There are many ways to connect with Techfugees Chapters. Learn more about how Roham connected with Techfugees in Germany to support his own #tech4refugees project !
Who is Roham ?
Roham is a Berlin based entrepreneur with a training in graphic and fashion design and experience in project and event management in arts. Originally from Tehran in Iran, he landed in Germany in 2013, where he obtained refugee status and started learning the language. Passionated by new technologies, Roham had the desire to create something that would benefit refugees and displaced people. And BankeNu was born!
BankeNu: when technology enables the financing of freelancers and displaced people’s projects around the world
Roham and his team initiated a marketing agency in 2018 which aimed to be a bridge between European projects and Iranian freelancers. As Roham explained « The idea was to pay freelancers everywhere with European standards and maybe give them a financially better future ». Unfortunately, the decision made by the United States to leave the agreement with Iran blocked all possibility to transfer money on bank accounts or other services available on the market. Roham and his colleagues had to pivot & innovate to find a new solution that would still enable them to deliver money to their freelancers. In their research to do that, they also discovered that this issue was not only faced by Iranians, but by many displaced people as well. Thus, for Roham « This was the point where we came to the idea of solving this problem for freelancers and business owners but also for Displaced and underbanked. »
BankeNu is a blockchain-based and crypto-currency based service. It enables people to transfer money instantly and safely from any place. It also enables people to exchange crypto money into local currency. Currently, BankeNu is working on permitting transfers from Germany to Iran as well as Lebanon. For Roham, « There are millions of displaced people and refugees who make millions of remittances yearly. Many of them are doing it via informal ways or even illegal, and we at BankeNu are going to make it transparent and secure. »
Tech’ing a step forward: connecting with Techfugees Berlin & Lebanon
Marco, the local chapter lead of Techfugees Berlin met Roham during a summit organized by Paypal, Village Capital, and Migration Hub in Berlin « Finch Solutions for Refugees ». Marco immediately found some interest in BankeNu, and thought the app could actually greatly benefit displaced people and refugees. Thus, Marco decided to help Roham meet with relevant people that could help him with his project as well as to present BankeNu to relevant people that could support the project of Roham and his team.
Thanks to Techfugees connections, Roham was able to connect with Harout from Techfugees Lebanon, which gave him some starting points to implement BankeNu in Lebanon. In addition, Roham was invited to be a judge during the TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon that took place in Berlin last December. This Hackathon was a great opportunity for Roham to learn from other people’s projects and to connect with many who work in the same field as him.
One of the biggest opportunities for Roham was to network with highly driven hackers & business savvy people. Indeed, as Roham mentions “I was for the first time at TechCrunch disrupt, and it was a fantastic experience. It wasn’t just an opportunity to network, learn, and meet great people, but I also took part as one of the judges. Listening to team pitches and also being able to give the advice was enjoyable.” He adds “In the end, I had the opportunity to go on the TechCrunch stage, talk about BankeNu and its idea in front of people who also know the importance of remittances. A short presentation of our concept on one of the most important stages in the startup world was fantastic. I also did some networking, of course. Thanks to you all for it.”
What next ?
The objective for Roham and his team is to finish out MVP and to provide an alpha test of BankeNu in Lebanon. Additionally, Roham and his colleagues have been working voluntarily on their project. They are hoping that their vision and willingness to help others such as displaced people will convince donors to support their project. « After our alpha test, we will need investment to cover our costs, as we will have to work full-time on it. This will not be possible without getting paid. We would appreciate the support coming from everyone who thinks our idea has potential and would want to invest in BankeNu. »
Click here to support BankeNu and find out more about the app and the project.