Tehran’s prominent startup accelerator, Avatech had its second demo day on Thursday, November 12th 2015. The invite-only event was packed with local and international investors along with some of the Iranian officials. During the demo day startups showcased their products and progress to investors and the press.
Mohsen Malayeri, Co-founder and Managing Director of Avatech, kicked off the demo day with an overview of the first cycle. He briefly introduced the second cycle teams and noted that 6 of the current cycle’s founders were women. Adding that 25% of the team members had applied abroad and were initially planning to leave the country, but they decided to stay in the country and start their own business here.
Malayeri said their teams had acquired more than 20000 users in total and had been featured 72 times in online and print media.
After Malayeri’s speech, Max Gurvits took to the stage. Gurvits co-founded the first online legal services provider in The Netherlands in 2008 and sold the company 3 years after. That year he moved to Bulgaria, where he played a key role in building the startup community. He is also General Partner at CCC Startups, a startup ecosystem builder and venture capital fund focused on bridging Silicon Valley with Europe and the Middle East.
During his speech, he noted that Iran’s pros are abundant tech skills and fundamental research. Adding to that the country’s cons are having no product expertise and no breakout successes. During his speech, Gurvits gave some examples on other startup ecosystems around the world. He noted that attracting talent to the region has helped the startup scene in Chile and same could happen for Iran.
Said Rahmani, CEO of Sarava was also a guest speaker at the event. “Accelerators success leads to the prosperity of entrepreneurship and the reduction of brain drain in the country,” said Rahmani. During his speech, Rahmani claimed that Rocket Internet has lost the competition in Iran’s market.
Here is a brief introduction of the teams that pitched during the demo day:
1. Namlik: A curated audio distribution platform currently with a team of 15 Narrators. They launched their mobile app less than a month ago. Until now their Andoird app has been downloaded more than 5000 times. Namlik has reached +65000 plays since they launched 4 months ago.
2. Sportup: An online marketplace for sport services and the easiest way to discover and register for sports activities online. Sportup takes up to 30% Commission on online payments and offers $50 monthly subscription for Club’s premium account. They launched their application a month ago and have signed deals with 30 clubs. Currently they have 200 users.
3. Cortado: A cafe management solution and loyalty system. Their revenue model is simple one time Installation fee followed by monthly subscription fee. Cortado has signed deals with close to 40 cafes and has handled over 5000 transactions since they launched 6 months ago. Their beta loyalty program has been successfully tested in two cafes and is planned to be rolled out to the rest of the platform in the near future.
4. Nikprint: An online print & design service. Users can upload their files, confirm it for print and get the prints in 3 days. Nikprint’s competitive advantages are the platform’s ease of use, reasonable prices, good quality prints and free delivery. Nikprint launched their platform last month. They have had 130 print orders and made 11 million Tomans (Around 3000 dollars) revenue thus far.
5. Smartbeen: Being the only hardware startup in Avatech, Smartbeen is a smart climate controller for greenhouses which lets the owners manage everything remotely. Smartbeen charges $299 for installation fee plus a monthly subscription for remote access to its platform. The startup has made $9000 revenue since its launch 6 months ago.
6. Hexy Pixel Game Studio: They have developed a Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) game for Android. In only two weeks their new mobile game, Farm Thief, got featured in Cafe Bazaar and received 40,000 downloads.
7. Parvaneh Art: A market place for artisans, equivalent of Etsy for the Iranian market. Parvaneh art introduces artisans and sells their items directly to customers. Their revenue model is by 20% commission on sold products and paid product promotion features. Right now Parvaneh Art has 16 artisans, 215 products and 400 users on its platform. They have sold 55 items since the launch of their website two months ago and are witnessing significant growth on their average daily orders.
8. Pay Ping: A personal gateway for online transactions. Pay Ping offers an easy way to transfer money to your friends. They went through a major pivot and in only 3 weeks PayPing attracted 700 users with 200% Growth. The startup has received 150 transactions and is growing at an incredible rate.
9. Rangitar: An Iranian picture licensing & stock photo marketplace where users can put order for their required photos. Rangitar takes 30% commission from every order that photographers sell. Rangitar has more than 1000 registered users and over 4000 photos by 600 photographers.
10. Dimana: First Iranian cloud-based real estate agency management software. In addition to helping real estate agencies go paperless, they have an online listing platform for renters and buyers to gain access to various real estate agencies’ available units. Dimana has signed deals with 6 agencies, 47 agents and has over 1000 properties listed on its platform.
“It is great to see what can be done in such a short time. Some of the teams started in our pre-accelerator phase with just an idea and within just 6 months they’ve tested their business model, developed a product, learned a lot about their customers and managed to acquire paying users. All this in addition to business planning, pitch trainings, company registration processes and building their team,” Sara Usinger, Avatech’s managing director told TechRasa.
“It was amazing to see how far the startups got. I was pleasantly surprised when I first met the teams but they had lots to learn and we had to handhold them in a few cases. But now, I’m very proud of their achievements and excited for their future,” said Vahid Jozi, EIR & Mentor at Avatech.
According to Malayeri, Avatech has received 376 applications for its third cycle. Avatech’s cycle three starts in December 2015 and ends in June 2016.