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Where would you start if you were asked to count to a million?

Etohum started in August and its application period ended in December and in January we shortlisted 40 venture ideas from amongst 1,000 venture ideas by 2,200 entrepreneurs. We met with these entrepreneurs on Saturday, 8th of January for a one day training about 5 minute presentations and the expectations of the investors. On 15 – 16 January, the 40 ventures attended a 5 minute presentation and 5 minute question-answer session.

Etohum fund contributors and the team that would evaluate the 40 etohum projects consisted of 18 people. Gittigidiyor.com founders Burak Divanlıoğlu, Serkan Borançılı, Yemeksepeti.com founders Nevzat Aydın and Melih Ödemiş, Mynet.com founder Emre Kurttepeli, Nokta.com founders Tümay Asena and Burçin Didinedin, Mackolik.com founders Erdem Yurdanur and Tarkan Onar, Uzmantv founder Ersan Özer, Markafoni.com founder Sina Afra, Reklamz founder Orkun Tekin, Yonja.com founder Kerim Baran, Cimri.com founder Aydonat Atasever, Kerim Türe one of Youth Republic founders, Dr. Haluk Elçi one of Inventram advisors, Ari Keşişoğlu who continues his career in internet abroad and etohum.com founder Burak Büyükdemir. Eleven people attended to listen to the presentations. Those that cannot attend have the chance to watch the videos later. The evaluations were made on January 15 -16 Saturday – Sunday for two full days from 09:00 – 17:00.
Evaluations were made in the view of 3 main criteria. Entrepreneur, venture and investment.

Entrepreneur / team; Preparation, Entrepreneurship, Personality, Experience, Ability/Talent, Business Judgment, Team Harmony, Team Sufficiency were evaluated out of 100.

Venture; evaluation was made out of 100 for the variables of Market, Marketing Strategy, Competitive Advantage, Revenue Model, Scalability, Operation, Risk/Insufficiency Resolution.

Investment factor; was evaluated out of 100 for Investment Necessity/Need, Etohum Added Value, Investment Eligibility, Financials, Investment Offer, Investment Decision.

For all these points the effects of entrepreneur / team, venture and investment were evaluated as 40 %, 35 % and 25 % respectively and after the weighted averages were obtained the etohum 15 were selected following a 2-3 hour evaluation meeting.

As can be seen from the above function, key points are how the entrepreneur will carry out or has carried out this venture. At Etohum we are looking for new entrepreneurs and ventures. These may be e-commerce sites as well as software that are novel technologically. The common ground is entrepreneurship. I think that especially this point should be stressed out. In our country innovation, invention, creativity or distinctness is mixed with entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship may be very successful if it can combine all these properties however this is not necessary. The grocery store in your neighborhood is an entrepreneur; the programmer who codes a search engine may also be an entrepreneur. Thus, the properties that we look for are ventures and entrepreneurs that may be successful commercially. All investors look for this. Hence it should not surprise anyone that entrepreneurs with a clear business model who show that they either can do or have done this job successfully are selected. Some of these may be e-commerce sites as in previous years.

Yes, all of us want ventures similar to those from developed countries to emerge from our country. I think that no one has any doubts about this. We have to accomplish this step by step. I think that it is not possible to catch up with a system that was founded 50 years ago in just 4-5 years and I also think that we should not upset ourselves by making wrong comparison. We should continue working without making excuses, despairing, blaming others and becoming desperate and aggrieved. It is a must for us to establish not individual successful ventures but a successful investment culture. That is why we should leave our nests and support the entrepreneurship system. I believe that everyone has a part to play. We should keep our energies high and be positive. When we setup a proper ecosystem, a culture that will enlarge itself will automatically emerge. That is why we will start counting from 1.

─ March 22, 2011