It’s all about data
In his book “From 0 to 1,” Peter Thiel tells the secrets of building a fast-growing startup. He underlines that it is all about being the monopoly in any field. If you can achieve to be the only source of a service or a product, he says, you can make lots of money while growing rapidly. He also argues that monopolies are good for the whole economy because they let innovative companies create better services and products.
He claims that if you are in a very competitive field, even if your team is the best and you have the best investor, you would still deal with diminishing returns. So, he suggests that being the fifth “dönerci” on a street is the worst idea ever.
When I first heard about Garaj Sepeti, I thought they might be the 10th car or car parts marketplace in the automotive vertical. I thought that their growth could be very limited. But in time, they proved me wrong. After only a-year-and-a-half they bought their competitor Tasit.com. They also got a 6 million Turkish Lira investment from various angel investors. They have more than 3,500 car dealerships that are using their platform daily.
I could not really understand why they were so successful until I met their CEO, Mehmet Çelikol.
In our interview, what he stressed on the most was the fact that Garaj Sepeti is a data company, not an e-commerce website. They have a front with Garajsepeti, Tasit.com and a car valuation app, and this front enables them to get information on almost anything about the Turkish automotive industry. They know fascinating details, such as in which city cars break down the most and where a car of the same model would have a value higher than the average. This data aggregation capability makes them the only provider of such detailed data in Turkey in the automotive industry.
This is the real force behind their rapid growth. When you have the data, then you can create new services and new markets, you can compile data and create reports. You can do almost anything. And they do a lot.
For example, they issue a report called Garajreport consisting of data from their own websites and the Automotive Distributors Associations (ODD). The report is full of interesting information. For example, the average secondhand price for all cars in Turkey is 61,000 liras.
In this day and age, you need to be different from your competitor. If you can be different, then you can compete not only locally but globally as well. Whichever field you are operating in, gathering data and creating useful insights are musts.
I wish the best for Garaj Sepeti team, and I hope they will continue.