REPOST: Iranian #Diaspora Role in Tech Ecosystem

Dear Pitaconsumers~

PITAPOLICY is pleased to join the contributor team at the Vancouver Observer’s online publication World section–especially since one of our pitapals, Massoud Hayoun, is their World Editor!  Congrats to you Massoud–we’re pleased to have had the opportunity to post your thoughts on Tunisia last year before your promotion!  On August 7th, Massoud described the challenges of socially responsible investing in Tunisia’s tourism sector.

This week’s posting is our first contribution to Vancouver Observer…as always, comment freely, profusely, and eventually get to some type of point 🙂


Iran’s Tech Ecosystem Struggles to Catchup with Persian Diaspora Startups: A casualty of emigration out of Iran, or brain drain? 
The future of Iran’s IT industry at Iran’s Startup Weekend, November 2012 (

Dropbox, Ebay, Zoosk, were all founded by techies of Persian descent, who represent some of the most successful entrepreneurs of the Iranian Diaspora.

Youtube’s CEO, Salar Kamangar, and the Producer of World of Warcraft,  Shahram Dabiri, are also among the Information Technology gurus, like Omid Kordestani, who advised global innovations like Netscape and Google. Kordestani earned a place on TIME Magazine’s 100 in 2006 and represents the hundreds of Iranians that pursued their engineering degrees abroad.

It is perhaps ironic that a country like Iran, that is notorious for its advancements in certain technology, like nuclear development, does not scream advancement in the information technology development. Meanwhile, in spite government policy and slow internet access, Iran has unwittingly produced a community of tech innovators abroad. Iran’s tech ecosystem strikes a sharp contrast with the Persian Diaspora startup story.

Call it the casualty of emigration out of Iran, or brain drain.

“It’s a missed opportunity for Iran to capitalize on its own talent,” Iranian-American, and startup Founder of, Elias Shams explained.

Shams’ startup,, connects businesses to businesses (B2B) across different industries to generate “leads” around the world. Awesomize allows a company to aggregate all of its existing social networking platforms into each one of the company’s pages. Plus, there is a unique rating system embedded into each page. Currently over 1,000 companies use the platform,which focuses on B2B connections and goes “beyond Iran’s bandwidth”, since it’s a global concept. Their platform provides companies with the ability to create pages for each one of its products and services. The real added value is that has figured out the algorithm to increase your business’s “searchability” on Google. For example, a business can leverage awesomize’s ‘Ask a question’ feature, which boosts a business’s search rank.

B2B connections for startups are also valued in Iran.  [Click here to continue…]

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