The sale of Peak has startled many in Turkey. A small group of people that makes up the Turkish ecosystem already knew that Peak was the first unofficial unicorn, but to the masses it came as a very big surprise. I have watched many interviews of Peak’s strategy director, Ömer İnönü, and I really understood why we never hear about Turkish software and technology firms in the news. The great anchors who could speak for hours about politics had absolutely no idea what to do with the information of this sale. And all of them were focused on the amount of money to be exchanged. $900 million cash and $900 million worth of Zynga shares. I don’t really believe that many of those news anchors realized just how important this exit is.
First of all, it put Istanbul and Turkey on the map for future deals. Barend Vanden Brande of Hummingbird wrote on Twitter that “Turkey was off-limits for investors. Nowadays, exceptional startups can come from anywhere. Far away from the epicenter of most tech innovation, away from FOMO, one can truly question golden rules of thumb and take the time to build a radically different culture.”
After this exit, Turkey will not be so off limits for future investors. Zynga’s shares were up as much as 4.5 percent to $9.57 in New York trading Monday. They were up 50 percent this year through Friday. This also shows that global investors see such a big investment to Turkey as a positive thing. This means a lot.
The second main point is that it showed the “old money” people in Turkey that with only a hundred people, a team of 20-30 somethings could overtake industry giants in terms of valuation. I hope that this will cause established families to look into the startup scene more seriously. Because, as Brande states, “Peak team generates one of the highest, if not the highest, annual revenue per employee globally, multiple times bigger than some of the best tech companies such as Google, Apple and more.”
Furthermore, for everybody involved, this is a win-win scenario. Earlybird ventures, Sidar Şahin, Hummingbird Ventures, Evren Üçok, Demet Suzan Mutlu Üçok and Endeavor Catalyst are getting a big pay day. The founder, Sidar Şahin, will be able to expand his vision globally, and Zynga will increase its customer and talent base. So, everyone is happy.
Another great thing about this investment is that Istanbul will be one of the best hubs for the gaming industry. There are already more than 500 firms working on gaming. I am sure that we will hear more news about gaming in the coming years.
Of course, the recent news that Insider got is that another $32 million as investment will add to the Turkish startup scene aura as well. These steps are what makes a city a hub. I hope that I will be able to write about many more.