Over the past two decades, internet penetration rate has surged in Iran and millions of Iranians have got connected to the World Wide Web. In tandem with the increased connectivity, startups and internet-based services have sprout up around the country. An offshoot of this socioeconomic development has been Iran Web and Mobile Festival or IWMF.
Through these years, IWMF has endeavored to bring together all players in Iran’s tech and connectivity industries along with startups and knowledge-based companies. It has also paved the way for businesses, encouraged collaboration between firms, and promoted fair business standards.
The collective efforts of Iran startup ecosystem have turned the festival into a platform for communication, collaboration and understanding. Furthermore, the festival has helped younger generations seek professional opportunities, hone their soft skills and learn from business veterans.
IWMF has its roots in an online tech event which Shayan Shalileh launched in 2007. Dubbed Iran Websites Festival, the event was hosted by Iranian news website Webna (which can roughly be translated as Web Monitor). At the time the festival focused only on popular websites in Iran.
Later as smart phones become more popular in Iran, Milad Ehrampoush and Mohsen Barati launched an event named Iran Mobile Applications Festival in 2012.
Since the web and mobile worlds are deeply intertwined, in 2013, Shalileh and Ehrampoush decided to merge the two events and Iran Web and Mobile Festival was born.
Ever since, IWMF has grown into a national platform for Iran’s younger generations, a platform reflecting what Iranian startups have to offer, a platform to bring together Iran’s tech aficionados and empower them.
The festival has always been sponsored and organized by the private sector but has always boasted hosting senior officials as speakers and consultants.
While staying away from state intervention, the IWMF has evaded falling in other pitfalls like centralism. It has always worked to highlight growing talents in different provinces while helping fledgling firms gain a foothold in the national market.
Talking about IWMF’s brand identity, IWMF cofounder Shalileh says, “To me, IWMF is a down-to-the-earth, impactful, tech savvy person who is creative and marches toward his goals. He is reliable and trustworthy. He might get angry in face of injustice but instead of throwing a tantrum works towards improving the world.”
We at the IWMF have launched this blog to share our experience along with a closer look at Iran startup ecosystem with non-Persian speakers. Stay tuned.
You can read more about Iran Web and Mobile Festival here (Persian only).