Egypt at an Inflection Point

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.

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500 Startups invests in Insider

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.

News link:

@Webrazzi)

Beyond Payment

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.

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iyzico raises $13m in Series C round


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

http://tech.eu (English)

https://webrazzi.com (Turkish)

2017 Predictions

2016 was a difficult year. From where I sit in Istanbul, this is what I saw: stifling emerging market growth; a plummeting Turkish Lira (20% decline); terrorist attacks in Turkey and Europe; a worsening refugee crisis; a coup attempt.

Any one of these would dissuade even the most ambitious entrepreneur in the West from launching a business. Not here. Entrepreneurs in EMEA are tough. I am in awe of the resilience the entrepreneurs demonstrated throughout the year. They did not just survive; they evolved, grew stronger and entered new markets. As you can see here: Continue reading

iyzico Closes $ 6.2 million Series B Investment Round

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.

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Decisions, decisions…

(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

Recent Developments in Competition Law Enforcement in E-Commerce

Av. Bora Ikiler is a counsel at Moroğlu Arseven 

(Turkish version can be found below)

Lately, both global and local competition law enforcement is focusing on online markets. The recent press release of the Turkish Competition Authority about opening an investigation on the activities of Yemeksepeti and the press release about the statement of objections of the European Commission against Google, signals that e-commerce markets will be on the radar screen of the competition law enforcers for a near future.

 

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Startups, investments, & role of the government

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.

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