As the son of a Muslim father and a Protestant mother, Nima Adelkhani grew up with an international outlook on the world.
On his first trip to the Middle East as an adult, he gained an appreciation for the entrepreneurial spirit of the people.
But back in the States, innovation has long been part of Adelkhani's life. He served as VP of Business Development for the Founder Institute, a start-up accelerator that assists entrepreneurs.
As an innovator, he instinctively took note on his trips to the Middle East of the significant challenges faced by entrepreneurs there.
First, he cites an incomplete grasp of the global market. Middle Eastern entrepreneurs, he said, are often unable to think on a broader scale and are thus “prisoners in their own world.”
Second, he discusses a lack of effective collaboration, in that many entrepreneurs are concerned that their ideas will be stolen if they are shared.
Most importantly, he addresses the fact that due to culture, religion and politics, the Middle East is in many ways disconnected from the rest of the world.
Adelkhani believes that with the right touch, these hurdles can be overcome. His company, Progress in Technology Middle East (PITME), which officially launched on August 21, will work with Middle Eastern companies to refine their product offerings and then link them up with major Silicon Valley players such as Apple and Google for partnerships or acquisitions.
PITME will first find companies they believe are established enough to sell to a Silicon Valley audience.
“We have a solid team of high level people who can quickly evaluate companies,” said Adelkhani, noting that his team members can decipher within minutes whether a company has acquisition potential.
Companies that are identified as having promise will then receive what Adelkhani calls “Incubation 2.0," involving optimizing their offerings for acquisition and partnerships with major Silicon Valley players.
This, he says, will put companies on a fast track to success.
Adelkhani sees innovation in the Middle East not just as a path to success for his company, but also as a visionary move to create economic development in the region and make it a better place.
Start-ups, he says, are also a way to inspire social change, as they are one of the few work opportunities available for women.
While many such companies offering connections charge consulting fees, Adelkhani stresses that PITME will only accept payment as part of an acquisition or partnership arrangement they help make happen.
“Our income will be based on results,” he said. “It’s a ‘win-win’ for entrepreneurs and large companies.”
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