Former Iraqi Refugee Forms Flip App Into Social Shopping Platform

by Lindsey Francy Jun 6, 2023 News
Former Iraqi Refugee Forms Flip App Into Social Shopping Platform

Humans are as old as civilization when it comes to shopping. Shopping is a deeply human and social behavior from the beginning. The social aspect of shopping with friends or family was taken away by e- commerce. According to Statista, e-commerce is the largest industry accounting for $4.11 trillion in 2023 and is expected to reach $6.35 trillion by the end of the decade.

A former Iraqi refugee came to the US to change the model of e- commerce and return it to being social. He is the CEO and co- founder of Flip, a social shopping app. The founder's journey is a result of my interview with Agha.

Flip social shopping network app founder and CEO Noor Agha.

The founder and CEO of the flip social shopping network is a woman.


The Los Angeles-based business is positioned as next-gen social and live commerce platform that combines a "TikTok-like" discovery experience with a premium e- commerce service.

I arrived in the US on August 19th. Three months later, I started the company. Agha came to America to start a business. It took him just three days to get a house, a car and start his company. Getting a green card was the biggest challenge for Agha. Obtaining a former Iraqi-born refugee a green card from the US State Department is very difficult.

I landed in America and filed the patent for Flip. I got my green card that way. It is very difficult to get a working visa in the US with an Iraqi passport. The investor asked me if I thought I would get a visa to the US. That was the risk according to Agha.

The first thing Agha did when he arrived in the US was to identify the patterns that would make the app work. Previously, there was no way to connect a video of someone talking on social media about a product they just bought to the person who actually purchased it. Is it a valid answer? He came up with a shopping process that was never done before.

You place an order on flip. You can't open the camera on the flip app until the product arrives at your house. You can record your reactions to this product in your app if you don't tag it. It is the first link between the product and the content. It became a social product that was connected to the logistical aspects of the product.

Customers excited to talk about their purchases create the content. It is not possible for brands to pay buyers to talk positively about the product and for brands to game the content with paidinfluencers. Integrated process is the key to flip. The user generated content, sharing and network effect of Tik-Tok can be found on flip. The content is similar to the popular videos on social media.

We are not going to be sitting in front of a website with a list of pictures and deciding what to buy in 10 years. I think people are going to buy it through other people's opinions because it is much more social and less transactional than it was before.

Building critical mass for a social shopping network is a lot of work. Agha started small and focused on the Beauty category. Just as Flip was introduced, the category was booming. There are a lot of beauty tips posted on social media. The McKinsey report states that the beauty market is on an upward trajectory due to e- commerce and social selling.

It is the most difficult thing to do. The staging of the supply chain has made it possible for us to promote Flip app downloads.

The experience was perfect before we launched into other categories. Over the next six weeks, we will open everything into Kitchen and Home supplies, Drinks, Electronics, and Food, hoping to create an explosion of brands and categories joining Flip, from 1,000 brands joining a month this May to a projected 2,000 in July. The trajectory we're moving towards is that.

The Flip app has 2 million active users in just 18 months, with some earning $5,000 per month, according to Agha.

The company has raised over 100 million dollars. The Series B round for $60 million was led by WestCap and had a valuation of over $500 million. TLV Partners and Streamlined Venture are past lead investors. Mubadala Capital is one of the additional investors.

Multiple investors are with us. I am from the Middle East. I have a Muslim investor and an Israeli one. The majority of my investors are from Israel. They gave me my start in the US. This experience is what makes me love this country.

The rise of artificial intelligence and deep fakes will make his app service more relevant, according to Agha. It is not possible to know the difference between a machine and a human. It's being hacked over and over. The focus and authenticity of the Flip app user experience is what we are driving, knowing that users can find honest and authentic feedback.

Agha was born in Iraq. Forced to travel to wherever they could find food, his family spent a lot of time in refugee camps. It was a challenge to simply survive. When his family arrived in the United Arab Republic, he was able to attend university.

It was easy for me to get into the American University of Sharjah to study software engineering. It was the only thing I could do without going to class and working that supported me. He wanted to study medicine because he thought it was the best way to escape poverty, but it was too expensive.

I decided to study engineering and not medicine because I was so angry at the admission office. I pointed at software engineering after looking up. I started software engineering because of that. I run a tech team and tell you how life works out. The reason I started software engineering was because of this guesswork and landing it on software engineering.

He was raised out of poverty by working for Baker Hughes as a field engineer after graduation. He started a digital design company, an e-commerce business, and an online fashion mall after he left Baker Hughes.

User generated content was a new technique in the Middle East that was very successful. To scale content creation, he rented a warehouse and ran ads in Craigslist inviting people to come to the warehouse and pick a product and then talk about it in a video

The idea of how to create authentic UGC content was hacked byFlip. The key is that we ran the content as an ad to send people to our website to purchase the product. Agha had the insight to fully integrate the process into one platform, which led to the creation of Flip.

Do you think about the future? It's not just to do something. It is really to go all in on the belief that we're going to change e- commerce from a lonely experience of going through websites and adding to cart and checking out completely by yourself into a truly social activity.