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Turkey needs more innovative startups!

Etohum “Startup Turkey” camp that has been organized since 2008 opened its doors today at Antalya Rixos Downtown Hotel with over 600 participants and discussed the entrepreneurship market in Turkey from the perspective of investors.

The Etohum “Startup Turkey” camp that will be held during February 15-17 at Antalya Rixos Downtown Hotel commenced with presentations about the “Individual Participation Capital Regulation” that went into effect yesterday and continued with discussions on investment and entrepreneurship ecosystem in Turkey. Investors who spoke during the panel on the positive and negative aspects of Turkey are complaining that there aren’t enough creative startups in the internet sector.

“Lack of creativity”

The moderator of the panel was Özgür Altan from the European Investment Fund (EIF) and many leading investors from EBRD, iLab Ventures, General Catalyst, Inventram and Intel Capital participated as speakers. The panel entitled “Turkey’s Internet Market from the Perspective of Investors” emphasized that Turkey has a huge potential, that its infrastructure has been strengthened but that the number of creative startups is lacking.

“A website that has worldwide effects should come out of Turkey”

Niko Bonatsos from Greece who participated in Startup Turkey as the representative of General Catalyst started his talk by saying, “Actually you are 10 years ahead of us in the internet sector”. Bonatsos stated that the Turkish people are similar to the USA and Brazil public regarding internet usage, that they spend a lot of time surfing the internet, create lots of content and consume as much. He said that the almost 34 million internet users of Turkey should be a driving force for the launch of a website in Turkey with global effects. Bonatsos stated that, “Turkey should now create a global website just like Finland and Switzerland and that website should be mentioned together with Turkey.”.

“Turkey is headed in the right direction”

Barış Aksoy, Director of Turkey for Intel Capital which opened its Turkey office in 2012 and gave good news regarding a new announcement next week stated that there are great opportunities for entrepreneurs with a good idea in Turkey. Aksoy emphasized the need to make investments in different sectors such as automotive, healthy, energy, education technologies and stated that they decided to open an office in Turkey after seeing the investment potential here: “There’s passion in Turkey and a strong young population that is willing to pursue these opportunities. Hence, the potential is great. But this ecosystem needs mentors and relevant laws since it does not have measurable structures … It was difficult to carry private capital from traditional medium to this sector, indeed it will take some more time for the system to fully function well but I believe that we are always headed in the right direction..”

From legal loopholes to failures that bring success

Rupesh Chatwani spoke on behalf of EBRD, one of the largest investment companies in Europe and stated that they want to take part in the internet market of Turkey while emphasizing that Turkey needs more success stories, innovative startups and billion dollar investments and he said, “We need more failures and more successes. Ali Cem Soysal, angel investor and general manager of Inventram making investments in automotive technologies and biotechnology stated that infrastructure in Turkey is complete after the tax exemption for investors and that the only missing part is creativity while iLab Ventures Director Yüksel Dibekoğlu stated that there is a huge interest from entrepreneurs and that over 200 companies are currently in the evaluation phase for investment but added that there are still loopholes in the legal system.

Qualcomm Ventures General Manager Miles Kirby

Qualcomm Ventures which is the investment branch of Qualcomm, world’s largest smart phone processor manufacturer participated in Startup Turkey with a talk by Miles Kirby. In his talk outlining the risk capital with its pros and cons Kirby suggested entrepreneurs to take the right steps in choosing which investor to get support from.

Whereas Intel Capital Turkey Director Barış Aksoy told that Intel Capital completed 28 company acquisitions in  2012 and made a total of 150 investments in North America 62 of which are related to entrepreneurs from abroad. Aksoy emphasized that stocks of 7 companies are traded at the exchange and that 57 percent of the total 352 million dollar investment is made on countries outside of North America.

“Startup Turkey” camps that have been organized for five years not has selected 150 early stage ventures and established support for them, organized 200 meetings for the participation of entrepreneurs. Etohum continues its work with over 300 mentors and 40 angel investors to ensure the worldwide success of entrepreneurs both in Turkey and abroad.

You can visit http://startupturkey.com/ to get more information on Etohum “Startup Turkey” Entrepreneurship Camp.

Umut Ersoy

Marjinal Porter Novelli

─ February 15, 2013