Startup Istanbul: The real deal

Startup Istanbul: The real deal

Last week I wrote that no real startup ecosystem exists in Turkey. However, if only one event in Istanbul remains for startups, it should be Startup Istanbul.

Startup Istanbul has once again brought together hundreds of people from 65 different countries to Istanbul. Burak and Aslı Büyükdemir have put their heart and soul into the event for the last six months.

The top 100 startups met world class mentors, investors, companies and media over a four-day period. At the end of the event, the best three were chosen among 100 startups.

The winner was Startany from Lagos. They describe themselves in the following manner: “We have built the best branchless/agency banking solution in Nigeria called ‘COVr Branchless.’ The Covr Branchless suite uses portable mobile phones, web and POS devices to automate key financial operations such as opening an account, agent-based deposits, cash withdrawals, fund transfers, bill payments and many more on the field by agents on behalf of banks and financial institutions.”

The runner up was Momyhelper from Gaza. MomyHelper is a mobile app that provides Arab mothers with easy, discreet and affordable access to professional counseling in the Arabic-language in topics related to raising children, marital issues and other physical and mental health topics. “It empowers Arab mothers in the Arab world and abroad to lead healthy, fulfilling and successful lives,” say the owners of Momyhelper.

Homade from Jakarta came third. Here is a brief of what they do in their own words: “Most people in major cities prefer to buy food at street food stalls because of convenience and affordability even though they know the food often has limited nutritional value. We solve those problems through partnership with organic urban farmers and thousands of skilled home chefs who aspire to provide affordable high-quality food from traceable sources. Homade is a healthy ‘food explorer.’”

If you have noticed, all three are from the developing world. That is exactly why Startup Istanbul is a great organization. All the investors that I spoke with said connecting with other startups from the developing word was a major reason for coming. One of them wished that the government would provide more support for these types of meetings.


A conversation with Tim Draper

Tim Draper is the founding partner of Draper Associates and DFJ. Tim’s original suggestion to use viral marketing as a method for spreading software applications from customer to customer was instrumental to the success of Hotmail, Skype and others.

Tim has been recognized as a leading supporter of entrepreneurship with numerous awards and honors. He was listed as #46 of the most outstanding Harvard alumni, #7 on the Forbes Midas List, #1 of the Most Networked Venture Capitalists by Always On and #98 in Worth Magazine’s 100 Most Powerful People in Finance. Tim also received the World Entrepreneurship Forum’s “Entrepreneur for the World” in 2015. His focus these days is on block-chain technologies and bioengineering.

I had a chance to speak with him and he told me he was ready to invest in startups from Turkey. This was among the pieces of good news announced at Startup Istanbul

Opinion, Ersu Ablak,