My Startup Weekend Journey through Iran

11/04/2013 | By Iman

This post originally appeared on

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In September 2012 I was notified of the first ever Startup Weekend being organized in Tehran, Iran. After reading a few lines about the event, I was sufficiently persuaded to sign up. Unfortunately, all the tickets were sold out! And I thought that this event was organized only once a year and I have to wait a long time before I can participate. However, after some queries, I discovered that the next event will be held only a couple of months later in November, during Global Entrepreneurship Week.

As soon as it was announced, I registered for the event and after traveling 1200 Kilometers from my college in Birjand (A small city of 150 thousand residence), I got to Tehran and the Startup Weekend venue. It was an amazing event whose facilitator was Rowan Yeoman from New Zealand. Everything was perfect, and it got better as I found my idea among the top ten ideas.


So we began our 54 hours of exciting and challenging work on our startup and started validating our idea and building an MVP with the help of some awesome mentors. In the end, although we had an awful presentation, we still expected to be selected among the top teams!

This never happened, but regardless of the outcome I was extremely happy since I spent my whole with some energetic teammates.


A lot of my friends and classmates, who followed the event online and gave me a lot of encouragement, were eagerly awaiting the details when I got back to college. They wanted to experience Startup Weekend themselves but the long distance and the cost of traveling to the capital gave them pause. Eventually we decided to organize a lite version of Startup Weekend in our college and as a prize send the winners to the next SW Tehran.

After discussing this with SW Tehran organizers they encouraged me and a few friends to come and help organize the next event in Tehran. And it was after being part of the organizing team for SW Tehran that I thought why organize a lite version of Startup Weekend in Birjand? Why not organize the actual thing!

So with the final exams approaching and with the help and guidance of our friends in Tehran, we decided to fill out an application and start preparing for the first Startup Weekend Birjand!

And it was not easy! To be honest considering Birjand’s population, our expectations weren’t high. But everybody helped out. The university hosted the event; the mayor’s office sponsored the food and refreshments. We had mentors volunteer and fly in from Tehran and nearby cities and we had 40 energetic, creative participants.

BUT there is more

After three exhausting days it was over. Miller Lab (software that simulates anesthesiology conditions for new technicians in hospitals) won first place. And we the organizing team felt victorious! It was without exaggeration the best night of my life.

Now, fast forward 6 months, Startup Weekend has spread to 10 different cities in Iran and I am proudly facilitating SW Ahvaz (a city in southwest Iran). It’s great to be part of  the national and global startup community and I owe all these great experiences to Startup Weekend.

Thank you startup weekend!