First years in the inception of a startup ecosystem comes with a lot of cloning and market gap filling. There are some models and startup sectors which are still missing in Iran’s startup scene. We are going to identify these missing business models in this post.

The first wave of startups in emerging markets are typically e-commerce startups starting with online shops and e-tailers. First online stores and e-commerce startups in Iran emerged in 2008. Gradually over time with the development of internet and digitalization, entrepreneurs started filling the gaps and solving local problems. In largely populated economies, local FinTech and payment solution also emerge in early stages. Iran is also benefiting from a large 80 million populated market which opens the doors to many business opportunities in financial services and online retail.

We picked 5 startup models that currently don’t exist in Iran:

1. Ride sharing

Ride sharing acts as a great solution for inner city and cross city transportation. There is and always has been a local solution for inner city transportation as non-authorized taxis in Iran tend to pick up passengers along a straight route.

2. Online laundry services

Those living in populated and consumer-oriented cities have tasted the benefit of this service and how convenient it has gotten in the past years. The demand for this service has been rising recently and this could also be a model that could have a potential for higher class tiers of the Iranian society. Currently, some Laundry services in richer districts provide telephone laundry services and delivery. A startup that centralizes this action as a platform is yet to be seen in Iran.

3. Delivery service

“I want 2 orange juice, one hair shampoo, 2 bandages from the nearby pharmacy and while you’re at it get me felafel on the way,” unless that person loves you enough to do this, there is no delivery service yet to provide this service. Delivery services are already operating in many Persian gulf countries with high level of consumerism and financial power. This startup model can be a game changer as the demand is high especially considering the growing traffic in cities like Tehran.

4. Online furniture and home decoration stores

Now this is a hot business all over the world. News of online furniture e-commerce startups raising fund are heard from all over the world as this business model is trendy among entrepreneurs focusing on e-commerce. There would be some attempts to launch such a startup in the future.

5. P2P hospitality

Now this is one of the first gaps a foreigner notices when entering Iran. Is it because there is no need for it or local entrepreneurs never thought of that? The answer is obviously no. Regulations and legal issues have prevented this business model from getting off the ground in a typical normal way. A challenge in obtaining such a permit will open a gate to a blood bath competition for this model as the local and international tourists will benefit from this greatly. Some local tour agencies provide private homes for rent but even those are questionable in terms of legal legitimacy.

Continuing this list is not a challenge. Lot’s of e-commerce and FinTech startups can be added to this list when it comes to startups business models that are non-existent in Iran.

We would love to hear your opinion on what startup sectors and business models are missing in Iran’s startup ecosystem in e-commerce, FinTech, Health, Fashion, Ad Tech, Digital Media, SaaS, Education and more.

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