Eren Bali

Creating A Startup

This article is written by Clinton James, a Contributor Author at Startup Istanbul.

Udemy is a market place for online courses based in San Francisco. There are about 4 million students taking up courses using the platform and more than 15000 instructors teaching. The company has been operating for 5 years and has raised a total of 48 million dollars. Eren Bali is one of the co-founders of Udemy and its former CEO.

His career portfolio includes his time as the founding engineer and director of engineering at SpeedDate and developer at BitGravity. His first startup was a developer of 3D simulations of real estate that were under construction. His next project involved educating entrepreneurs using European mentors in a live classroom setting. Bali graduated from Middle Eastern Turkey University with a bachelor’s degree in computer science and double major degree in mathematics.

Eren confirms their pride of more-less having led the revolution on online education regionally then globally. This was affirmed while speaking at Startup Istanbul’s event. The way of starting a company is quite simple and there are four key ways to execute this.

Firstly, identify the market that you want to make a change in, could be local, regional or international. By identifying the market it becomes easier as it gives you a focus to whom you want to impact mostly and also provides a sense of direction. Choosing the wrong market leads to difficulties while trying to create a successful company.

Secondly, come up with an idea with an intent of taking over the market. For Udemy, the idea was creating a market place where anyone can teach online and you could learn anything you want. However, sometimes the idea may change and the business would have to adapt based on what they find out from their users. Depending on the client satisfaction, you might need to change your products several times before you actually get the right one for your users.

Thirdly, convert the idea to a product. A product entails a lot of aspects including the user experience. Even with the same idea, you may need to change the product severally in order to find the right mechanism that captures the user’s attention and actually makes them want to use your product. Until you have the best product, the main objective remains to create the best product from the idea by talking to customers and getting feedback. It took a while before they were able to convince the first person to purchase the product but once you’re aware that you have a product that actually works, then it is a time to graduate from having just a product into a business and that’s where they have been for the past few years.

Expounding on the above sentiments, converting the product into a company comes as the last stage as soon as you are convinced that the product works. Remember that how you get a company from nothing to a place where it is working successfully is different from how you scale up the startup.

─ June 14, 2019