The Beginning of the Path
Saeed Amidi and his family were successful entrepreneurs even before migrating to United States. In Iran, they were part of an industrial group called ‘Bella’. Bella was a very famous shoe company back before the revolution. They also had many factories and other activities in Iran. After migrating to US, they started a rug shop with the rugs that they had brought from Iran and also a family collection. The main purpose of the rug store was to get the profit and to enter the real-estate business and the ‘import export business’ of packaging raw materials, which lead into the packing water bottle business. All of these business were/are managed by Saeed Amidi, Raheem Amidi, and Pejman Nozad. Luckily for the Amidzad partners, the rug store was located in the heart of Paulo Alto, where many CEO’s and investors would come buy rugs from the shop. Due to being great networkers, they reach to the conclusion of buying the building, and start giving office space to successful companies such as Google, Paypal, and Logitech. But the Amidzad partners weren’t just landlords, and they also negotiated for equity too. From then on, Plug and Play was officially launched.
He stated, “Raheem, my brother, was sort of negotiating the real-estate transaction with Peter Thiel and that’s how he became interested to invest in PayPal.”
Thus, after investing in PayPal, Danger, and making loads of money, they expanded Plug and Play, buying their 160,000 HQ building.
Plug and Play’s Best Investment
Saeed Amidi’s opinion is that the ‘Lending Club’, a US lending peer-to-peer company, is Plug and Play’s best investment and is totally interrupting the banking world. In a smaller scale, they have a mobile bank company in Berlin, called number 26.
Biggest Investment Regret
As many know, including Saeed Amidi, Plug and Play’s biggest regret is Airbnb; the online platform, which lets people rent other people’s houses. Airbnb was at Plug and Play before they were in the seed round, and they even agreed to put money into Airbnb, but then the deal fell apart. Here is another regret they had quoted by Amidi,
“We also had an opportunity to invest in Facebook. Facebook wanted to rent our office space on University Avenue. It was sort of combined saying, okay you can have the office space but we also invest in your company.” The deal ultimately did not manage to happen.
The Top Most Important things Saeed Amidi Sees In a Startup
Saeed Amidi really likes to see in a startup:
- Passion and drive
- Commitment from the team
- Loves to invest in 2-3 people, does not like a one person team
- 1 or 2 of the team members be technical
- A technical capability to execute what they want to do
More important than anything, Amidi really wants to see the problem that they are solving is big enough.
What Amidi Is Really Excited About
Lately, Plug and Play has been creating different verticals. One vertical that Amidi is very excited about is IoT (Internet of Things). He thinks that IoT in the future will affect everything we do. For example, in the case of connected health, he feels that people will become healthier because they will be able to monitor activity. More importantly in the connected IoT health, he states.
“I think they will combine medicine with digital information and activity (for people) to become more healthier.”
He predicts that IoT will increase productivity in the near future of the corporate world, and more importantly in humans’ personal lives.
The Biggest Risk For Startup Founders
Amidi Stated, “The biggest risk for startup founders is keeping the idea to them selves and focusing on building a technology without trying it out and doing quick pilots.”
On the other side, he does not like the fact that technical people are sometimes so much into their product that it takes them two years before they actually try it out.
My Personal Hope and desire is that Iran without sanctions will go through and incredible economic growth similar to what China has gone through in the last ten years.
Amidi’s Thoughts On Iran Without Sanctions
Amidi has seen a dynamic growth in China, which Plug and Play is involved with. He has seen incredible growth in South Korea, and especially with the companies that have been founded there such as Samsung.
“My Personal Hope and desire is that Iran without sanctions will go through and incredible economic growth similar to what China has gone through in the last ten years.”, Stated by Amidi.
He thinks that Iran will have an incredible knowledge based economy due to the high populated youth, which he hopes will mimic what India has done in the IT sector. He thinks India has benefited from IT outsourcing. He does not think it would be possible that the head of Google and Microsoft would be Indian if hadn’t been for India training computer scientists and engineers.
He really hopes for Iran and outside of Iran incredible enthusiasm towards technology and innovation. He really believes that Iranians can really jump-start a great startup community in Tehran and all across Iran.
The Industries that Saeed Amidi Will Invest in Post Sanctions
Amidi has Plug and Play working with big banks across the world such as Citi Bank or Deutsche Bank. He strongly considers the fact that, if he ever wanted to invest in Iran, he will invest with these partners. Also in the IoT space, he works very closely with companies such as Airbus, Mercedes, so again through these relationships he will get involved with some of these partners. He really believes in the fact that the top 100 companies in the world want to do something in Iran and he may take part in that.
Iran has the knowledge and the enthusiasm to be the pioneer in some innovation that would lead the world, and that is what I’m hoping for in the next 10 years.
Does Amidi Think Iran will be a Major Startup Hub in Future 10 Years?
Yes! He has been searching the world for startup hubs. Other than Silicon Valley, he believes New York has some traction, Berlin, which Plug and Play is involved in, is second after Silicon Valley.
“I really think Iran and Tehran in particular has all the elements of great universities, youth, hard working people to become the next hub. Iran has the knowledge and the enthusiasm to be the pioneer in some innovation that would lead the world, and that is what I’m hoping for in the next 10 years. ”, Said Amidi.
Though he is very positive towards the Iran startup scene, he sees aspects that it should improve upon. He really wants the startup scene to improvise on how simple they start a company. He has also heard that it’s really hard to give equity to employees or a stock option plan.
How iBRIDGES should improve through Amidi’s POV
Quoted from Amidi, “I invented the bridge in the name iBRIDGE. I invented Silicon Valley bridge title. And we have a bridge with minimum 22 countries.”
He really thinks that conferences such as iBRIDGES educates and energizes people and at the same time gives access to global connections. In his opinion, the only way that it should improve is having more events.
Image courtesy of inc.com