Silk Road Startup’s Road Trip was held from October 22nd to 31st. After a series of pitch competitions around 7 cities of Iran, 10 startups have been selected to pitch for the finals in Kish Island.

Silk Road Startup organized the first ever series of pitch competitions around Iran with the aim of tracking the country’s top startups. Of the 400 applicants which registered for the pitch competitions, 84 were selected to pitch in front of a team of the local and international jury in 7 cities of the country.

Silk Road Startup’s team along with 6 jury members traveled over 4000 kilometers around Iran to the cities of Tabriz, Rasht, Tehran, Isfahan, Yazd, Shiraz and Mashhad to find the country’s best startups. Over 1500 startup enthusiasts, students and experts attended the local events around Iran. Over 20% of the startup founders who pitched during the events were female entrepreneurs.

One of the startup founders at Silk Road Startup's Tehran event pitching in front of the audience.
One of the startup founders at Silk Road Startup’s Tehran event pitching in front of the audience.

Due to higher demand and the number of applications from Tehran, the city had 4 quotas, making the total number of the winners from around the country to 10. The following are the selected startups from each city which will pitch during the finals:

 

Tabriz

LOOKOBOOK: A social media approach to spread the culture of book reading and supporting authors.

Rasht

AKO: A handheld device which measures the level of blood glucose with IR spectroscopy and Artificial Intelligence.  

Tehran

Faranesh: An online learning platform providing skill based video tutorials for Persian speaking users.

Peeyade: A media platform covering Tehran’s cultural & entertainment scene.

Tapsell: A mobile ad network in the high-potential market of Iran.

Mobilekomak: An on-demand platform for IT repair services.

Isfahan

BarOn Co: An Uber-like platform which assigns loads to trucks in different areas and cities.

Yazd

Echobaar: A marketplace for truckers, shipping and cargo companies.  

Shiraz

Komodaa: An eco-friendly and online fashion marketplace for women to buy/sell pre-owned wearables.

Mashhad

Keshmoon: A marketplace for water-friendly food and agriculture products including saffron.

The international jury team in a meeting with the head of Guilan Tech Park during the event in Rasht.
The international jury team in a meeting with the head of Guilan Tech Park during the event in Rasht.

Aside from the 10 selected startups during the pitch competitions, 6 more local teams will be announced by each member of the international jury team to attend the summit. Silk Road Startup Summit will be the first ever invite-only startup and entrepreneurship event in Iran which aims to gather the best startups from around the country in one place next to European leaders for a two-day conference in Kish Island. The Summit is scheduled for the first quarter of 2018.

The audience in the local event held in Tabriz. Over 1500 people attended Silk Road Startup events held around Iran.
The audience in the local event held in Tabriz. Over 1500 people attended Silk Road Startup events held around Iran.
The jury team in Mashhad, asking questions from the pitching startup.
The jury team in Mashhad, asking questions from the pitching startup.

“I’m pleasantly surprised by the quality of startups in Iran and I’m sure the country is all set to produce unicorn startups very soon,” said Kiran Maverick, Founder of I Am Tomorrow and The August Fest, and one of the international jury members of Silk Road Startup. “I realized every city in Iran has its own thriving startup ecosystem, and entrepreneurs are solving problems locally. For any startup ecosystem to grow, the most important thing is to solve right problems and I observed that Iranian entrepreneurs are exactly doing the same,” he added.

Silk Road Startup is co-organized by TechRasa and Hamfekr along with a team of over 100 startup community builders and volunteers from around Iran. The event is supported by Iran’s Vice-Presidency for Science and Technology, The Innovation Acceleration Center, Tehran Chamber of Commerce, and a number of Science and Technology Parks, universities and startups in Iran.

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atefeh
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I’m surprised by the quality of startups in Iran