Is everything has to be about money?

Is everything has to be about money?

Is everything has to be about money? E-Tohum’s founder, Burak Büyükdemir, has been fighting to get Turkish startups as good as those in Silicon Valley almost single handedly for over a decade. It was great to see that his efforts, together with his wonderful team members such as Elif Çoşkunkan, were not in vain. Thousands of entrepreneurs and investors gathered in Istanbul.

At this year’s event, there was also a competition to become the world’s best startup.

Startup Istanbul gathered 25,000 startup applications from 135+ countries and shortlisted 4,000+ of them. Shortlisted startups were interviewed by the startups selection team and the 100 most promising were chosen as Startup100. The chosen startups met with mentors on Oct. 6-7 at Istanbul Technical University. Fifty of them pitched to investors on Oct. 8, competing to be one of the 15 finalists on the stage of Volkswagen Arena on Oct. 10.

In the end, CashBasha from Jordan was chosen as the best. CashBasha enables customers in emerging markets to shop on their favorite e-commerce stores with ease. With CashBasha, customers from the Middle East and North African region can shop from popular foreign online shopping sites and receive their items right to their doorstep with the preferred payment, logistics, customs clearance and customer service solutions all taken care of. CashBasha currently serves Amazon U.S. orders into the region and is growing to add more merchants and marketplaces. 

Innovera Labs came in second with its A.T.A.R. software. The A.T.A.R. was built to automate defenses against cyber-attacks. Organizations today are drowned in cyber alerts, with a typical organization getting somewhere between 300 to 3,000 alerts per day from their defensive systems. This is usually very costly and often neglected. Finding and recruiting highly skilled security operations people is also difficult. InnoveraLabs works with most enterprises in Turkey and witnesses their struggle, trying to analyze so many alerts and take necessary actions in a timely manner. A.T.A.R. is a proven technology to improve cyber defense against modern and changing attacks. Based on customer defined scenarios, it vigorously responds to cyber-attack indicators like a skilled human operator, only much faster. Integrated with 50+ different security relevant technologies, A.T.A.R. coordinates all response activities, even involving human operators at different stages of incident response.

During the event I had the chance to interview Casey Fenton, the founder of It was wonderful to hear that there are still people on this planet who regard money as a secondary objective. Fenton said that all he wanted to achieve was to help people have the same travelling experience that he had while he was visiting Egypt, ditching the tourist group and travelling with locals. Couchsurfing today has 15 million users, 4 million of whom are active. Thanks to Couchsurding, millions of people around the world can travel better with less money, experiencing the culture of the destination country much more richly.
I certainly hope Turkish entrepreneurs were also inspired by Fenton.