A start-up update
I have decided to give a monthly update on startups, as the start-up world is ever changing and full of great news in Turkey.
I recently attended the Independent Industrial and Business Association’s (MÜSİAD) Vizyoner’15 (Visionary’15) launch, and it was obvious that they are on the board for a more innovative and entrepreneurial Turkey too.
Speaking at the event, Yıldız Holding Ülker Group head Ali Ülker said that being an entrepreneur meant living for an idea, while being a visionary meant living for the future. I agree with him in both accounts. MÜSAİD President Nail Olpak, meanwhile, underlined that he did not like to use the term “human resources,” but rather “human value.”
I’m happy to see that MÜSİAD is taking this direction, as well as other business associations. Olpak also said they value freedom of speech and had contacted Twitter Head of Global Public Policy Colin Crowell when the social media outlet was banned in Turkey. I will continue to watch MÜSİAD’s steps closely on this front to make sure that it walks the walk.
MÜSİAD’s emphasis on entrepreneurship is very important for Turkey as a whole, as it has an extensive network that cannot be reached by many other institutions. I am sure that we will be hearing of many new start-ups forming with financing from MÜSİAD members.
İTÜ Çekirdek awarded a total of 1.2 million Turkish Liras and 1.5 million liras in IT services to the winners of its competition “BIG BANG 2015.” Twenty startups were founded by İTÜ Çekirdek through the competition, and the winner of the biggest prize, worth 160,000 liras, was Vivosense, with its portable medical testing devices. TRD Biotek came second with its seed production system. Enwair came joint third with its rechargeable high-capacity battery, tying with IUGO, which designed software that gathers information from the road for the analysis of drivers or self-driving cars.
According to the analysis of IdeaSoft, among its customers the number of women e-commerce entrepreneurs has risen by 80 percent from last year. The average age of women entrepreneurs is 24 among the IdeaSoft clients, which is absolutely amazing.
On Nov. 20, the “Garanti Hackathon” will take place - especially interesting for those who are interested in financial software.
So it seems that Istanbul has become a very vibrant start-up city. I hope we will be able to say the same about other Turkish cities in the coming years. Either way, I will be reporting about the start-up world regularly in this column.