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A City of User Data,  One Click Away
Sci & Tech

A City of User Data, One Click Away

If you have time to kill and don't know where to go, Data Shahr brings to you all the information you need.
An Iranian startup, quite similar to the foreign website Yelp, Data Shahr (meaning Data City in Farsi) allows users to submit reviews and pictures of places they have been to while rating the services based on their own experience.   
Currently, four categories are listed on the website, namely restaurants, cafes, fast-food joints and beauty salons.
More categories are expected to be added over the next few weeks, which will largely focus on household services such as cleaning and house moving.
The Financial Tribune sat down with two of the young team members behind the project: Saeed Faraji, 25, the content and PR manager, and Omid Arasteh, 26, the designer and user interface and user experience UI/UX developer at Data Shahr.  
Faraji and Arasteh attended the same high school along with a third member Bahram Moshrefi, who is the back-end developer of the website.
Moshrefi first came up with the idea of the website that was officially launched two and a half months ago.
Arasteh and Moshrefi were brainstorming businesses ideas surrounding restaurants when the concept was formed.
"We were thinking it would be a good idea if we could tell each other which restaurant we have gone to and if we have had a good or bad experience," Arasteh said.
"We wanted to help people find the place they're looking for at a particular location and find out what best fits their needs based on other people's reviews and opinions," Faraji added.
Asked how the website is different from foreign counterparts, such as foursquare or swarm, the duo said those websites are mainly about having fun and telling your friends where you have gone and the suggestions are mostly user generated.
On Data Shahr, however, despite the fact that users can generate content, the database is regulated by the administrators.
 
  Facts and Stats
About six months ago, Data Shahr joined Avatech accelerator program.
Faraji said Avatech certainly facilitated the process of shaping an enterprise out of a startup, especially with regard to mentoring and linking their startup with investors.
According to the duo, 800 users refer to the website on a daily basis and Data Shahr presently gets 4,000 page views per day.
A majority of users are in the 25-35 age-group and they are mostly from Tehran. However, people in other cities are also very active and upload pictures of their businesses and submit reviews.
  Challenges and Vision
Arasteh believes that the biggest challenge ahead is how to get more users involved and more people to write reviews.
"We are currently focusing on increasing our users and gaining more traction," he said.
"The next step would be to reach out to business owners and convince them that Data Shahr can help them get more customers, too."   
The two entrepreneurs hope someday Data Shahr can turn into a website where anyone who wants to try something new can refer to. They aim to reach a point where they will be the go-to place for reliable market evaluations, based on user reviews.  
The Data Shahr application is also expected to be published soon.

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