How some people imported money with ship!

Amiri brothers have founded zarinpal which is a portal for internet payment. Here we interview with them


Amiri brothers have founded zarinpal which is a portal for internet payment. Here we interview with them.

Ali and Mostafa Amiri started their business with 5 million Tomans and now they are thinking of 2-billion-Tomans turnover per day.


  • What are the most important competitors of zarinpal in Iran market?

Our competitors are PSPs but we are the first in our field.

  • Which companies are your most important competitors besides PSPs?

Jahan Pay, Pay Line, and Pars Pal.

  • Is your competition positive or negative?

Most of our competitors are filtered and they think that we have done this but that’s not true.

  • Is money laundry possible in e-payment?

Yes. When people purchase products from hacked cards, money laundry happens. We have monitoring system in zarinpal and in these situations call the buyer and seller and check the cards.

  • Is it possible to block the account of offender?

This is the first thing that we do.

  • Can the blocked accounts be opened again?

Yes. But only when they built trust by getting the verification of notarized signature.

  • What are the unauthorized services and products in zarinpal ?

We have strict rules for example copyright of products which are produces by a special institution such as films and series is our red line.

  • How much is your share in the market?

This market is not big. Total e-payment turnover in Iran is about 3.000 billion Tomans per month. 55% of this figure is related to bill payment. E-cammerce share in this market is about 10% and thus our share is 1 percent.

  • Do people use online purchase so often?

Many of electronic startups don’t use electronic payment for example Digikala uses POS of COD which are not online payment.

  • How many transactions are done in Iran?

It is near 60 to 70 million online transactions and startup share is about 5 percent.

  • Which startup is the biggest Iranian startup regarding turnover?

CafeBazaar is the first regarding numbers but I think Digikala and CafeBazaar are at the same level regarding turnover.

  • Where does your company stand?

Our total transactions equals with the total of three main providers which are our competitors.

  • Don’t you feel threatened?


  • If foreign companies like PayPal enter Iran, what is your reaction? Do you feel threatened?

We are designing our strategy to compete with them.

  • Do you think of competition?

Yes. Our strategy is competition. About one year later PayPal will enter Iran and it should get familiar with the market and maybe it works with us because we are local and know the market.

On the other hand, in Iran the seller doesn’t pay any money for selling its product. When PayPal faces with this issue, it would try to improve the rules and work independently. So maybe it won’t work with us.

  • Do you think that zarinpal will be successful with the presence of PayPal?

In all markets, local companies survive.

  • What will happen if zarinpal becomes closed?

PayPal will come to Iran and when zarinpal and similar companies don’t exist, there would be no competitor.

There are two perspectives in the field of startups in Iran; one is that we should welcome foreign investors and the other is that foreign investors should come to Iran but government should support Iranian startups or make some limitations for foreigners.

  • Do you agree with this or do you believe that startups should work in equal situation?

If they come to Iran and bring money, we can’t compete with them. It happened once when Rocket Internet came to Iran. Most of businesses couldn’t compete with ZoodFood and Bamilo because money was imported through non-specific ways.

  • What do you mean by saying “non-specific ways”?

They import money with ship and smuggling.

  • In which startups did Rocket Internet invested?

Bamilo, Mozanlo, BodoFood and ZoodFood, Pintapin, and Snap;

But these companies say that they have no contact with Rocket Internet.

They have.

  • Why do you say that?

Rocket Internet is in USA Stock. It announced that it have Romak office in Iran and named Bamilo and ZoodFood as the companies in which it invested.

  • You have had investors from foreign companies, but you said that it is not certain. Why?

We attracted investment for example to make standards. But currently we are looking for injecting knowledge so that we can compete with foreign competitors.

  • Do you think that Iran startups need knowledge or capital?

I think no one needs money. When we attract investment, expectations will increase.

  • What about for development of the company?

The ultimate growth of market is 10 to 15 percent per year. In fact capital doesn’t contribute to development of the market. On the other hand, there is still a big difference between Internet penetration and Internet use.

In Iran the number of people who buy online is less than the number of people who use internet for social media.

  • How long did it take to reach to your goal?

At the beginning we wanted to reach 1-million-Toman transactions per day. We achieved this within 20 days. Then we decided to reach 10-million-Toman transactions per day and within 9 months the goal was achieved.

  • What is your outlook for the future?

We are ready to have 100.000 transactions each day. If each transaction is about 22.000 Tomans, we will earn 2.2 billion Tomans per day and this is zarinpal outlook.


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