September isn’t merely the end of summer. With shorter and cooler days, it’s back to school and work. Yet, it’s not a chore. In many ways, September is like a blank slate – a new start to focus on all the things on our minds (and, hopefully, lists). We’re ready to take charge. And, boy, is there a lot to take charge of. Those headlines can make one think that there is no hope. All the more reason to dive into creation and innovation. Let’s do this.
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It’s summahhh time…. We are working, we swear. In fact, we’re exercising our brains, brushing up on all things startup, VC, AI, VR, and MENA. Here’s our August Index of things we’re focused on, prepping for September. That’s right, back to school is around the corner. And we are so going to ace class this year.
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“Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road.” Damn straight Jack Kerouac. This month our focus is on the road. Hey, it’s July. But we couldn’t get over how many interesting things are happening in the transportation space. The Slovaks are building flying cars. Germany’s Daimler is snapping up ride-hailing companies across Europe. And, yes, there is the empty seat at the top of Uber….
Transport is everything, especially in MENA. You can have the greatest tech startup in the world, but if you can’t deliver a product or service to people – or if people can’t get to you, you’re finished. On that note, we dive into July thinking about transport and all things on the road.
“There was nowhere to go but everywhere. Keep rolling under the stars…..”
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Social enterprises (SE) are spreading around the globe rapidly. A remarkable example for them in Turkey is a beautiful new-born ‘givin’ which combines growing online shopping with social impact trends. Through givin mobile app, users can sell any unused items and donate the proceedings to NGO projects that they choose, very easily.
The exit. It’s become the startup north star, even before the startup has gone from idea to operation. What is it? What does it involve? In this month’s 212 Deep Dive, we talked to a few founders to find out.
What is it?
To start, it’s important to note that “the exit” is a financial goal post. Not all entrepreneurs start companies with the idea of selling it to another or even going public. As Yemeksepeti co-founder, Melih Odemis, notes, it depends on the entrepreneur.
by Fevzi M. TOKSOY, PhD EU Law, Partner at ACTECON
The suspension of Booking.com’s services in Turkey has been seen as an attack on individuals’ online freedom and digital entrepreneurship as a whole. Such claims seem to be inaccurate because undertakings, irrespective of their legal form, location and mode of operation (digital/ ‘traditional’), are equally subject to, among others, (i) competition law; (ii) the respective regulatory framework, and (iii) rules on (un)fair competition. If an undertaking is found to be in violation of any of these, then naturally respective measures shall be taken by the state to deal with the consequences of the infringement. The case of Booking.com should be seen from this perspective. Access to the website has been restricted temporarily by the Turkish court on the grounds of unfair competition, and technically, the Information and Communication Technologies Authority (BTK) has implemented the order of the court. At the same time, these decisions are part of an increasing pattern whereby conflicts between regulated business and digital networking platforms in many different industries are playing out in the legal and regulatory arenas. Booking.com is a typical example. Others include Uber, Airbnb, and PayPal. Let’s examine the Booking.com situation.
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.
The pounding heart of tech in the region
by Karim Hussein
Egypt has been buzzing with entrepreneurial activity in recent years with ever expanding new businesses and a rich set of supporting institutions and communities. Egypt offers some unique opportunities within the region driven by a large online consumer population, a highly competitive core technology talent pool, a large untapped opportunity in financial services for an under-banked population and rapidly expanding energy demands driving the need for clean technology.
Egypt’s entrepreneurial ecosystem enjoyed some early government support in the last 10 years through several government financed technology funds and government sponsored incubation programs. Since the 2011 revolution, these have been significantly augmented by a growing ecosystem of private startup events, accelerators, incubators, angel networks, venture capital funds and community enablers. There are now over 20 accelerators/incubators, two significant angel networks in Cairo and Alexandria, several local and regional VC funds (with over $70 million in committed capital in the last couple of years), regular startup events throughout the country and an annual regional and international startup summit bringing together emerging businesses, investors, support services and most importantly eager young talent looking for exceptional opportunities.
Insider, a digital experience delivery platform for marketers, secured investment from 500 Startups to fuel its global expansion.
500 Startups is a leading global Venture Capital and Start-up Accelerator with investments in more than 1,600 start-ups in more than 60 countries.
As an innovative marketing platform at the junction of ad-tech and mar-tech, Insider provides predictive modelling and segmentation services to world’s leading brands such as Singapore Airlines, UNIQLO, New Balance, Toyota and Lenovo.
Having over 130 employees and offices in Tokyo, Singapore, London, Dubai, Moscow, Warsaw, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta and Istanbul, the Company is planning to use the funding to support its expansion into 17 countries by the end of the year.