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.
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.
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.
Editor’s choice of the country’s top 10 emerging tech startups.
Editor’s pick of which ‘Featured Startup’ is especially worth following and why.
Editor’s choice of the industries with the most potential for technology disruption and growth.
Editor’s perspective of the maturity level of talent in the ecosystem.
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.
Albaraka Fintech Fund (Istanbul)
Angel Effect (Istanbul): Angel network.
Aslanoba Capital (Istanbul)
Boğaziçi Ventures (Istanbul)
BUBA Investors Club (Istanbul): Angel network.
Collective Spark (Istanbul): Generalist fund with Series A focus.
Earlybird Digital East Fund (Istanbul): Generalist fund with Series A focus.
Egiad Angels (Izmir): Angel network.
Esas Ventures (Istanbul)
F+ Ventures (Istanbul)
Galata Business Angels (Istanbul): Angel network.
Geometry Venture Development (Istanbul): Angel network.
Keiretsu Forum Turkey (Istanbul): Angel network.
Kultepe Invest (Kayseri): Kültepe Investment invests in technology-oriented early stage startups.
Revo Capital (Istanbul): Generalist fund with Series A focus.
Sabanci Ventures (Istanbul)
ScaleX Ventures (Istanbul)
Teknoloji Yatırım (Ankara)
Türkiye Development Fund (İstanbul)
Twozero Ventures (Istanbul)
WePlay Ventures (Istanbul): Seed stage gaming-focused fund.
Yildiz Ventures (Istanbul)
ATOM Turkey (Ankara)
Bilkent Cyberpark Kuluçka Merkezi (Ankara)
BTM Istanbul (Istanbul)
Cube Incubation (Istanbul)
İTÜ Çekirdek (Istanbul)
ODTÜ Teknokent Kuluçka Merkezi (Ankara)
TIM-TEB Girişim Evi (Istanbul)
Yildiz Kuluçka (Istanbul)
Albaraka Garaj (Istanbul)
Türk Telekom Pilot (Istanbul)
Kolektif House (Istanbul)
Startup Istanbul (Virtual/Istanbul)
Webrazzi Summit (Virtual/Istanbul)
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.
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.
Bilkent University (Ankara)
Boğaziçi University (Istanbul)
Koç University (Istanbul)
Özyeğin University (Istanbul)
Sabanci University (Istanbul)
Yildiz Technical University (Istanbul)
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