Meet our entrepreneur
Could you tell us about your background and how you got into the tech industry?
Interestingly enough, I actually do not have a tech background. When I lived in Canada I was interested in second-hand goods and was active on platforms such as eBay and Craigslist. When I moved to Iran, I noticed that these search platforms did not exist. This is how the idea for Sheypoor came about.
How did Sheypoor come about?
When I moved back to Iran, I had a meeting with an old family friend who had been doing well in Iran. The idea for Sheypoor came up in the meeting, and both interested in classifieds, we drew up a business plan. We started in the basement of an office in Tehran and soon after in July 2012 we launched the Sheypoor platform. It got so popular, especially when we tried TV-commercials, that we frequently had to reboot the system at night when traffic was low. It was interesting times.
How would you describe the Iranian tech sector?
The Iranian tech sector is driven by the young and well-educated population. With globalisation and access to data, the Iranian population is very curious and quick to jump on new trends and ecosystems. Iran has the potential to have a fast-growing tech ecosystem as penetration levels generally are still far behind comparable markets, Turkey for example.
Could you describe Sheypoor in a few sentences?
Sheypoor is characterised by a very healthy culture. Our company values ‘down-to-earth’ and ‘closeness’ create a culture within which people are comfortable with each other and enjoy working together. We also strive to ‘do more with less’, adopting smart and efficient practices in order to remain competitive. This approach has been successful. Fast forward 10 years from the basement where we started, and we are now around 300 employees working from a large office in central Tehran, catering to approximately 10 million active users.
What makes Sheypoor unique?
Our unique selling point lies in our customer-centric approach; we believe that our nationwide reach combined with a seamless user experience differentiates us. Around 4000 small business have live subscriptions to Sheypoor, and we have over 10 million monthly active users.
What are some of your achievements to date with Sheypoor?
Today, we are the #1 classifieds platform in North Iran, #2 in the whole of Iran and have been cash-flow positive for several years. It is equally important to look at some of the milestones during our journey up until today; for example, in 2016, with the support of Pomegranate, we developed our website to solidify our platform to be able to handle growth and volumes. No more rebooting. This was essential for us and led to a period of strong expansion.
What are some challenges that you have faced as a tech entrepreneur? How did you overcome them?
In Iran we face unique challenges that range from social economic challenges to “brain drain” as we need to compete with a growing trend of young specialists wanting to move abroach. Others are inflationary challenges that impact service companies by squeezing margins. There have been challenges in growth as a result, where we have had to be agile and prioritise profitability.
What are some of your goals with regards to Sheypoor and personally?
Initially, our 5-year plan was to reach 200,000 sessions. We quickly achieved this and have developed a 10-year plan of being one of the top 5 tech companies in Iran.
How does the cooperation with Pomegranate work?
Pomegranate are a team of experienced investors that have always been supportive, leveraging their network to connect us with the right people and solutions in times of need. Pomegranate have helped us through tough times, and we are very happy to have them on board with us.
Lastly, for us how do not know Persian, what does Sheypoor mean?
Sheypoor means trumpet in Persian. The idea of the logo is the trumpet sounding when someone would like to sell something and inform the city about the offer. The logo has worked very well for us.
Fast forward 10 years from the basement where we started, and we are now around 300 employees working from a large office in central Tehran, catering to approximately 10 million active users.