Two of the most common methods to help a startup grow are Incubators and Accelerators. There are many active startup communities around the world thus in these communities many accelerators and incubators emerged to support startups by providing working space, education, internet access, some investment and strategic partnership.
There is no precise data on the number of Incubators and Accelerators though there are more than 2500 of Incubators and Accelerators listed on www.f6s.com.
Apparently in the world startup accelerators (which there are only one or two in Iran) are more successful than incubators (which there are lots of them in Iran).
But in the past few years a 3rd method emerged which is cloning a successful n different corners of the world. The idea is that instead of building incubators or accelerator to help entrepreneurs start new ventures and go into the world of unknown, form few teams of talented people and ask them to implement a previously successful business model in a new city to a new market. This way one can create a company not in months or years, but in few weeks.
One of the most famous examples of such company builder companies in the world is Rocket-Internet. This German e-commerce giant which controls more than 75 subsidiary company with more than 2500 employees in 50 different countries, has annual income of 4$ Billion. If you go the its website you can see that they call themselves: “THE WORLD’S LARGEST INTERNET INCUBATOR” but do not mind this, it is a company-builder factory.
Those who criticize this approach call Rocket-Internet a Clone Factory but the co-founder of Rocket, Oliver Samwer think of his company as a construction company. He says: “ A bridge is a bridge wherever you are.” And he believes customers are everywhere. So if a business idea worked in one corner of the world, it is going to work in another corner.
In the past years the subsidiary companies of Rocket in absence of American companies had the privilege to expand and grow fast in the Europe and developing counties. But now it seems like this company feel a great amount of thread from American growing startups that are going global.
Rocket-Internet came to Iran:
MTN Group and Rocket Internet announced that they have formed a new joint venture to invest in startups in the Middle East, with a focus on e-commerce. The two companies will each hold a 50% stake in Middle East Internet Holding (MEIH).
MEIH has come to Iran and started its operations based on the Rocket-internet model.
MTN Group owns 49% of Irancell the second largest mobile phone network operator of Iran. With the leverage that MTN have in Iran, Rocket Internet has a great opportunity in Iran.
As the infrastructures of Information Technology is growing in the region and with the dramatic increase of smart phones and growth of consumerism, the Middle East is one of the best markets for such companies. It is doubly important for Rocket-internet because its previous markets such as the Europe and Asia are losing interest due to huge amount of competition.
Rocket investment in Iran and the Middle East contains EasyTaxi (mobile app), Lamudi (real state website), Namshi (internet retailer), and food delivery site (Hellofood). So if you are in Iran, you can expect to see Persian versions of this apps and websites in few weeks.