Syrian Startup Shiffer Wins At Amsterdam Ignite

Civil engineer Azhar Al Madani co-founded Shiffer in March 2018 after facing issues obtaining his daughter’s birth certificate from Syria.

The Erbil-based startup is a logistics platform that connects people wanting to ship items and documents with travelers. In return, travelers get paid to deliver documents to their destination. The process is reliable and considerably cheaper than using mainstream competitors. Specifically, the startup caters to displaced Syrians who struggle to send and receive important documents to and from Syria.

On November 2018, Shiffer competed against four other finalists at the Amsterdam Ignite Conference. The team won first place with a cash prize of $8000. The event marked the end of the Startup Roadshow, organised by Jusoor and Spark. The roadshow is a competition for Syrian startups across Iraq, Jordan, Turkey, and Lebanon. Participants are trained in entrepreneurship and pitch to be shortlisted. Ultimately, two startups are chosen from each country to pitch at the Ignite Conference.

Man on stage with hands held high in happiness
Shiffer team winning first place at the Startup Roadshow in Amsterdam. Picture from Mohamed Alshaer ©Startups Without Borders.

The Shiffer team spans across Turkey, Cyprus, and Iraq and are currently working hard to promote the platform and obtain more customers. Follow them on Facebook for more updates.

Check out their startup timeline below to see how Shiffer grew from an idea to a product:

inforgraphic of shiffer journey as a startup


Zahra Shah

I've been working in startups and emerging markets for over 7 years, with a focus on growing tech ecosystems in conflict-affected areas. Having spent the last two years leading Re:Coded's operations in Iraq, and working with Gaza Sky Geeks before that, I want to utilise my experience to bring business and investment to the region. I truly believe that Iraq can provide valuable opportunities for businesses looking to launch or expand here, and i'm interested in supporting others who want to venture out to a country that people are traditionally skeptical to pursue. A big part of this is to change the current perceptions of Iraq through quality content by highlighting some of the everyday success stories that are overshadowed by other news.

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