Is entrepreneurship a trend to stay?
Last weekend in Antalya there were more Turkish Internet investors than in any other place, with Etohum holding its startup camp in Rixos, Antalya. Etohum is the most important marketplace, consisting of Turkey’s leading investors, entrepreneurs and internet professionals, both investing in and supporting new economy companies. Since 2008 it has selected hundreds of internet startups and, in an effort to help these new startups succeed, it has either made investments or brought them together with investors.
Each year 40 startups are selected from among thousands of new entrepreneurs with the support of the leading players in this market. Following the selection process by angel investors, the number of startups in e-commerce, mobile technology, gaming and software is reduced to 15. These selected, high-potential entrepreneurs, then attend a three-day camp.
This year the Wall Street Journal took notice of the event as well. The WSJ followed the event to help understand the causes behind Turkey’s growing economy. The WSJ said: “With Turkey displaying that rare commodity among European economies – growth - the country has attracted a great deal of attention from venture capitalists looking for investments.” It lists the companies that could make an impact globally as follows:
- Gideros Mobile: A subscription platform that allows game developers to build mobile games and have them ported to both iOS and Android.
- Minder: Human Computer Interface is a hot area, although the technology is still at a very early stage. They offer a thought-controlled system aimed at disabled users to allow them to interact with their computer simply by the power of thought.
- Infodif: A real-time video-based augmented reality service. The example demonstrated used facial recognition to show customers, in real time, what different lipsticks would look like on them.
- Drawium: A simple-to-use and code-free tool that allows website owners to build guided tours of their site.
- Connected2.me: A curious idea. A chat system but with invited friends who are anonymous. Only your friends can talk to you, but you don’t know who among them you are talking to at any one time. Perhaps more useful for controlled focus groups than as a social network.
- Alictus: A very simple idea that allows you to use your smartphone as a motion-sensing games controller. Think Nintendo Wii but for any computer game.
- Foodback: Real-time customer satisfaction ratings for restaurant owners.
There were hundreds of participants and almost all of the major VCs were present. The event created numerous Twitter trending topics and this alone tells me that entrepreneurship is on the rise for Turkish youth. I hope that this trend continues.
The reason why Europe is lagging behind in economic recovery is simply because it doesn’t have as many entrepreneurs as the United States. We have always prided ourselves on having the youngest population in Europe. However, a jobless youth can mean disaster. If Turkey is to be a world leader it will be so only if its youth keep on trying to establish groundbreaking companies. Otherwise, joblessness will burn the country down to ashes.