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.

Kinnevik earns $220mln from partial Rocket stake sale

Shares in the German e-commerce company Rocket Internet fell 14% after its main investor sold half its stake as the two firms have been increasingly becoming competitors. Sweden’s Kinnevik, which clashed with Rocket last year over the valuations of some of their joint investments, sold a 6.6% stake in Rocket at 19.25 euros per share, netting $220 million. Rocket Internet will not receive any proceeds from the transaction.

Berlin-headquartered Rocket Internet was founded in 2007. It has built up several businesses from fashion e-commerce to food delivery, but its shares have slid in the last year because many investors have become concerned about hight losses and falling valuations for its key start-ups. The company is facing heat from its investors due to continuous losses and a decline in revenue of its portfolio companies globally. Rocket Internet’s experience in India, for example, is far from being profitable. It made bigger bets on food-tech venture Foodpanda, fashion e-tailer Jabong and furniture portal FabFurnish. Most ventures quickly expanded in the beginning, but later started to struggle to survive. Last year, Rocket Internet sold Jabong and FabFurnish in misery sales. Last year Future Group acquired FabFurnish.com in an all-cash deal and Jabong was sold to Indian e-commerce firm Flipkart’s fashion portal Myntra for $70 million.

Kinnevik was one of the first investors in Rocket and was its biggest shareholder after the Samwer brothers who founded it and who have a 37%stake. Kinnevik also owns stakes in several Rocket’s major startups. There is a very high probability that Kinnevik will sell its remaining stake in Rocket because Kinnevik and Rocket are potential competitors for new investments. There might be conflicts of interest as Rocket moves from an initial attention on setting up new online businesses to being more of an investment firm with a model identic to Kinnevik’s. Kinnevik has not invested with Rocket in its food holdings, which now justifies the enormity of its valuation after it made a big push into the sector in 2015, a shift away from its preliminary attention on ecommerce in emerging markets.

Meanwhile, even as Rocket Internet has struggled with its bets on Indian companies, it has collected $1 billion in a new fund to support Internet companies globally. The Rocket Internet Capital Partners fund is Europe’s biggest fund concentrated on the Internet sector. The new fund will make early-stage and growth-equity investments in high-growth Internet-related businesses. It plans to invest in key attention fields of the Internet sector including marketplaces, e-commerce, financial technology, software and travel. The fund gained essential support from a diverse group of global investors, including financial organizations, pension funds, asset managers, foundations and wealthy individuals.

Apple acquires Israeli startup RealFace

Apple bought Israeli startup RealFace, which specializes in technologies related to face recognition. Thanks to that, in the new iPhone Apple may use phone-unlock-system based on the appearance of the owner.RealFace is a company from Tel Aviv, which was founded in 2014. The startup page does not work anymore, but the promotional materials said that the company has developed a very unique face recognition technology which integrates artificial intelligence and human perception moves to digital processes. It is suggested that Apple paid for RealFace at least $ 2 million. Some may associate RealFace with the application Pickeez, which is based on advanced algorithms for facial recognition and helps users choose their best photos for publication on social networking profiles.

iPhone 8, except that it will be a very unique smartphone, could be the first Apple phone with implemented new solutions for AR. Probably at the top there would be a new laser sensor able to recognize the user. So it will be another solution, beside the Touch ID, to secure data stored on your phone. Everything will become clear in September. Besides, Apple invests a lot of money in the extended reality and some observers even suggest that within 2-3 years Apple becomes a giant of AR market.

Startups from Croatia

Croatia has been unending marveled for its Adriatic coastlines, distant islands, and moody seaside castles. Yet, nowadays primal and historic wonders are playing second role compared to a growing number of young, talented tech professionals trying to put up the country out of recession. Many startups have successfully raised funds and every year more and more projects contribute to the growing prominence of the region’s young ecosystem. Below are the  brightest Croatian tech startups worth to know about:

Memgraph is a scalable and enterprise ready graph database that comprehends the connection between its data points, provoking meaning just like a human brain. It contains import, data processing and visualization tools. The startup offers complete ecosystem for technology innovators to tackle the future challenges of big data. The company was launched in 2016 and it successfully participated in the renowned Techstars accelerator in London.

Adopto is an applicant tracking system and recruiting software created to support users find and hire the best tech candidates faster and more efficiently and make their recruiting process better. The recruiters simply set up their careers page, publish a job accouchement, search for the best people, and gain candidate info with a single click through one interface. The startup was launched in 2015.

BabyWatch enhances the prenatal experience with technology. Thanks to the specially-designed device and app, future mothers can hear and visualize their child’s heartbeat 24/7 and share the memorable experience with friends and family.

Locodels is a service for small e-commerce, online sellers and individuals. It offers the easiest way to ship your items. The startup manages a network of drivers and senders via a phone and web application so that it assures options and varieties in the transportation service. The idea is that everyone can send stuff and everyone can deliver stuff. The startup was launched in 2015 and in December 2016 it secured $600K in seed funding.

Visiobike makes high tech electric bicycle with carbon fiber frame. The startup has developed technology that lets integration of every smartphone with components on the Visiobike. On the application the rider can track speed, battery level, change electric motor assistance level and plan the route on the navigation screen. Small HD camera placed under the seat sends the image to the application which changes the smartphone screen into the most advanced rear view mirror ever seen on a bicycle.

Vollo offers the simplest way to search, compare and book bus tickets in Croatia. It analyses hundreds of lines, routes and connections to provide users with the best solution for their travel. Vollo is Croatia’s leading online retailer of bus tickets. The company was launched in 2016.

Canelio offers a smart device (clicker) and a mobile app, that can change your dog’s training into a mobile game. It works like a universal communication tool between you and your dog. It is based entirely on positive training methods. It includes a great number of videos and a personalized training guide. The startup was launched in 2015 and it successfully participated in the most recent phase of the ABC Accelerator.

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