Editor’s Note: Recently the winner of Avatech’s “Go2ist” competition won a trip to “Startup Istanbul” and he promised to share his experience with us, when he got back from his trip. Hasan Jahangiri kept his promise and sent us the following article.
Early this year, I planned to take part in an international startup event by the end of the year. At that moment I had no idea about what and where it should be but I felt I should get familiar with the international startup community. A few months later, I read about the “#Go2ist” competition from Avatech in Facebook. A few weeks later, I received a call from Avatech. Mohsen told me that I was the winner of the prize! Thanks to Avatech my dream came true at its best.
It was interesting to go to Startup Istanbul and see various fantastic startups from the region. I recently saw what Christopher Schroeder wrote about Startup Rising in Middle East. Iran is one the most important countries of the region but had a very low presence in this important event. In fact, Startup Istanbul was the first event where an Iranian startup was pitching at international level with top people such as Dave McClure among the judges.
Two startups have made it to this event. ZarinPal an online local payment solution and VDecoration an augmented reality mobile application. ZarinPal was among more than 90 startup who pitched and they have made it to top 15. Finally they got “honorable mention” title from the judges. I was proudly among their early adopters when ZarinPal was launched and I have always admired their efforts and quality of their services. The top 3 Winners of startup Istanbul challenge were connected2.me, LIX Pen and Silkroad Images. You can see final pitches online here.
I enjoyed most of the presentations at the event but I believe Dave McClure was the star of the show. I have learned a lot from his presentation. There was a golden quote in his speech “Start up locally, expand globally”. This not only works for startups but also for large enterprises.
In my opinion Iran is reaching to a critical point which should start to expand beyond its borders. For last three decades most of Iranian entrepreneurs’ efforts were put to cover local needs. But currently, things have changed, and political climate is stable and economy is rebuilding steadily. Iran is now top of the world in science growth and has second-largest market and one of the most active population in the region. These young people are well-educated and follow latest trends in technology. Iran is slowly preparing itself for a jump in different fields and “hi-tech entrepreneurship” is one potential strengths.
Mohsen Malayeri the co-founder of Avatech also delivered a speech to introduce the Iranian startup ecosystem to participants. He and his colleagues in IranEA and Avatech played an important role in growing the ecosystem and connecting it to the world.
Participating in Startup Istanbul was a valuable experience for me. I talked with different people from different countries. I also talked with other Iranian entrepreneurs and I am hopeful that we’ll see more of them in similar events. We all know our ecosystem is young and there is much to do. Whether sanctions remain or not we need to share our knowledge, help each other and work, work and work. The future is bright.
Hasan Jahangiri – October 2014