Today we are going to have another startup story. This time we decided to talk with the 2nate team. 2nate, an online donation platform for Iran based on the idea of crowdfunding, is one of the startups of cycle #1 at Avatech. NGOs, charities, or anyone with the right cause and urgency can make a campaign and raise money with the help of the crowd. As an example, 2nate.com launched the “Asheghlou” campaign on January 4th in order to support a movement to buy computers for the laboratory of the school in Asheghlou village in northern Iran which has been affected by a destructive earthquake about 2 years ago. You can find this campaign here: http://asheghlou.2nate.com
Q: What is the story of 2nate?
Mohi: Let’s start from the beginning. Everything started several years ago with my passion for open source, IT and web developing. In the open source world I got familiar with donation and crowdfunding concepts and step by step I realised the power of the crowd and how donations can change lives and I continued thinking about it until about 2 years ago when I took part in Startup Weekend Shiraz and worked on my donation idea and for the first time I thought about it much more serious than before. I talked about and shared my ideas with several people and mentors and it changed several times, from a platform for artists to raise money to a donation platform.
Q: How did you (Javad & Yashar) join the team?
Javad: I was curious about crowdfunding platforms like kickstarter and always wanted to create something like that for Iran. I was doing some market research for that and wanted to have a team to make it happen. Until several months ago when I found 2nate and saw that in a short time they had a very good progress so I signed up for their newsletter. One day I received a newsletter where they were searching for a partner to join the team. I said to myself that if I don’t join their team I wouldn’t find another chance to build what I always wanted, It is now or never.
Yashar: I got familiar with 2nate during Startup Weekend Shiraz. Like Mohi and Javad, I was interested in donation and crowdfunding but I had some hesitations in taking part because I wasn’t sure about the culture of online donation in Iran. But after I saw the progress of Mohi in building 2nate, I joined too.
Q: Like KSNA, all of you are from Shiraz?
Yashar: Yes, all of us are from Shiraz but right now we moved from Shiraz to Tehran and we are living here.
Q: How did Avatech help you?
Mohi: The biggest aid from Avatech sits right next to me. I mean it is my Team. Avatech helped me to create my team and changed the way I was thinking about working in a team. Let me start from beginning. When I decided to join Avatech, I wasn’t sure about 2nate, I thought that 2nate cannot generate money and it was a charity initiative so I presented another idea to Avatech and came back to Shiraz. After several days they told me that my idea was selected and I have to come back for the second interview. I planned to make my presentation like the last time in the bus in the way to Tehran but from the moment I opened my laptop to make the presentation I couldn’t do it because I didn’t like the idea. So I went to the interview without any presentation and told them that I don’t have any idea. On the other hand Mohsen Malayeri (Founder of Avatech) knew that I had the 2nate idea and worked on it for several months. But I said that I am not sure if 2nate can generate any money and that’s where they told me that we are here to teach you how to generate money from your idea and how to make a business out of it. And after that, unbelievably I was accepted. The next thing that I learnt was working in a team After some time I realized that I cannot continue alone and should build a team to continue and that’s where Avatech helped me to change my mindset over working in a team.
Q: Any hesitations regarding to build 2nate in the past months?
Mohi: Let me be honest with you, I had doubt in the past! And I think every entrepreneur on his/her journey had this hesitation and doubt, because we are not talking about 6 months or 1 year later, we are talking about the next 5 or 10 years of our lives and building a startup can change the whole path of our life. So I was thinking that right now I had everything that I needed to build this idea, I really want to create it cause something from inside was telling me to do and I am ready to take a risk. So I made my decision, at the end, these risks, passions and values that we are going to create are the main things that make an entrepreneur different form an employee
Q: For the final question, what is the vision of 2nate?
Mohi: We want to change the way that people are helping each other, we are merciful people but we are not always active in these fields, we are in the scene whenever an earthquake or a disaster happens but we need to be more active.
Thank you 2nate for the Interview.