Sci & Tech

Startup Ranks 3rd in Int’l Contest

Startup Ranks 3rd  in Int’l ContestStartup Ranks 3rd  in Int’l Contest

Startup Istanbul, the premier startup event in the Near East, (or Eurasia as it proclaims) earlier this week, had over 100 startups pitching new ideas from over 40 countries.

All the entrants vied to get the holy grail of startup funding, which will be announced later.

The event hosted premier startup executives and venture capital groups from around the world, including Silicon Valley professionals. Taskulu, a Tehran-­based startup, gained third place in the competition, after it was beaten to second place by iGrow from Indonesia.

The startup was set up by undergraduate students of Amir Kabir University of Technology, one of Iran’s leading centers of higher education. Founding members of the team include Farhad Hedayati and Kazem Keshavarz, who also have a support team of front and back end developers and marketers.

Speaking with this paper earlier in the year, Hedayati gave an overview on his award-winning software. He showed the key points of his office software and said his team of expert web developers and programmers are attempting to shake up communications and project management patterns.

The program consists of a centralized management platform that seeks to enhance and speed up cross-communications between users. Taskulu also integrates with Trello, Dropbox and Google Drive. The app will be integrated with Github and Slack in the near future. In second place is iGrow, a platform for helping people to do plantation with limited land, knowledge to plant and skill to harvest by utilizing unused land.

"Nims is an expense management tool that simply helps businesses get a hold of their expenses," the company’s website claims.

Other startups this year from Iran who did not make the cut include Maktabkhooneh, a startup that helps people find the books they want. Akhbar Rasmi also attempted to win funding this year with their specially-crafted Persian news feeds; however, they failed to impress. Also,, a clothing website, attempted to win a place at the head table but were pushed aside by their Avatech rivals.

Startup Istanbul was organized by Etohum, the Turkish accelerator and seed investor. After speed networking, the event kicked off with a fireside chat with Steve Blank.

The well-known serial entrepreneur, who co­founded E.piphany, talked about his past experiences on building a startup, getting investment and failures that one might encounter during the process.

Dave McClure, the founding partner of 500 Startups, was also in attendance and talked about the differences of the startup ecosystem in Silicon Valley and other ecosystems around the world. He emphasized on the importance of local and regional markets like Turkey and MENA, adding that “You don’t need to go to Silicon Valley, but you need to get Silicon Valley to come to you,” TechRasa writes.

The website says it connects urban dwellers who want to do plantations with farmers and rural workers. In first place came Kenyan startup Nims, which offers a service that eliminates fraud.

It says that as fraud is an industry worth $3.7 trillion globally, their system aims to take a chunk out of that hefty amount by harnessing both mobile and web technology to give businesses control measures in safeguarding their expenses.

For an Iranian startup to get the official nod of approval from the international community marks the beginning of a new chapter for the locally developed companies.

This is also the second startup from Avatech accelerator to win a prize in international competitions, the first being SmartBeen, a smart greenhouse agriculture management system.