212 is Ready to Make Investments!

We have been very busy in the last couple of months. While we maintained the deal pipe-line and continued to meet with new startups, we were also occupied with putting the right structure in place for our managed funds.

I’m thrilled to share we are ready to make investments through our managed funds. Our focus area will be companies in the Turkish ICT sector. Entire segment, especially e-commerce is at a very exciting turning point. I’m not going to repeat the statistics as they have been mentioned by Sina Afra and Venture Beat before. As an investor, we are seeing an increase in quality deals with smarter entrepreneurs to confirm our faith in the market.

It only gets better from here.

At the same time, on the investors’ side, we see an increase in both quality and quantity. Just two years ago, there were only a few angel investors and only one fund targeting this market. Today, however, we have regular visitors from Europe and the USA looking to invest. It is even more competitive for angel investors. Now everyone wants to be an angel investor. Market for both entrepreneurs and investors is changing and growing very fast. As result, we are entering a chaotic environment.

I believe, it will take some time for people to realize the difference between “enthusiast vs entrepreneur” and “money vs smart money”. Until then, we will have a bumpy ride with some horror stories – natural for growing markets.

We’re very excited to be a part of this change and to be able to contribute to the growth of the ecosystem in Turkey. Very soon we will be announcing our first round of investments. Stay tuned!

 

Moving forward… ( slowly! )

I realized that it has been nearly six months since my last post. Each time I think of posting an update on our progress and the market in Turkey, I end up deciding to wait until we close on the deal and unfortunately closing date keeps getting postponed.

On the fund raising front, we continue to meet with new potential LPs and at the same time, update interested LPs regularly on market news and deal flow. The good news is, we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, and we are sure it is not a train! 🙂

There have been more than 10 new investments within the last six months and at least 5 new investments are currently in due-dillegence phase. Most of the investments have been announced atWebrazzi. However I’d like to make a special mention of eBay’s recent acquisition. eBay purchased 93% of GittiGidiyor.com – “a Turkish auction site founded by Burak Divanlioglu and Serkan Borancili at $215million valuation (Valuation is based on Webrazzi news).  It is important to note that eBay already had 20% ownership of GittiGidiyor.  We are thrilled to see the first major exit in Turkey.Congratulations to everyone who is involved in the deal, especially to Burak and Serkan!

I would also like to share my observation on how entrepreneurs are evolving in Turkey. I moved to Istanbul about 15months ago and e-tohum Top-15 meeting in 2010 was the first event I attended here. This year, I attended the same event again and I was amazed with the difference. Last year, average level of knowledge on funding, process, structure, strategy, etc was basic at best.  This year, most attendees had in-depth knowledge, and more importantly, were ready to execute! Yes, knowledge alone is not enough to make a start-up successful.  Nevertheless, combined with the right team and right execution, it will drastically increase the chances of success for a start-up.  Mistakes in execution are likely to be made, but they can serve as lessons along the way.  Starting out with the wrong team, on the other hand, is a recipe for absolute failure.