TEHRAN, May 16 (Xinhua) — MTN-Irancell and University of Tehran have signed an agreement to work towards the establishment of a venture capital fund and a startup accelerator, Financial Tribune daily reported on Wednesday.
The document targets the launch and development of an innovation center, alongside providing fledgling knowledge-based firms and startups with financial support.
“Venture capital funds are necessary to the country,” as the funds are part of the solution to promoting sustainable finance arrangements in Iran, Iranian Vice President for Science and Technology, Sorena Sattari, said at signing ceremony.
“Irancell is set to build and equip the center, and to provide the necessary infrastructures to render it operational,” said MTN-Irancell’s CEO Mehdi Qalambor Dezfuli.
On Irancell’s future plans, Dezfuli stated that “reaping the benefits of firms, alongside the knowledge and goods produced in the innovation center, financial support of companies and startup teams and forming joint ventures to establish venture capital funds are among our goals.”
Mehdi Faqihi, secretary of Information Technology, Communications and Cyberspace Development Council, also highlighted the need for expanding and upgrading the ICT infrastructure to create innovative and technology-based jobs for university graduates.
The agreement takes advantage of Irancell and the university’s capacities in “identifying, selecting, developing and supporting” startups and knowledge-based firms that own comprehensive plans or products of high development potential, Faqihi said.
He also expressed the council’s readiness to help expedite the certificate-issuance process.
According to the daily, MTN-Irancell, the largest mobile internet service provider in Iran, has previously signed agreements with Iran’s Khuzestan Province Governorate, Mashhad Municipality and knowledge-based firms and centers to support startups.
The University of Tehran has also allocated a 3,000-meter site at the College of Engineering to the development of an innovation center and will participate in its management.
Furthermore, the university will facilitate the activities of both the center and the venture capital fund, with the aim of speeding up the scientific and technological growth of startups.