Sci & Tech

Acopio for Professionals

Acopio for ProfessionalsAcopio for Professionals

Iran is no stranger to the world of startups–as this newspaper can attest to–and with this in mind, the caliber of entrepreneurs continues to increase on a month-by-month basis.

The other day, Financial Tribune talked with one of the latest entrants to the market, Acopio—a new professional network dedicated to filling the niche neglected by more traditional networks—that is the 18-35 year demographic internationally.

Arash Jalali, the company’s founder, is no stranger to startups with his own investment company, Bridge Consulting based in Dubai and London.

“We’re a fully focused group of designers and engineers across the globe, which can work to create this new social network,” he said.

Jalali, a former student of Herriot-Watt University in Edinburgh Scotland, started his first entrepreneurship project in that country focused on fingerprint technology.

After finishing studies in the UK, the young angel investor and entrepreneur, headed to Silicon Valley where he moved his company and work to the sunshine state.

“I wanted to understand why LinkedIn was so strong so I learned their inner working mechanisms while being in the US,” he said.

The startup guru said that for economies to grow, space must be given to people who focus on the growth areas of that economy such as startups.

“In America, five out of seven companies that run the economy are startups,” he said.

Jalali added that the government needs to get behind startups as they are one of the best ways to get people out of unemployment and back to work.

“If I was in the position of the government, I would promote startups as it really helps grow the economy,” he said.

“In Silicon Valley, everyone loves Persians; look at Periscope which has $50 billion value right now.”

He, however, noted that Dropbox and others like them are hesitant to enter the Iranian market in the short term.

Moving on to Acopio, Jalali said, “We are not directly competing with LinkedIn, and we have a very distinct offering from the well known company.”

“Currently the site is beta testing with a few thousand users in different territories,” he said.

He added that they are looking at promoting people in a way different from the traditional curriculum vitae, with video resumes for one as well as other innovative techniques like social networking, such as people in a conference setting connecting with each other.

“People only start networking on LinkedIn when they either lose their job or when they are looking for a new opportunity.”

The company chief added that he wants his users to interact in a more genuine way, away from the traditional format, with his new artificial intelligence system that can record instructions.

Jalali noted that this was made possible with Iran’s Sharif University graduates developing the software needed to make Acopio’s software possible.

The company has been granted two forms of funding to start with, one in a form that Jalali could not mention for legal reasons and another from angel investors in the United States for $500,000.

The software is only going to be available for Android and iOS devices, with no option for Windows phone users.

What Acopio’s early success suggests is that the effort of Iranians inside and outside the country working together is making the online social network world all that bit richer.