Reflections of a Turkish VC, seven years on
In my last post, I reflected on trust and the pioneers of the Turkish startup ecosystem. Here are a few more “lessons” I’ve taken away in my seven years as a Turkish VC.
Resilience. When the unexpected is the norm, resilience becomes second nature. Silicon Valley may brag about innovation and failure, but Turks and those of us in the MENA region own resilience and the “pivot.”
Seven years ago, I boarded a plane at JFK bound for Istanbul. In 2010, in the wake of the global financial crisis, moving to Turkey didn’t seem like the wisest decision. Emerging markets, most pundits predicted, would shrink.
Imagine, then, trying to start a venture capital fund. I left many people wincing. “Numan will be back,” a few friends in New York said.
Seven years on, we’re going strong. A few weeks ago, I paused to trace that journey. I re-read some of the things that I’ve shared on this blog. Here are a few points that leapt out at me; points that made all the difference on that journey.
Innovation has been, without question, one factor behind the excitement about entrepreneurship worldwide. From the microchip to the iPhone, the personal computer to virtual reality, new technologies have pushed progressed forward – and transformed our lives.
Among the biggest transformation: social mobility. Millions across the globe have moved out of poverty into the middle class. That is certainly true in Turkey and its surrounding region.
The biggest impact of the middle class? Spending.
The middle class has fueled growth in consumer products, in services, on the Internet – and, most importantly, in payments.
How people pay for goods and services has created the hottest startup opportunities.
We are pleased to announce iyzico raised USD13 million in a round led by Vostok Emerging Finance with participation from 212 Capital Partners and International Finance Corporation.
Vostok Emerging Finance is a part of Vostok New Ventures with more than USD600 million of Net Asset Value and investments including BlaBlaCar, Gett and Delivery Hero.
For press release and news links:
Full Press Release
In emerging markets, it’s not easy to access the right information.
The steps entrepreneurs must take to register a business, apply for a license, and raise capital are still under development. Many countries still lack laws and policies regarding startups. This is especially true when it comes to venture capital. In many countries, such as Turkey, it is difficult to draw up a term sheet in the same way you would in the United States.
AUSTIN, Texas, May 28, 2015 – HomeAway, Inc. (NASDAQ:AWAY), the world leader in vacation rentals, today announces its $2 million minority investment in Flat4Day, also known in Turkey as Hemenkiralik, the country’s largest vacation rental website. HomeAway led the round of fundraising with participation by Istanbul-based venture capital fund 212 Ltd.
iyzico Closes $ 6.2 million Series B Investment Round with the IFC, 212, Endeavor Catalyst and Speedinvest
Istanbul, Turkey – May 25 – iyzico, a Turkey based payment solutions company, closed a $6.2 million Series B investment round with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank’s investing arm, Istanbul based venture capital firm 212, New York based investor Endeavor Catalyst, and Speedinvest from Austria. The IFC led the investment round.
(Turkish version can be found below)
Like everyone else, my life is filled with decisions to be made. Some decisions can be simple as to what eat for lunch. Others can be quite complicated, such as moving to an other country (I’ve done it three times), changing jobs (five times), starting a new business (four times). Continue reading
Following decades of living in between Tokyo and New York and working at investment banks, I decided to move to Istanbul in 2010 to cultivate entrepreneurship and venture investments. The city, Turkey’s financial center, had started to emerge as a hub for tech startups, particularly in the e-commerce sector. Yet, there were no institutional investors – there was no Turkish venture capital.
Not long after I had landed in Istanbul did Kleiner Perkins, one of Silicon Valley’s top venture capital firms, invest along with Tiger Global a combined $26 million in Trendyol, a Turkish version of Gilt Group. In a separate deal, eBay purchased local company GittiGidiyor.com for over $200 million. Indeed, the ease with which my partners and I set up our firm, 212, and raised our first fund of $30 million confirmed my supposition that investing in Turkey had promise.
Solvoyo Cited Among the Best SaaS Cloud Service Companies in Europe by the Euro Cloud Congress
Oct 1, 2014: The Euro Cloud Congress, the premier gathering of the European cloud industry recognized Solvoyo as one of the best SaaS (software-as-a-service) services in the market.
According to Bernd Becker, President of Euro Cloud, “it is without question that Europe is very much dependent on the creativity of start-up companies such as Solvoyo who are bringing innovative future shaping cloud services to the European and international market.”
Taking the award on behalf of Solvoyo, Nilufer Durak, COO, commented “we are proud to be recognized as a company not just because we bring cool technology through the cloud but also because we create significant value for our customers. Euro Cloud plays an important role in showcasing companies like us throughout Europe.”
Solvoyo is an international enterprise software company based in Boston, MA, and Istanbul, Turkey. Solvoyo provide strategic, tactical, and operational supply chain planning in one platform giving companies the most comprehensive tool to maximize profits while minimizing costs.
Solvoyo is unique in being able to plan inventory, orders, and transportation concurrently. By optimizing across companies’ entire network, as opposed to individual silos, Solvoyo helps get business results and benefits that are multiples of traditional solutions.
About the Euro Cloud Congress and the Euro Cloud Award
The Euro Cloud Congress is an umbrella organization bringing together the leaders of the European cloud industry every year to further the cause of cloud adoption in 21 member countries. The Euro Cloud Awards recognizes the best European cloud service providers – winners of the national Euro Cloud awards in their respective countries.