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3 Steps to Building a Successful Marketplace in a Fast-Changing Market

Online marketplaces are undoubtedly one of the most popular categories for emerging startups and together with on-demand are becoming ubiquitous. At Startup Turkey, Ahmet Kayhan shared his experience on building a successful data-driven online marketplace in a dynamic market. Ahmet is the founder and chief executive of Zingat, end-to-end big-data and marketing platform for real-estate market. In his talk, Ahmet shared his experience on building Zingat, which can be valuable for startups operating in other markets.

1. Know Your Market – Segment – Audience

Ahmet has founded Zignat out of the realisation of the great potential that real-estate market bears in emerging economies and absence of an end-point solution providing data to real-estate market participants. Indeed, Turkish real-estate market is humongous: 2.3 million registered properties with $378 billion in real-estate market value (the actual numbers might be twice as big, given that big part of the market is operating in the shadows). Residential sales registrations have topped $105 billion, with real estate having the biggest ROI of all asset classes in the last 15 years. In this way Turkey resembles other emerging economies, but also in demographics: given that 49% of Turkish population is under the age of 30, they have never experienced buying a property and right now there are 14 million potential buyers in the real estate market. By carefully looking at the market, Zignat realized that there is a great need to serve a product that would hedge people against real estate market – by providing valuable and actionable data-driven intelligence about the real-estate market. Ahmet also has done so by aiming at a large market, choosing a segment with demand for their services and targeting an audience, most likely to become their customers.

2. Work-Out Your Supply Side

The supply-side importance of the marketplace can’t be understated. In Zinget’s case, Ahmet realised that he couldn’t provide valuable and actionable insight into the real-estate market without necessary data from a variety of sources. Thus, Zingat started partnering up with government ministries, municipality registries, real estate companies, research groups and real-estate investors to build up a network of 2,000 data partners. Such a network could be leveraged to aggregate all the necessary data and by building up data analytics capacities, Zingat has been able to transform real-estate markets in frontier economies from scattered data points to a system with aggregated and full-mode data solution. Here’s the lesson for entrepreneurs – recognize your main asset and work with market stakeholders to provide a win-win scenario for you and for them.

3. Monetise Your Data

Many startups today are data-centric, yet only a handful of those have learnt to monetise their data. For Zingat, having just the analytics side of the business wasn’t enough – they wanted their complete data solution to generate revenue. That’s why they decided to build up automation capacities for Zingat to turn real-estate market data into informative articles, charts and infographics. Hence, they were able to build up their content marketing business side and capitalise on their main assets in many ways. They key to entrepreneurial personality is making most efficient use of resources at your disposal – don’t let that valuable data go to waste.

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─ March 30, 2016