İsrail’den girişimcilik adına ne öğrenebiliriz?

Ussal Şahbaz, Ankara merkezli bir düşünce kuruluşu olan Türkiye Ekonomi Politikaları Araştırma Vakfı’nda (TEPAV) girişimcilik çalışmalarını koordine etmektedir. 212 Blog’da konuk olan Ussal’ın yazılarını TEPAV Günlük‘te takip edebilirsiniz.

Geçen sene Ekim ayında 212 ekibiyle beraber İsrail’de DLD konferansına katıldık.  DLD (Digital Life Design) her sene Munih ve Tel-Aviv’de yapılan bir konferans. Munich’tekine gitmek kısmet olmadı ama iki DLD birbirinden çok farklı. İsrail’deki DLD, Alman ciddiyetinden çok uzak, şortla sahneye çıkan panelistler, toplantı esnasında bağıraşarak ‘networking’ yapan katılımcılar etkinliğin normal parçaları.

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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.

Raising a VC fund in Turkey

Since we decided to start a Venture Capital fund to invest in early stage companies in Turkey, we’ve been working around the clock to raise money and create a strong deal flow. My last post was about our deal pipeline and we are happy to say that we have a solid list of companies on our potential deal list getting stronger every day.

Fund raising is also moving forward albeit with some challenges due to being pioneers.  We want to make sure that we are doing things in the right way. I must say it is extremely pleasing to meet people who share the same vision with us want to join us as Limited Partners. We are just at the beginning of this long journey. Despite some negative feedbacks such as “not possible” or “won’t happen here,” we are confident and committed.  We already received some commitments from some LPs and will continue to do so, until we reach the number we would like to raise.

European Investment Fund (EIF) has a matching program to invest PE/VC funds in Europe. We already initiated our application to have them as LP to our fund. If we receive matching fund, we will be the first VC fund in Turkey to receive fund from EIF.