Saturday, 23 April, 2016

We Stand on Our Own

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By: Bobbie

Western countries have imposed sanctions against Iranians for many years. They thought such sanctions can cripple them but instead Iranian youths have tried to do business in various fields such as techs. They participated in various conferences in the world and presented their ideas about their own business. The more they make progress, the more western countries place embargoes on them, claiming these items have dual-use features!

Unfortunately, during these days, due to sanctions, Iranians have been prevented from having many modern products. We do not have YouTube, Amazon, eBay or any original iStore in Tehran legally. Therefore, many Iranian youths have tried to go into tech business via Internet. They have focused on various subjects ranging from cell phones to cooking tips. Once again, sanctions can be regarded as an opportunity to make progress providing that one should have predetermined purposes as well as be industrious. For example, I mention some of them in the following:

Digikala

Digikala is an online Iranian e-commerce site similar to Amazon. It has been hugely successful, ranked by Alexa as the sixth most visited website in Iran, and is the biggest of its kind in the Middle East. With around 750,000 visitors per day and more than 2.3 million subscribers, 85-90% of Iran’s e-commerce takes place on Digikala. Today, Digikala is reportedly worth $150m, has 760 employees and is operating in more than 20 Iranian cities, shipping more than 4,000 orders per day.

Aparat

Aparat is an Iranian online video-sharing site which has become a household name in Iran. Like YouTube it shows everything from music clips to films to videos of cats. Its founder, Mohammad-Javad Shakouri Moghaddam, is also the CEO of Aparat’s parent company Sabaldea, which is behind a number of other successful startup projects in Iran, including Cloob.com, a Persian-language social-networking site with more than 3 million users, and Mihanblog.com, a free blog hosting service. Shakouri Moghaddam’s company started with three people 10 years ago and now has a staff of 65. Five million videos a day are watched on Aparat, and the site gets about 150 million hits a month. Recently Aparat has introduced a new service called Filimo, an Iranian version of Netflix, which is currently available free of charge.

Takhfifan

Takhfifan is a popular Iranian version of the deal-of-the-day website Groupon, the deal-of-the-day website, offering discounts in nine categories on from restaurants and coffee shops to theatre and concert tickets. It has more than a million email subscribers and offers 20 to 25 deals a day. Its founder, Nazanin Daneshvar, is one of a growing number of women running tech startups in Iran. She left her lucrative investment job in Germany four years ago to return to Iran and become an entrepreneur in her home country. With the help of her sister, she launched the website, which at first offered just one deal a day on food and entertainment but soon grew to its present size.

Photo description

Aparat’s Mohammad-Javad Shakouri Moghaddam, left, and Hamid Mohammadi of Digikala, Iran’s version of Amazon. Photograph: Arash Ashourinia /Observer

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