Sci & Tech

Avatech Demo Day Glitters

Avatech Demo Day GlittersAvatech Demo Day Glitters

Avatech Accelerator’s second cycle of startup companies hosted a glittering event for investors, media and interested parties alike on Thursday at Tehran’s Engineering Campus.

The event using the hashtag #AvatechDemoDay was aimed at giving the entire startup community a preview of companies in their acceleration stage shining with the help of dozens of mentoring people and companies, including Financial Tribune.

A special guest from an Eastern Europe venture capital fund first got on stage to discuss the possible opening of the Iranian economy to foreign investment after sanctions removal.

Max Gurvits from Teres Capital discussed that Iran should do all it can to keep talent in-country, as with the case of Eastern Europe; when they gained access to the European Common Market, many brains left the country.

Gurvits then highlighted Iran’s potential in medical research and nuclear power.

The event kicked off with a message from Avatech Accelerator’s venture capital backer, Sarava Pars boss Saeed Rahmani who welcomed prospective foreign investors, including Belgian and Swedish delegates about the current state of the domestic startup industry.

In his speech, Rahmani commented on the need to capture talent before it emigrates to foreign universities and international startup centers.

Rahmani said, “Accelerators’ success leads to the prosperity of entrepreneurship and the reduction of brain drain in the country. It is with these young companies that the future of the country can be assured.

After the CEO’s speech, a panel discussion of angel investors got on stage to discuss how to prompt others to begin funding the industry. The board included the cream of Tehran’s angel investors, including Arash Vafadari from Mana Payam and Mohammad Komeilian and Mohsen Malayeri from Sarava Pars.

After a short break, the first startup called Namlik, a curated audio distribution service, was first to pitch their work. As one local tech investor Ali Tehrani elaborated on their service, “[Namlik] is a flipboard for audio.”

The team led by lead developer Ali Gholami aims to shake up the audio sales industry by offering streamed content via their new service.

The second team presented was SportUp, a new web-based sports event booking company that aims to organize the disorganized sports industry in Iran.

The marketplace concept—something which has not had much exposure in Iran online so far—aims to be an application reachable anywhere and giving sporting locations’ ratings and reviews.

The company said there were 100,000 sports clubs in Iran.

“At Least 100 Users Per Club Spends Average $120 For Sport Services; Iranians Minimum Spend $1.2 billion on Sport Services,” TechRasa tweets.

The third company to take the stage was Cortada, a mobile application café management solution. Mohammad from the company said his company has helped two cafes gain more than 20% income through its service. The service integrates social networking concepts and customer loyalty program.

The fourth team introduced in the afternoon was NikPrint—an online printing company quite common in western markets and a steady growth industry in other markets. The NikPrint team hopes to bring that kind of efficiency to the local market.

The team said their online business printing service aims to be more competitive, “being easy to use, reasonable and fast”.

We trialed the business card service previously and found flaws in its color composition but reliable for day-to-day customers.

SmartBeen, a water management service, created by Edwin Baboomian who highlighted his latest version that would cost customers $299 for installation plus remote control.

The sixth team, Hexy Pixel, Iran’s first game studio for “Massively Multiplayer Online Games”, listed their new services and apps that they hoped would take the Internet by storm.

The mobile app Farm Thief in the first two weeks of being listed on local Android app store CafeBazaar had over 40,000 downloads and over 4,000 comments, according to the company’s spokesman.

Hexy Pixel added that CafeBazaar now has 25 million users and 70% of them are mobile gamers, making their startup one of the most interesting by international standards.

Parvaneh Art, an Etsy-like online store also outlined developments in their company’s stock online. The general concept of this application is to prompt Iranian artisans to sell their artwork and handmade crafts online.

According to Parveneh Art, the market size for the handmade industry is $144 million.

The eighth and final team of the day was PayPing which, as the name suggests, aims to be an online payment application and new gateway for digital financial transactions.

TechRasa quotes them as saying: “More than 96% of transfers are done via ATMs in Iran currently, with 80% of transfers being less than 1 million rials on average.”

The group added that currently 15,000 retailers in the country are using the mobile messaging app Telegram to conduct business remotely.

Rangitar, an online image database, was up next with their latest developments. The group’s co-director, Bahareh Sobati, said since its launch, the group had over 1,000 registered users contributing over 4,000 images by 600 photographers.

The tenth and final team on the day was Dimana, a local real-estate listing service. It is common knowledge that the local lettings and sales industry is antiquated for being controlled by small realtor companies in local areas.

Dimana’s offering hopes to help contribute to the industry. The company noted listing six agencies, 47 agents and 1,000 properties in their initial stage.

As one visiting tech entrepreneur, Patrick McDermott, described the event, “I was most taken by the evolution in professionalism by the second round of startups. The second round really shows how far this accelerator has come from its early days.”