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Jump On the Next Wave of Opportunities

Make no mistake, it’s great to hear advice on entrepreneurship from industry experts. However there’s nothing better than listening to investors themselves – at the end of the day they are the ones who invest, not entrepreneurship mentors or consultants. During Startup Turkey conference, we gathered an investor panel with leading venture capitalists from Wamda Capital, 212 Ltd., Revo Capital and 500 Startups to discuss what they see as the “next wave of opportunities in the region”.

Good Times, Good Times

Investors have indicated that dominating developments in the region will serve favorable to the venture capital investment landscape. En masse, as states in the region look for other sources of wealth than that of natural resources. This will naturally entail a realization that investing in innovation and knowledge-based economy can be great.

Together with that, we will also continue to see increasing mobile penetration, positive demographics towards tech-savvy youngsters with rapidly improving state of education. Yet again, venture capital investors are not looking for annual returns – they are happy thinking in 7-10 year horizon and things will get better for entrepreneurs in the wider region.

 Where’s the Honey At

Investors at Startup Turkey panel offered the audience to look for gaps in industries with competitive advantage. For instance, Turkish banks are really competitive and the banking industry is bearish – if you can offer a service that one bank will love, others will probably come to you themselves – just to be sure no to trail behind. The region is also very rich in SMEs, which are behind in their ICT adoption in business services. Yet another opportunity for B2B cloud services – the SMEs will want to stay competitive and ahead of others.

 What Investors Are Looking For

In spite of changing landscape for startups, investors remain old-school in their requirements for good startups: traction, stellar team, great product and monetization potential. It’s important not to underscore the importance of the management team to startup’s overall success. Market swing, customers change their minds – startups rarely know how things will turn out. In cases like these, you need a management team that can adapt to the changing circumstances and seize the opportunity wherever it lies.

Challenges and Reservations

In spite of the bright picture painted by our investor panel, many challenges are to be overcome. Investors, especially big-ticket, are still in shortage – many still are conservative and put their money into real-estate rather than invest in other sectors. There are accelerators, there are bootstrapped startups, yet absence of investors being able to commit more than $10M will remain a challenge for the ecosystem to grow and develop world-class companies.

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─ April 3, 2016