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There was nothing too remarkable about the email that Raz Wasserstein, co-founder of education technology start-up Remini, received from one of its early users.
The user said how much they liked the product, how well both students and parents were responding and offered up a suggestion for a new feature.
The only strange thing was the signature: The email came from a school in Dubai.
“We were regularly checking our users, and we started to see names like Ahmed, Fatima, Amer, and then we realized they were coming from the United Arab Emirates,” Wasserstein recalls.
Remni is a company that offers an internal social network for schools, where teachers can post updates on students for parents and relatives to see and to document a child’s experiences. Several schools in Dubai picked up the application, and eagerly corresponded with the founders.
“They really, really were among our first users,” Wasserstein said. The company even incorporated some of their ideas into their product.
But Wasserstein couldn’t help wonder: Did the users realize that Remini is from Israel, a country with no diplomatic ties to theirs and technically still under boycott from the UAE? The signature of their emails didn’t mention Israel per se, but the very Hebrew-sounding names of its founders were written prominently: Raz, Doron.
Then there was the time they accidentally sent out a survey in Hebrew. The group in Dubai didn’t seem to mind.
Still, Wasserstein worried that a confirmation of Remini’s origins might hurt the company.
“My mother is an orthodontist and she had a conference in Dubai and couldn’t go because she’s from Israel,” he said. “I don’t know if they