Afghan company understudies Silicon Valley firm

(David Louie/ABC7)
April 25, 2012 5:02:45 PM PDT
An ambitious entrepreneur from Afghanistan is in Silicon Valley this week to take a crash course on start-ups as part of an effort to strengthen Afghanistan's economy.

Hasen Poreya looks the part of a Silicon Valley engineer. He's only 22. He has a computer science degree. He has launched a start-up, and he has ambitious plans. But one thing sets him apart as he sits at a computer programming. Poreya is from Afghanistan.

He's spending the week at Outright.com, a 3-year-old software company in Mountain View with people who can only be described kindred spirits. Outright makes accounting software for small and medium-sized businesses. That is what Poreya's company is doing, too.

"Most of businesses, they are using paper and books for recording their daily transactions, they do not know how to use technology in their business," Poreya said.

Poreya has a computer science degree from Herat University, and he has 10 employees and four contractors. He's adding 11 more contractors later this year. But he recognizes that while he has technical skills, he's not trained in business. He is busy absorbing marketing and sales from Outright.

His company already has 10 employees and four contractors. A key goal is to create jobs for Afghan women and take away business from accounting programs imported from Iran.

"He's running his business while he's here, so he's actually coming to me with real problems that he's having with his team right now, and I was sitting down and actually hashing through how we would solve all those problems here, how we organize the team to get things done," Outright CTO and co-founder Ben Curren said.

The visit is part of a two-week program sponsored by the U.S. State Department and the nonprofit Business Council for Peace in New York. The latter group is trying to create more jobs for women in Afghanistan.


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