Category Archives: Turkey

Super-high-tech Turkish startups

Despite the coup attempt in Turkey, investments in technology enterprises did not pause. The most popular business areas were: financial technology, real estate, software services and marketplace applications. When compared with European countries, it is visible that Turkey heads South Eastern Europe countries. Yet, when we consider leading European countries such as Britain, Germany and France, the volume of investment is very low. As you will see below, the Turkish ecosystem has a lot of promising key players and excellent examples of notable start-ups:

NanoDev is an initiative for design and production of high-end automated opto-electronic instruments which are equipped with high-tech know-how. The startup develops software as well as hardware parts in-house. It has achieved a product portfolio consisting of: a multi-functional SPR Imager System, a compact Handheld SPR Reader, a Fluorescence Optical Microscope and a Desktop Photolithography Instrument. Current analysis are concentrated on design and production of a Laser Scanning Confocal Attachment and a Visible Spectroscopic Ellipsometer.

Quantag produces fiber optic based fluorescence sensors which are able to perceive very low concentrations of quantum dots. Sensitive perception of quantum dots is needed in many different applications varying from security to biotechnology. At present the startup is concentrated on digital tagging of fluids with quantum dots and real-time perception of these tags with ultra-sensitive sensors.

Hemodyn assures a virtual surgery platform and CFD analysis reports based on the modified cardiovascular geometry. The company has been developed by a researcher from Koç University, who got a donation from the European Research Council for developing the fundamental studies which eventually resulted in founding of Hemodyn.

Greencoat produces green areas indoor and outdoor without soil with minimum means such as water and maintenance for low money. This way the startup provides biodiversity, reduces air pollution, fights global warming.

Ingenious – this startup is a winner of Intel Challenge Turkey 2013. It provides a plug and play smart home system that ameliorates people’s quality of life by ensuring them an enhanced user experience and also optimizing the energy consumption.

Enigma – the company developed a crucial optical technology empowering the best medium of health vital analysis. People’s blood can be researched easily and cost effectively thanks to this a non-invasive method. A light based sensor inside the ear canal determines minute changes in glucose, cholesterol and many other vitals in the near future, helping people keep interested in their health.

Maxwell Innovations is executing high-performance VTOL (vertical take-off & landing) specialized in the industrial applications under fastidious circumstances. The experienced team provides industrial control services with their remote-controlled air vehicle and payload systems.

Sensobright – develops high sensitive palpable sensing for robot technologies that can serve as human like tactile sensing talented artificial skin for robotics and devices. It is developed with parts that are common, easy to provide and suitable for production of common use in areas such as: robots and robot technology employed in production, medical applications, operation, chemical, logistics, distribution, mine clearance, bomb destruction, hazardous waste.

Events that will support startups in Middle East

Increasing access to the latest technologies in countries where the largest social group are young citizens, lets us hope that technological revolution in the MENA region will come. In countries where the main problem is unemployment, the best alternative for many young entrepreneurs is to develop their own startup. A significant proportion of women in technology industry in the Arab world shows that, in the future, it can have a positive impact also on increasing their professional activity.

Development of the industry and encouraging innovation in emerging markets is an opportunity not only for the local community. The potential of the IT sector in developing countries is increasingly perceived in the West. Interest in the Middle East and achievements of local startups increases due to significant success of projects undertaken in this region.

Nowadays, five years after the Arab Spring, the economy in the region is slowly stabilizing, and entrepreneurs who want to develop their own startup have more opportunities for business growth and success. There are numerous programs such as accelerative Oasis500 in Jordan or MIT Enterprise Forum Pan Arab, which currently runs recruitment for the ninth edition of the program in the MENA region.

In the Middle East they are also organized numerous international events, which aim to promote local projects outside the region, as well as integration of the market with Western entrepreneurs and investors. During such events it is possible to exchange experiences and knowledge, and to become familiar with achievements of local startups in the Middle East region, which has the potential to play an increasingly important role in the global market. In the last year, conferences in the Middle East were attended by: Mike Butcher from TechCrunch, Boris Veldhuijzen Van Zanten from TheNextWeb or Dave McClure from 500 Startups. It is worth looking at some major events in the Middle East, whose further editions will be held this year: Step Conference (Dubai, 5-7 April 2017); MENA Games (Beirut, April); ArabNet Digital Summit (Dubai, 16-17 May); Startup Istanbul (Istanbul, 6 -10 October 2017); Webrazzi Summit (Istanbul, October 18-19 2017); RiseUp Summit (Cairo, December 2017).

The main objective of the organizers of these conferences is to gather specialists who want to share their knowledge and experience. An important point of events such as ArabNet, Turkey Startup or Startup Istanbul is to present startups, whose creators throughout duration of the conference participate in numerous workshops and compete for the opportunity to present in front of investors. During the events organized by Webrazzi in Turkey, as well as RiseUP Summit, a conference on the latest technologies in Egypt, the creator of the best startups also has the opportunity to meet with the conference participants and present their ideas in designated areas at the festival. MENA Games, organized in Beirut, is in turn one of the largest festivals dedicated to computer games in the region.

The organizers believe that promotion of local innovations and projects in the technology industry in the Middle East is crucial for accelerating economic growth and consistently improves quality of life in the region. The stories of many successful local startups can also be inspiring for Western companies, who are increasingly thinking about expansion into emerging markets.

Turkish startup ecosystem

In development of modern economies, one of the key roles is played by startups. A well-developed ecosystem of startups creates favorable conditions for development of innovative solutions and products that can sometimes revolutionize the market. Turkish startups are still far away from the leading in innovation California’s ‘Silicon Valley’, but the local ecosystem is slowly starting to shape solid foundations. Turkish startups receive support from government institutions such as TUBITAK or TEPAV.

One of the sectors, which pulls the Turkish economy forward, are information and telecommunication technologies. The sector’s development is conducive to the demographic structure of Turkey and the government’s policy. Compared to Western Europe, the Turks are very young people. One-fourth of the citizens did not exceed 15 years of age, and half of the population are people who are under thirty. This is potentially a very large group of consumers of mobile services and portable electronic devices.

TUBITAK provides grants and funding, supporting primarily research and development. TEPAV in turn, is a think-tank on issues of cost, which is involved in the Global Entrepreneurship Program organized by the US government. It is a bridge between Turkish businessmen and American investors. Within the frame of ‘Techno-entrepreneur’ program, the Turkish Ministry of Science, Industry and Technology promotes technological parks and provides their federated startups seed capital in the amount of USD 55 thousand.

The greatest achievements, among public institutions, in the field of startups support has TTGV – Technology Development Foundation of Turkey, which was founded in 1991 with a loan granted by the World Bank Ankara. TTGV mainly supports the most innovative technology projects. To date, the foundation has supported 950 projects in the amount of USD 300 million. The Foundation also had a sizable contribution to creation of two companies supporting startups: Is Girisim and Turkven, which created foundations for investing based on venture capital principles. Since 2000, the two institutions have co-financed entrepreneurs in the amount of more than USD 3.5 billion.

In Turkey, they are also present non-profit organizations with a global reach. One of them is Endeavor, an organization supporting entrepreneurs from around the world which have potentially ‘high firepower’. The organization was founded 1997 in Argentina and Chile. Its purpose is to search for promising entrepreneurs in emerging markets countries. In 2006 it opened a branch in Istanbul. Endeavor looks after, among others, as promising startups from wireless technologies industry as: Pozitron and AirTies. Here also was raised Yemeksepeti – an e-commerce platform through which so successfully is sold fast food served by brands such as: McDonald’s, Burger King or KFC – with delivery to the customer.

Some other notable startups of Turkish startup ecosystem include Onedio, called also “BuzzFeed of Turkey”, social gaming company Peak Games, the largest classified site sahibinden,  huge shopping platforms like hepsiburada.com, n11.comgittigidiyor (which is part of eBay) and Trendyol,  marketing tool Insider,  fintech platform iyzico, taxi-booking app BiTaksi, delivery startup under 1h from nearby places called KapGel etc. We will soon cover the most important startups from Turkey in much more details. Stay tuned!

Increasing control of the Internet in Turkey

Turkey’s parliament passed a law increasing the powers of state to control the Internet. The new rules give it, among others, the right to block websites without judicial decision and the right to access browsing history of chosen citizens.

With the new regulations, the Turkish Telecommunication Authority will now be able to block a website without the court’s consent, if it considers that necessary for “national security, restoration of public order and crime prevention”.

The Turkish Telecommunication Authority will also have access to the history of online activity of selected persons.
The law still requires the signature of the President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The current Internet law in Turkey belongs to the most restrictive ones, anyway. On its basis there have been blocked thousands of websites from sites deemed conducive to the Kurdish separatists to gay men dating sites. In February there were introduced the first changes in the Internet regulations. Critics were then accusing the government led by Erdogan of trying to lock in this way corruption investigations against him and his ministers.

European accelerator Startupbootcamp opens in Istanbul for MENA region

With the latest news in January, we have a valuable addition coming from the west to the east – EarlyBird, the known venture capital from Berlin directed $130 million to support startups from Central and Eastern Europe. This will be done through the opening of Startupbootcamp Istanbul.

This already formal accelerator will be working on a 3 month program in which it mentors, funds, houses and showcases early startups. The applications are officially open until the end of March, and teams can apply no matter where are they from.

If chosen, startups start their program in June and for only 8% of their equity they are funded by €15,000, 4 months office space and a mentorship program valued at over €250k.

Startupbootcamp Istanbul will also work on a more coworking concept model, by spanning over two floors, open office space and a coffee shop at the lobby.

With this very important investment in startups Turkey will become one of the key areas in the SEEMEA region.