What does it mean to make it in the north? This is part of a series of portraits of local people, organisations, and companies working to further Internationalise Groningen, Friesland, and Drenthe. This time we spoke to Jafar Lotfi, the creator of Kabbex, an AI-assisted shopping recommendation app.
By Hans de Preter
Just take a selfie and wait for the system to give you shopping advice that suits your mood. That, in essence, is the idea behind an interesting and promising website and app, called Kabbex. The system is unique and, what’s more, is being developed in Emmen (Drenthe)!
Jafar Lotfi is the brains behind the operation. He moved to the Netherlands in August 2019, having secured a start-up visa to develop his idea.
“I applied for a start-up visa, because it was not possible to build and run our platform in Iran because of the sanctions, and the Dutch government saw the potential of our platform. We work with ‘Zero to One’ in Emmen, and it’s a great place to meet people and get ideas”, he said.
Kabbex uses deep-learning technology and Artificial Intelligence. If a user takes a selfie, the system then interprets their mood (and other characteristics of the picture), and then, in return, gives advice of products they might like to buy. Lotfi is working on his system with a team of nine people, and also works with a Dutch partner, Hans Smeets. Smeets has brought further technical knowledge to the operation, and is now also a co-founder. Six friends of Lotfi, who live all over the world, are working on the system too.
“I have lived here in the North of The Netherlands for half a year now, and I feel very comfortable here. I’ve not yet had much time to explore around because as a start-up it feels like you are working 24 hours a day! But, both I and my family love the North. Especially from a family perspective, the North really beats big cities, it is a nice region to raise your kids, and I prefer it to somewhere like Amsterdam’, said Lotfi.
‘It is difficult to tell how Kabbex will develop. But we are working so hard to make the company grow, increase revenues and get people to like the platform, and then we can expand. Our motto is: “Take a selfie and get the best recommendations that fit your mood”. That’s what we promise. Sometimes you don’t know what you exactly need. So then take a selfie, and let us do the rest!
‘Many people like to shop, even when they don’t really need something specific. They shop just to repair their mood or to reward themselves. This platform helps them with product-advice and more importantly it learns what they like or do not like. So we hope to make all our users a bit happier!’, says Lotfi.
Kabbex is based in Emmen, Drenthe, and can be downloaded as an app on both the Apple and Google Play stores. For more information, head to their website. For more information about becoming an entrepreneur in the Netherlands, head to www.makeitinthenorth.nl