Getir, which we frequently hear about with the increase in demand for package service during the pandemic period, doubled its value by receiving a total investment of $ 1 billion in 2021. This initiative, which has recently started to serve in London and the Netherlands, will also start operating in America. Getir is a takeaway application that serves with more than 100 warehouses in various provinces of Türkiye, centred in Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir. The initiative enables people to reach the products they need within 10 minutes. Founded in 2015 by Nazım Salur, the founder of the “Bi Taxi” application, Getir has also received various entrepreneurship awards.
Udemy Education Platform is an initiative that has gained popularity in the United States and many countries. The founder of the initiative is Eren Bali. Eren Bali was born and raised in Malatya and graduated from Middle East Technical University (METU). In 2008, Eren Bali, who worked in different companies after graduation, started to develop the idea of Udemy Education Platform with Oktay Çağlar in order to make education more accessible for future generations. After the trials in Türkiye, they decided to take the project to Silicon Valley, but they were rejected by 50 investors. Despite these negativities, Eren Bali, Oktay Çağlar and his team continued on their way without losing their belief in their project. A few years later, they received an investment of 12 million dollars and started the success story of the Udemy Education Platform. Today, Udemy operates as one of the leading startups in Silicon Valley
Martı is an initiative that provides fast transport by overcoming traffic problems and difficulties in finding parking spaces in big cities. It saves time by offering people the opportunity to travel quickly and easily without using public transport or private vehicles. It is also an environmentally friendly option and reduces carbon emissions.
Oğuz Alper Öktem, co-founder of the initiative, states that the success of Martı’s rapid spread in different cities is based on the creation of the right team. The team consists of dynamic members who are experts in various fields, from software developers to scooter maintainers.
In addition, Martı has been successful by bringing the scooter sharing concept, which exists abroad, to Türkiye at the right time. Martı attaches great importance to customer feedback and focuses on user experiences to constantly renew itself.
The fact that most of the scooters are produced in Türkiye allows the product to be designed quickly to meet the needs. In July 2020, Martı accelerated its growth with the investments it received in July 2020, and continued its growth rate by receiving new investments in June 2021.
This successful startup inspires local entrepreneurs with its exit strategy, timing and investments. With over 5 million users, Martı aims to offer services in more cities in the future and to take part in the international market.
Nevzat Aydın and Melih Ödemiş were classmates at Boğaziçi University, Department of Computer Engineering. Cem Nufusi was a professional in the tourism sector. After completing his education at Boğaziçi University, Nevzat Aydın travelled to the United States and received an MBA from the University of San Francisco in Silicon Valley. During this period, his interest in e-commerce increased. Especially the interest in takeaway services in San Francisco attracted his attention and he developed this idea and shared it with his classmate Melih Ödemiş when he returned to Türkiye.
The two friends started to do research on the applicability of this idea in Türkiye. During the research process, which lasted about 5 months, they organised surveys and conducted interviews with restaurants. As a result of their research, they decided to create a business model based on “meal package” orders. However, they needed an intermediary to realise this business model in cooperation with restaurants. At this point, they included Cem Nufusi, one of their childhood friends who was active in the tourism sector, in the project and formed a full team.
In September 2000, in a 40 square metre room, “Yemek Sepeti Gıda ve Pazarlama Elektronik İletişim ve Tanıtım Limited Şirketi” was established. Nevzat Aydın was appointed as general manager, Melih Ödemiş as IT manager and Cem Nufusi as sales and marketing manager.
Since the internet was not yet widespread at that time, they started to receive orders by fax. However, in 2001, with the increase in internet usage, they switched to the online platform. Initially, yemeksepeti.com, which started its service with 26 restaurants, was receiving 40-45 orders per day. Over time, with the widespread use of the internet, the number of orders increased and by 2004, they were receiving 1000 orders a day. In 2008, this number increased to 10,000 and they received their first investment from the European Founders Fund.
In 2009, they decided to expand to international markets and started to serve in Dubai under the brand name “Foodonclick.com”. In the same period, they entered the Russian market with “YemekSepeti İzrestorana.ru”, but they terminated this project in November 2012 because they could not achieve the expected success.
In 2010, they launched the mobile application and started to receive 30,000 orders daily. During this period, the number of employees in the company reached 100.
In 2012, they received an investment of 44 million dollars from General Atlantic. This was also General Atlantic’s first investment in Türkiye. The number of daily orders increased to 50,000.
In 2015, global food ordering platform Delivery Hero acquired Yemek Sepeti for $589 million.
Trendyol initially started to take shape in the living room of Demet Mutlu’s house in Bebek, Istanbul. However, Demet Mutlu’s ideas soon exceeded the boundaries of this house and Trendyol grew rapidly by converting an apartment into an office. Sidar Şahin and Emre Kurttepeli, the founder of Mynet, were the first partners of the venture, which was launched with a capital of 300 thousand dollars in the first stage. With the investments, the company achieved a great success by increasing its value 500 times in just 16 months.
Since 2010, Trendyol has grown by collaborating with hundreds of thousands of SMEs in addition to the products it supplies itself. In 2018, 86.5% of the company’s shares were sold to Alibaba for USD 728 million and in 2021 for USD 1 Billion 78 Million with a capital increase of USD 350 million. Demet Mutlu still continues to serve as the CEO of the company with a 6.96% share.
In 2021, Trendyol’s brand value exceeded $16.5 billion, thus becoming Türkiye’s first “decacorn” company. The founder Demet Mutlu Üçok’s determined and persevering approach and customer-oriented strategies are behind Trendyol’s success. In addition, the data-driven attribution model, effective campaigns, and offering a fast and secure shopping experience by adapting quickly during the pandemic period were also effective in the company’s success.
Following the success in Türkiye, Trendyol started to actively operate in 27 countries in Europe. Reflecting its success in Türkiye, Trendyol developed applications such as Trendyol Market, Trendyol Express, Trendyol Food and Dolap and offered them to the market. Among the countries served by the company are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Croatia, Denmark, Italy and many other countries.
Opening its first office in Germany in 2022, Trendyol reached over 1 million customers by the end of the first year. Trendyol Collection, produced entirely in Türkiye, offers more than 800 brands to customers in Germany, including nearly 200 Turkish brands and global brands.
Founded in 1994 by Jeff Bezos under the name “Cadabra”, Amazon started online service as “Amazon.com” in 1995. Initially starting out as an online bookstore, the company has become the world’s largest online retailer over time. The name Amazon inspired it to grow like a river.
Amazon has earned its position as the preferred leader in online shopping thanks to its customer-oriented approach and its ability to accurately predict shopping trends. Founder Jeff Bezos adopted a different business plan that set him apart from the rest. At the beginning of the 21st century, when other e-companies were struggling, Amazon’s success was recognised as it managed to become the market leader in a short time.
Amazon initially grew by selling books, but over time it expanded into a wide range of products such as music CDs, software, toys, sporting goods and grocery products. The company’s biggest innovation was the Kindle e-book in 2007. But the key to Amazon’s growth, with $61 billion in profits and 97,000 employees, lay in the customer experience it provided. Jeff Bezos’ approach was to cut advertising spending and invest with a focus on customer satisfaction. Free shipping and competitive prices made Amazon impossible to ignore. The way it maintained relationships with customer representatives also formed the basis of their success.
Amazon enriches the customer experience by offering convenience and attractive service. In addition to creating wish lists, it offers recommendations based on purchased products and services. Today, Amazon provides services in areas such as cloud-based storage, computing services, and film and song streaming. Thanks to its customer-oriented approach and its endeavour to provide the best service, Amazon has become a company that has achieved great success.
In 2009, Jan Koum realised that there was a gap in the App Store for a messaging app. He contacted Igor Solomennikov, a mobile application developer in Russia, and they started developing a mobile messaging application. This application, released in May 2009, was named WhatsApp, inspired by the word “WhatsApp”.
However, WhatsApp did not achieve the predicted success at the beginning. The number of users was quite low and the application crashed frequently. The situation got to such a point that Jan Koum was thinking of abandoning his dream. But thanks to the motivational support of his friend Acton, Koum did not give up.
When Apple gave WhatsApp permission to send notifications to users, things started to change and Koum achieved the success he wanted. WhatsApp turned into a platform that allowed users to communicate for free around the world. With this development, the WhatsApp user base started to grow rapidly.
As of 2019, WhatsApp was receiving 2 million new registrations daily and now has more than 2 billion active users. Facebook acquired WhatsApp in 2014. Despite all the speculation, WhatsApp continues to grow day by day.
Peak Games, Türkiye’s leading mobile gaming company, was sold to US-based Zynga, one of the world’s leading gaming companies, in a $1.8 billion deal in June 2023. How did Peak Games become a unicorn? Here is the outline of this 10-year story:
The story begins to take shape with entrepreneur Sidar Şahin’s curiosity about the internet and entrepreneurship that started during his university years. He founded his first venture, a mobile game studio called Funpac, in 2003 and delivered his games to users in more than 30 countries through more than 20 operators and platforms. In 2006, he founded izlesene.com, a video sharing website, as his second venture and signed one of the most valuable initiatives in Türkiye’s internet industry. Afterwards, he establishes a new company called Gamegarden until 2008, sells this company to Doğan Group and becomes one of the founding partners of trendyol.com. In 2010, he returns to the gaming industry by founding Peak Games.
Peak Games attracts the attention of investors by growing with popular games on Facebook and receives large investments in a short time. In 2012, just two years after its establishment, Peak Games opens offices in different locations around the world. In 2016, it made a noise by filing a lawsuit against Hasbro and an agreement was reached as a result of the lawsuit. Peak Games gets closer to Zynga and sells its card and okey games to Zynga in 2017. By 2020, Zynga acquires Peak Games for $ 1.8 billion.
Sidar Şahin, the founder of Peak Games, which has an important place in the world mobile gaming market today, and his team believe that the basis of success is to come together with the right teams who are wholeheartedly committed.
Hande Çilingir and her partner Serhat Soyuerel, who stepped into the world of entrepreneurship with a language school called ‘English and More’, later decided to establish their venture called ‘Insider’. The duo, who wanted to operate in the field of technology, initially thought of turning to the e-commerce sector, but then started working on a different idea.
Çilingir and Soyuerel realised that countries that cannot export technology, software and codes will become dependent on other countries. For this reason, while establishing the Insider initiative, they focused on understanding the needs of the market. They analysed companies doing similar business.
At the end of a six-month process, they completed their market research and created product ideas. Hande Çilingir and the 5 partners who founded Insider adopted the idea of establishing a product company that aims to meet the needs of e-commerce sites. In this way, they aimed to export technology from Türkiye. Later, experienced names from companies such as P&G and Oracle joined the team. They started with a total of 6 founding partners. The recruited team consisted entirely of Turkish engineers and software developers. Insider started to provide services to companies and brands that provide online services or sales.
Insider aims to increase customer loyalty and growth of companies selling online. To achieve this, it operates as a multi-channel customer experience platform. As a startup, Insider also has growth targets. It realised its first overseas opening in Moscow, about nine months after its establishment. It then continued to expand into the Middle East and Eastern Europe.
This project is funded by the European Union under the ENHANCER program implemented by the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) and coordinated by the Ministry of Industry and Technology, Directorate General for Development Agencies. Üsküdar Municipality is responsible for the content contained herein and the European Union, ICMPD and the Turkish Ministry of Industry and Technology cannot be held responsible.