Rocket Internet’s Iranian venture appeared to have foundered, since, “for all the expertise the company could muster, including that of Iranian-German managers, Turkish-German experts and joint German-Arab Internet professionals, the company simply could not adapt to the local culture.” (Financial Tribune, “No Takeoff for Rocket Internet,” 1/4/2016).
Rocket Internet was “making tons of hires because Iran is very rich in talent. They create competition for the companies … you don’t grow without competition, so it helps a lot of the startups that are working on the same things to grow faster.” (Geek Time, “The Persian dream: An in-depth look at the Iranian startup scene,” 5/26/2015).
Eyad Alkassar, manager of Rocket Internet’s Middle East’s investments, had characterized Iranian business as “definitely more difficult than any other country.” (Washington Post, “Here’s what it’s like to launch a start-up in Iran,” 11/10/2014).
Rocket Internet entered the Iranian market through its joint venture with MTN Group, “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).” (Khoshfekri, “How does Rocket-Internet the company-builder factory works? (...and why it comes to Iran?),” 5/13/2014).