Iran Startup Ecosystem: Mohsen Malayeri Interview
The things have been changing in Iran for entrepreneurs. The new startups are running, startup events are being organized and the community are growing. With 3G internet connection - which is coming recently - startup ventures will be accelerated and they'll come one step closer to be a global success story.
Meet with Mohsen Malayeri, Executive Manager at Iran Entrepreneurship Association. He co-founded a company 4 years ago about online advertising and he is now an Investor & Entrepreneur. He is also the organizer of Startup Weekend events in Iran. With IranEA they have supported 14 weekend meetings in one year and 1500 people participated to these events. According to Malayeri this movement raised a lot of awareness, and there are now a lot of startup communities in different cities of Iran.
People are becoming more and more interested about building a startup company. Now, in Iran weekly and montly meet ups are happening. At the same time there are lots of entrepreneurs who is doing a great jobs especially in e-commerce, group buying, video sharing, marketplace and mobile application markets. These are becoming success stories, they are becoming yemeksepeti.com or hepsiburada.com of Iran. They are all similar product such as digikala.com, cafebazar.com, aparat.com, takhfifan.com. There are also many of them but those who have been quite successful, they have been already able to get some funding to extent their operations.
Malayeri mentioned that they are now focusing on building next generation of startups in Iran and getting help from the successful entrepreneurs for trainings and mentorship. Because of that he has co-founded an startup accelerator company called Avatech since March 2014. It is a completely private and for profit company. Also the other accelerator companies are started in Iran such as Dmond Group and Maps and they have been collaborating to grow startup ecosystem in the country.
Avatech has also announced new supporting program in their web sites. They are now providing each team 8000$, free office space, training and mentorship programs and getting %15 share of the company. They are getting application until the 15th of September and planning to choose 20 teams by the end of September. They'll be pitching in front of the jury and selecting comity will choose only ten of them.
''There are a lot of things that has not been done yet'' says Malayeri. There are still local opportunities, and many trendy markets are still untapped in Iran. For example mobile apps are becoming hot. Also Ecommerce, classified, online payment, advertising, Food delivery and taxi transporation are now among trendy startups.
Iran is a country with full of talents and engineers. But what it takes to be a successful startup in Iran is firstly to have a great team. A team of star players with enough committment can create a success story. The second important attribute of Iranian top startups is that the founders are completely laser focused on their startup and they use their most valuable resource (time) as best as possible.
Malayeri also talked about the challenges that the startups faced in Iran. He says ''One of barriers that the startups faced is the possibility of Iranian startups targetting the global market. It's not easy for them. Also credit card payment systems are not something easy to do in Iran because they all use local systems for payments.'' Malayeri also mentioned that there area many administrative processes that startups have to go through like company registration. Doing business in a global rank is another problem, If you want to run a startup, you have to get a lot of permissions.