This article is written by Clinton James, a Contributor Author at Startup Turkey.
Barbaros Ozbugutu is the CEO of Iyzico, a Turkey-based startup offering the easiest way for accepting payments online.
Hosted by Aslihan Kurul Turkmen a Search and Services Director of Endeavor Turkey, Barbaros Ozbugutu Co-founder & CEO of Itzico, talks about funding as he leads by example by how Itzico, an online payment company, in mid-January 2018 announced a $30 Million round from Europe’s Vostok Emerging Finance fund and his interesting journey.
They started the company in 2013 and 4 years later they’re serving 10,000 Merchants and around 200,000 marketplace sellers with payment services in Turkey. The team grew from 80 people to 280 and processing over 1.5 Billion Turkish Dirham in transactions.
Before going to Turkey, Barbaros was in Germany working for a payment processing company and decided to found Itzico. They went through their 1st round; an angel around, then their 1st VC round in Turkey with the 212 Company, then you went through their 2nd VC round with a joint of IFC and Endeavor Catalyst, and on to their 4th and final round with Vostok Emerging Finance. From this cycle, Barbaros claims he saw a great deal, learnt at each stage and had some surprises.
Born and raised in Germany, he started by working with First Data Corporation. Claysteel who was the international president of this was a first contact point as they came up with the ‘silly’ idea to move to Turkey and found a payment company there. He invited Barbaros to Vienna as a visitor, and pitched to him the idea with nothing but a presentation of six slides. This really motivated Claysteel and asked for another sitting in 2 weeks to pitch to invited friends. Barbaros pitched and secured 1 million dollars in funding as a commitment.
The investment is what was utilized for accessing the market, on the backgrounds and was built with the experience.
Every round gets much tougher for the race because presentations would require you to deliver, show track record, proving that you are able to hire great people, building teams and also deliver the forecast and the budget. The deals get more complicated, more lawyers are involved, money doesn’t get wired in one sitting yet chances and performance issues arise.
It is important that you do a two months pre-work before fundraising as you need to know the round would be critical.
You have to analyze the VCs by steps of; deciding what the journey is like, plan and define the right target group of VCs to approach. There were three key areas as the remnant which led them to ride: First, approach VCs who are interested in the market and region. Second, VC who knows the fintech area, payments areas and understands the dynamics. Third, having a big ambition, deal with a VC or an investor who has at least a 1 billion dollar company in their portfolio.
From these, there was need to work with a financial advisor, talking to different companies and investors via email or travelling and have the first interest to push them to the pipeline to get things done.