Turkey’s entrepreneurial spark catching fire
Turkish companies cementing global growth
It’s probably true that individuals, considered to have been successful against the odds, are often considered heroes. Resilience, tenacity and passion are all adjectives that sit uppermost in the mind.
This perception should be similar when it comes to organizational scale-up and company success. Those companies that originate from locations relatively unknown or unchampioned, those that go on to push beyond previously accepted norms should be afforded similar status.
Turkey is a fast-growing global tech hub that builds these characteristics into companies as standard. An area that’s always been brimming with great talent, but talent that has typically needed to emigrate in order to find careers in ambitious tech companies. Nowadays Turkey is in evolution and is fast evolving as a creator of high-impact creative technology companies capable of enriching the global technology landscape.
Investing in scale-ups in Turkey is becoming more attractive because of the nation’s growing pool of world-class talent and large market, where business models and products can be vigorously battle-tested for global expansionSeckin Tabac is Director of prominent Turkish VC Esas Global
Despite long overdue global recognition and attention, founders, talented tech workers, VCs and investors in the local ecosystem are currently creating a thriving community from which numerous companies are flourishing.
From a growth perspective, Turkey has never been in a better situation than it is in today. In the last decade, there has been major transformation across the nation, and local incubators and VC’s have had a massive part to play in putting Turkey on the map as a hotbed for tech scale-ups. OPLOG itself is an example of the growing confidence that investors have in the ecosystem. In late September, we raised €11 million in backing from Turkey’s leading private equity firm Esas to expand our tech enabled fulfillment service to the UK and Europe. As momentum increases, I have no doubt that Turkey will continue to gain significant respect and investment from the international tech community.Halit Develioglu CEO of Turkish startup OPLOG
From slow growth to explosion.
There is no better way to evidence this than to look at the data – in the first quarter of 2022 Turkish startups had received an impressive $1.2 Billion from investors, which is equitable with the total combined investment secured in 2021.
Some of the highlights from 2022 include;
- Turkey’s 6th unicorn is confirmed as Insider breaks the billion dollar valuation with a $121 Series D round this year.
- Dream Games raised a significant $255M Series C round valuing the company at $2.75B
- Getir secured $768M in a Series D in the process making it Europe’s first delivery decacorn.
- Outside of these mega-rounds, at least 10 other scale-ups secured funding rounds of $10m+ including Oplog, Appsilon Enterprise and Spyke Games who alone secured an investment of $55m in January.
- Turkey now boasts 6 unicorns: Insider, Getir, Dream Games, Hepsiburada, Trendyol and Peak Games, demonstrating impressive diversity ranging from gaming, delivery and e-commerce.
A deep wealth of talent
Turkey graduates about 1 million new professionals every year, not only that its population is young, 38% is under 25, a rare instance for a European country. More specifically, around 100K of those graduates belong to STEM fields.
These are talent gold mine numbers for tech companies, but the point is that until recently there has been a lack of opportunity for homegrown talent to create a career at home in a market without a significant ecosystem.
This new combination of innovation and investment is therefore not only a driving force for invested founders and their direct teams but also the huge Turkish talent base now able to evolve their career working for ambitious high-growth businesses.
The evolution of Turkey’s national ecosystem also means that these companies really focus on global leadership in their individual market sectors. This means that Turkish scale-ups are now taking on the world and helping secure talent and revenue growth all over the world.
It’s not always the case that all Turkish scale-ups want to build their proposition at home either. Diamond tech company Appsilon Enterprise, although founded in Turkey with a local team, has relocated their HQ to the Netherlands with the ambition to compete in growing markets. CEO of Applison Taylan Erol explains how Turkish talent was essential and what made the move the right choice for them.
At Appsilon there is minimal turnover, the core team is set and it is the team we built in the middle of 2020 with only two people who have left the company. The age average in the company is 31. So, we are a very young company.
We have always been interested in cutting-edge applications of diamonds […] qantum computing is one. There are some clusters that are deeply invested in quantom computing with the US as the leaders, on the other hand the Netherlands wants to catch. [with the move] We will now be part of that [quantum computing] cluster as well.Taylan Erol CEO Appsilon
There is no doubt however that this national and local growth is advantageous to everybody. Even Turkish people working around the Tech scale up sector are proud of their country’s recent recognition;
Omer Gokce Tumer is VP of Marketing for German-based Series A, Headless Content Management SaaS company;
“As a Turkish national and passionate Marketeer…..”Omer Gokce Tumer
Unwavering entrepreneurial spirit
What made Turkey change and expand so quickly in the last decade? To put it simply, it’s people. The talented and committed founders, engineers and teams behind these Turkish companies have been the driving force behind this dream come true scenario in innovation
These are the Turkish companies helping to evolve the country’s economy and harness international growth. Simultaneously cementing future entrepreneurialism as the experiences being developed now will doubtless lead to future Turkish company inception and growth. Kudos to these growth company heroes!