Country Guide

Turkey

Turkey
Serkan Ünsal

Guest Editor

Serkan Ünsal

Founder at Startups.Watch

Serkan Ünsal is the founder of an investor analytics platform focused on Turkey called startups.watch. The platform has more than 150 clients and covers all funding and acquisition details for the Turkish Startup Ecosystem. He founded his previous startup in 2011 and sold it in 2014. He has also written four books on entrepreneurship.


Guest editors are local ecosystem leaders: successful founders, investors, or thought leaders. Have someone in mind? Nominate a country guest editor.

Disclaimer: all content within the Startup Ecosystem Summary and Editor’s Guide sections is written by and reflects the personal perspective of the guest editor. The guest editor is not responsible for content within the Country Snapshot and Community sections, as much of this content is compiled from external sources and does not necessarily reflect the guest editor’s view.

Startup ecosystem summary

Key Startup Cities

Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir

Connected Country Ecosystems

USA, UK, Germany

Differentiators

  • 8000+ startups & scaleups, 50+ Accelerators, 40+ Coworking spaces, 60+ technoparks
  • 45% of population is below age 30

Challenges

  • Small amount of investors for Series B and later rounds

Editor's Guide

Introduction

Turkey, with a large young population and high internet and credit card usage habits, is the shining star of South Eastern Europe and the Middle East. In terms of location, Turkey is a well-positioned, attractive hub, only three hours by flight away from the most important cities in Europe and many key cities in Asia. Prior to 2010, the Turkish ecosystem had little to speak about, but since then the ecosystem has swelled in size and importance, quickly becoming a key regional startup hub. In the first half of the 2010s, thanks to the growth of brand-new VC funds and angel investors making their first investments, the Turkish startup ecosystem reached annual startup investments of US$100M. In the second half of the 2010s, many of these new VC funds achieved exits and started working to establish their second fund. In this period, the exit time was significantly shortened compared to the pre-2010 years.

Outlook

The Turkish startup ecosystem entered a growth acceleration stage in 2010. In the coming years, we will see more investments, especially through recently established funds. In particular, the gaming industry has been energized the past several months with local gaming company Peak’s ascendancy as a unicorn, combined with Rollic’s acquisition by Zynga. We will see more gaming companies and more game developers in the coming period.

Featured Tech Startups

Editor’s choice of the country’s top 10 emerging tech startups.

Startup Showcase

Editor’s pick of which ‘Featured Startup’ is especially worth following and why.

The grocery delivery startup, which brings 1500 supermarket products to you in 15 minutes with its own warehouse network and courier network, has exceeded 200,000 orders per day as of October 2020. This is proof of how much this startup has been accepted by the market. Getir will become one of the biggest unicorn candidates in 2021 as it opens in other countries.

Focus Industries

Editor’s choice of the industries with the most potential for technology disruption and growth.

DeliveryWith the success of Getir (grocery delivery in 15 minutes) and Yemeksepeti Banabi, this industry is gaining traction every day.
FintechIn recent years, the fintech industry has been one of the most active industries in terms of funding and exits.
GamingA string of recent startup success stories has showcased the potential of this industry: Gram Games' acquisition, Peak's unicorn title via acquisition, and Rollic's rapid exit all showed that the gaming industry is one of the hottest industries in Turkey.

Talent

Editor’s perspective of the maturity level of talent in the ecosystem.

  • Technical TalentAdvanced
  • Marketing TalentModerate
  • Experienced TalentModerate
  • International TalentModerate

Culture and History

Editor’s commentary on how the country’s culture and history have impacted the ecosystem.

The number of technoparks in Turkey began to increase rapidly in the early 2000s. Since 2010, the number of angel networks, angels and VC funds has increased every year, and entrepreneurship has become embedded in Turkish culture, especially on the Levent-Maslak line in Istanbul.

Interested in becoming more involved in this ecosystem and connecting with local ecosystem leaders? Let us know.

Community

Active Investors

212 (Istanbul): Generalist fund with Series A focus.

Angel Effect (Istanbul): Angel network.

BUBA Investors Club (Istanbul): Angel network.

Collective Spark (Istanbul): Generalist fund with Series A focus.

Driventure (Istanbul)

Earlybird Digital East Fund (Istanbul): Generalist fund with Series A focus.

Egiad Angels (Izmir): Angel network.

Erban (Kayseri): Angel network.

F+ Ventures (Istanbul)

Finberg (Istanbul)

Galata Business Angels (Istanbul): Angel network.

Geometry Venture Development (Istanbul): Angel network.

Idacapital (Istanbul)

Keiretsu Forum Turkey (Istanbul): Angel network.

Maxis (Istanbul)

Revo Capital (Istanbul): Generalist fund with Series A focus.

Sankonline (Istanbul)

Startershub (Istanbul)

Tarvenn (Istanbul)

TechOne (Istanbul)

TR Angels (Istanbul): Angel network.

WePlay Ventures (Istanbul): Seed stage gaming-focused fund.

Startups Raising Capital
There’s more to be discovered! Help us showcase this startup community by adding information.
Startups Hiring
There’s more to be discovered! Help us showcase this startup community by adding information.
Coworking Spaces/Hubs

Workinton (Istanbul)

conferences

Startup Istanbul (Virtual/Istanbul)

Webrazzi Summit (Virtual/Istanbul)

meetups
There’s more to be discovered! Help us showcase this startup community by adding information.
Government Programs

1 million jobs: Due to the fact that information technologies are used more and more in every field, companies' need for trained manpower is increasing day by day. Since Turkish manpower in this field is not at the desired level, many companies have started to meet their information technology needs from abroad.

TÜBİTAK BiGG: Grant program for idea stage entrepreneurs.

Non-Government Organizations

Ashoka Turkey: Social entrepreneurship platform.

Endeavor Turkey: High impact entrepreneurship movement in Turkey.

Fintech Istanbul: Fintech entrepreneurship platform for Turkish fintech entrepreneurs.

Girişimcilik Vakfı: Turkish entrepreneurship foundation that works with youth to advance the entrepreneurial culture and to make entrepreneurship a career alternative among young people.

Country Snapshot

Economy

Startup funding
Startup funding
US$316 million (2020)
Standard of living
Standard of living
Global rank: 45
Innovation
Innovation
Global rank: 51 (2020)
Entrepreneurship
Entrepreneurship
Global rank: 37 (2021)
Annual GDP growth
Annual GDP growth
0.9% (2019)
(Global avg. 3.0%)
Ease of doing business
Ease of doing business
Global rank: 33 (2019)
Ease of starting a business
Ease of starting a business
Global rank: 77
Research and development
Research and development
1.0% of GDP
(Global avg. 2.3%)
Contract enforcement
Contract enforcement
Global rank: 24

Sources

Startup Funding: Dealroom
STANDARD OF LIVING: International Monetary Fund - GDP per capita (PPP)
INNOVATION: Global Innovation Index
ENTREPRENEURSHIP: Global Entrepreneurship Index
ANNUAL GDP GROWTH: World Bank
EASE OF DOING BUSINESS: World Bank
EASE OF STARTING A BUSINESS: World Bank
RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT: World Bank
CONTRACT ENFORCEMENT: World Bank

*Updated with latest available data based on listed source.

Society

Population
Population
84.3 million (2020)
Government
Government
Presidential Republic
Stability
Stability
Global rank: 77 (2020)
Internet usage
Internet usage
74.0% (2019)
Smartphone usage
Smartphone usage
54.0% (2019)
Literacy
Literacy
96% (2017)
Population under 15
Population under 15
24% (2019)
Median age
Median age
30.9 (2018)

Sources

POPULATION: Worldometer
GOVERNMENT: The World Factbook
STABILITY: Global Innovation Index
INTERNET USAGE: International Telecommunications Union
SMARTPHONE USAGE: Newzoo
LITERACY: World Bank
POPULATION UNDER 15: World Bank
MEDIAN AGE: The World Factbook

*Updated with latest available data based on listed source.

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