Along with other entrepreneurial hotspots in the Middle East like the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, Iran is giving rise to one of the fastest-growing startup scenes in the region. Undoubtedly, Iran has all the necessary ingredients to support its startup ecosystem. A significant portion of its population pursues careers in engineering, and the nation also has direct access to a number of underserved markets. In addition, the tech-loving population of Iran is quick to adopt cutting-edge products they see on the market.
It is this focus on innovation that has given rise to Iran’s diverse community of startups. Providing services in every industry ranging from e-commerce to digital media, these budding companies are leading the charge when it comes to building a powerful entrepreneurial ecosystem in Iran.
Here are a few of the Iranian startups you need to watch:
Established in 2016, Tutti is looking to revolutionize Iran’s e-commerce industry with its online marketplace. The startup’s team has leveraged more than three decades of professional experience to create a website through which Iranian consumers can obtain exclusive discounts and deals on products. Tutti works directly with commerce experts to secure an array of products at the lowest price possible. New items are offered to members every day. However, each product has an extremely limited run of between one and two days. As such, users have to be quick if they wish to take advantage of every deal.
Entrepreneur Tina Maleki established her startup, LaThème, to provide a fashion outlet for the people of Iran. The startup’s website, which functions as both a fashion vendor and magazine, has become the destination for Iranians seeking luxury shopping online.
LaThème keeps its members up-to-date with the latest trends by regularly publishing content that highlights each season’s top fashions and provides a look at the most current street styles around the globe. In addition, the website helps readers copy the trends that they see using their own wardrobes. Members can also read up on tips for wearing different garments, hair style how-to’s and suggestions, and “what to wear” guides for various occasions. Profiles of various designers are also featured on the site.
Tehran-based Ponisha provides local entrepreneurs with a means of outsourcing their work to freelancers. Founder Nima Nourmohammady established his firm to connect freelancers with the businesses who need them. Though there are many global freelance marketplaces, Iranians can rarely use them because they cannot use Visa, MasterCard, and other common forms of payment. In addition, the majority of Iranians do not speak English well enough to make full use of these sites.
Nourmohammady overcame these problems by creating a freelance job website dedicated to Iran. Through Ponisha, entrepreneurs can create and advertise projects for any work they need completed. Freelancers bid on each project, thus allowing entrepreneurs to select the offer that best suits their budget. Once they complete their work, Ponisha makes it easy for entrepreneurs to pay each freelancer. Since 2011, the startup has built a community of nearly 120,000 freelancers and entrepreneurs across Iran.
Since its debut in January 2017, AloPeyk has emerged as one of the top delivery service providers in Tehran. The startup works with local motorcycle couriers to provide its clients with inexpensive but efficient service. By connecting with AloPeyk’s iOS or Android application, users can request delivery service in a few steps. After inputting the pick-up and drop-off locations, they can select which courier they would like to use and follow their progress throughout the delivery. Individuals, online retailers, and restaurants are just a few of the users that turn to AloPeyk for their delivery needs.
Specializing in event management, EventBox provides all the professional assistance that its users need to create new events and discover upcoming events in their community. Whether they are looking to host a family reunion or convene a professional conference, users can customize event pages, sell tickets, and monitor their progress directly through EventBox. Individual users and event sponsors can then view each event listing and choose the ones they would like to attend.
Anetwork began as a digital advertising network but has since branched into the broader realm of digital media. Serving nearly 10 million users each month, the startup helps clients reach customers across the Iranian market. Anetwork users gain the ability to run their advertisements on more than 7,500 websites that reach an excess of 32 million people in Iran. Other services provided by the startup include SEO optimization, website design, and market analysis. Also one of Iran’s most prominent cost-per-click (CPC) companies, Anetwork assists clients with the creation of targeted advertising for mobile devices and video sites.
Since 2015, Reyhoon has offered a convenient food ordering service to those living in Tehran. Via either the website or mobile application, users can input their location and see a list of nearby restaurants. They can view the menu at each eatery, see photographs of each dish, and read through user reviews. Reyhoon makes it easy for people to order food by allowing them to pay with cash, cards, or account credits. Users can also create accounts to simplify the process of placing future orders.