about $20 per day. I started doing social media promotions, and two weeks later, that number had climbed to $100 per day. And it kept growing. $300 a day. $600. $1,000.
Over its lifetime, PrankDial.com has generated more than $10 million.
I learned a lot about passion projects from working on PrankDial.com, but a few key things have really stuck with me.
When you’re serious about a project, you need to find others who will take it seriously also.
As I was growing PrankDial, I got to the point where I needed to bring on a developer.
I met with two potential developers, separately. I was pretty young at the time, of course, and I look even younger than I am, so to make sure they knew I was serious, I gave each of them a $100 bill in an envelope when we met. That way, they’d know there was real money in the project.
One accepted it. One didn’t.
The one who pocketed it, a guy around my age, immediately began working with me from my bedroom/office in Astoria, Queens. I built the backend while he developed the iOS app. The app launched within a few months to major success. People began making in-app purchases, and PrankDial was a top 10 iOS app at one point.
As our revenue climbed from $200,000 in 2010 to nearly $2 million in 2012, I was able to grow our team further and rent a real office. PrankDial.com is still up and running, generating between $1 and $2 million annually.
That’s created the opportunity for me to pursue other ventures, like founding the venture firm Adventure Capital, which invests in startups in the developing world.
None of that would have happened if I hadn’t found someone who was as invested in the project as I was.
Focus your energy on one or two ideas.
I had lots of ideas bouncing around in my mind when I was considering what to do with PrankDial.com. But ultimately, I chose to put all my energy into that one business. I didn’t want to be distracted by five different ideas.
Don’t try to juggle a dozen different side projects at once.
If you’re deciding between a few different possibilities, it’s okay to test the waters of each for a week or two, perhaps a month. By then, something either clicks, or it doesn’t. And once something starts to click, and people express interest in what you have to offer, chase the opportunity with everything you have.
Of course, passions can be combined, in many cases. My interests in website development and pranking certainly coincided nicely.
At the end of the day, you need to make sure it’s something you’re truly passionate about.
If you go into a project entirely focused on making money, you’re going to be disappointed.
I realize how unlikely a success story PrankDial.com is. I certainly wasn’t expecting it to become what it has. When I decided to work on the website, I was thinking, “This is a product I’d want to use.” I poured all my energy into it because it was fun. But if you don’t truly love working on a project, you’ll likely quit before it reaches its full potential.
If I ended up taking the safe route — the job with a $50,000 salary at a small company outside of Boston — then that multi-million dollar product, and the ventures I’ve founded since, would have never existed.