Turkey is in the billion-dollar investment league with $1.3 billion investment in the first half of 2021

Turkish Startup Ecosystem received $1.3 billion investment in the first half of 2021 with 129 deals. Dream Games and Hepsiburada joined the billion-dollar startup league that includes Peak, Getir and Trendyol.

At the Turkish Startup Ecosystem 2021 2nd Quarter event organized by, the figures that carried Turkey into the billion-dollar investment league were announced. According to the figures announced at the event, where many statistics and predictions were shared with the startup ecosystem, in the second quarter of 2021, startups received a total investment of $746 million with 63 investment agreements. Thus, in the first half of 2021, startups received a total investment of $1.3 billion with 129 deals. Dream Games has a billion-dollar valuation with a $155 million Series B investment deal, while Hepsiburada has reached a value of $4.2 billion as of now, after its listing in New York. With a valuation of $7.5 billion, Getir has also set its sights on the US market.


Within the scope of angel and VC investments, Turkey ranked 8th in Europe and 2nd in the Middle East and North Africa in the second quarter. Compared to the second quarters of 2021, Turkey received more investments from many European countries such as Finland, Norway, Austria, Denmark, Ireland, Italy, Belgium and Poland. When we look at angel investment and venture capital investments per capita, $8.8 were invested per capita in the second quarter of 2021 in Turkey. With this statistic, Turkey left behind countries such as Italy, Greece, Portugal, Russia and Poland.


Istanbul continued to experience its golden age in entrepreneurial ecosystem investments. 49 of the 63 enterprises that received investment in the second quarter were made to enterprises in Istanbul. In terms of game studios, Istanbul continued to rank second in Europe, last from London.

14 gaming startups received investment in Q2. In the first half of 2021, 29 game startups received investment. Peak, Getir, Trendyol, Hepsiburada, Dream GamesThe number of billion-dollar startups in Turkey has reached 5. In 2021, 5 funds with a total of $91 million were established in Turkey.


Turk Telekom’s 9th term initiatives have been announced in PILOT, the startup acceleration program. Eighteen teams that develop qualified and original technology solutions, focused on artificial intelligence, were selected for the program. Turk Telekom’s venture acceleration program PILOT’s 9th term startup, 18 teams have been announced. Each of the startups will be offered ₺200 thousand cash support, as well as the opportunity to cooperate with Turk Telekom and receive investment from TT Ventures. In addition, those selected from among the teams completing the program this year will have the opportunity to participate in the 4-week USA program of Plug&Play, the world’s largest innovation platform. Turk Telekom Strategy, Planning and Digital Deputy General Manager Baris Karakullukcu said: The new era PILOT initiatives are as follows: Adnsafe, which provides ad verification service, Agrovisio, the smart agriculture application, Arcanor, the artificial intelligence and deep learning data service, Barty, the circular economy green fintech solution, charging station solution Bluedot, autonomous business process development platform Cameralyze, collective data disclosure service Co-one, cost estimation and supply chain management solution Costifier, Counterfake, which detects counterfeit products on digital platforms, social media decision support solution Earnado, artificial intelligence supported neuro technology platform emoty.Al, artificial intelligence and natural language processing based customer experience solution Feedgage, supply chain management platform Freightest, artificial intelligence based pattern and texture production software MYTH.AI, e-commerce analytics solution, 3D quality control solution, cyber security solution Wallids and video analytics solution Xena-Vision.”


Karakullukcu said, “Our goal, since the first day, is to support entrepreneurs, strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystem and provide innovative products and services to our customers by collaborating with startups. With PILOT, we offer cash capital and mentor support, which is the most needed by startups. We also provide startups with the opportunity to cooperate with Turk Telekom, trainings, business connections and access to investors, and we are growing startups by investing with TT Ventures. Those selected among the teams participating in the PILOT program will also have the opportunity to participate in the 4-week USA program of the world’s largest innovation platform Plug&Play.”


The 18 teams selected for PILOT will have access to a wide mentor network, big investors and Turk Telekom’s business connections during the program. The teams will also participate in various trainings during the program, receive office space, technology infrastructure, mobile communication package and promotional support. At the end of the program, teams to be selected from among 18 startups will participate in the 4-week America program of Plug&Play, one of the world’s largest innovation and venture capital platforms. In this way, they will have the opportunity to promote their ideas to investors around the world and to cooperate with global companies. Turk Telekom has provided cash support of over ₺5 million in total to 73 PILOT graduate startups, while graduate startups employed 850 people and achieved a turnover of ₺60 million last year. 31 of the graduate startups received investment.


Industry and Technology Minister Mustafa Varank stated that 63 startups from Turkey received an investment of $746 million in the second quarter of the year and said, “With this performance, our country has outstripped many European countries such as Finland, Norway, Austria, Denmark, Ireland, Italy and Belgium.”

In his speech at the “Turkey Startup Ecosystem 2021 2nd Quarter Conference” held online, Varank reminded that Turkey launched its first “unicorn” with Peak Games last year, “Turcorn” as it is called in Turkey, and showed the potential it has to the whole world. Stating that this success was not a coincidence, it was proven with the emergence of Getir and Dream Games as new “Turcorns” at the beginning of this year, Varank said, “There is still a way to go in line with the goal of producing at least 10 Turcorns by 2023.”


Noting that the performance of the entrepreneurship ecosystem in the second quarter of 2021 confirms this, Varan said, “When we look at the first 6 months of the year, we see that 129 startups from our country have reached an investment volume of $1.3 billion.”

Pointing out that venture capital funds are of vital importance for the entrepreneurship ecosystem, Minister Varank said, “TechInvesTR is at the forefront of the funds we have created. In the program we developed in cooperation with TUBITAK and the Ministry of Treasury and Finance, we created a ‘fund of funds’ mechanism. Through this fund, we will contribute to 5 venture capital funds that will invest in Turkey. In this way, we anticipate reaching a fund size of approximately ₺1.7 billion and investing in approximately 150 technology-based early-stage startups.”


Stating that they also support entrepreneurs through Development Agencies, TUBITAK and KOSGEB, Varank said, “Within the scope of the TUBITAK Individual Young Entrepreneur Program (BIGG) program, we have opened 12 calls and received more than 35 thousand business idea applications. We turned 4,500 business ideas into business plans and evaluated them in the second stage panels. One thousand 500 of them were entitled to receive support and established techno-enterprise companies. The amount of support we provide to these companies has approached ₺300 million.” Varank stated that information can be obtained from the address “” for the support they provide to entrepreneurs.


Minister Varank asked Getir Founder Nazim Salur, who attended the event, what he was doing to support new entrepreneurs and whether he was considering establishing a venture capital fund. Salur also told Minister Varank, “This is our debt to the Turkish society, to these lands. We just have to time it right. We started investing in Start-ups related to Getir’s business. If we lead by creating some funds in the coming years, many of our friends and colleagues say, ‘We will invest in the fund’. I think we can raise several hundred million dollars in funds here. That’s my intention in the next few years.”

Nazim Salur answered the question about going to the stock market as follows: “We find the money from venture capital funds under the conditions we want. There are advantages and disadvantages of raising investments from the stock market. I do not think that we will need such a need in 2 years since we have found suitable conditions at the moment.” Underlining that the main focus will be on the US market with his recent investments, Salur continued his words as follows: “We are pleased with the figures in Europe at the moment. There was an organization ready for Italy, Spain and Portugal. We added it to our structure with the purchase. We will act according to the results of the pandemic in South America. However, with our latest investment, our main focus will be on the US market. The success we achieve here will be decisive.”

Nazim Salur said that the pandemic was not decisive in their success, and that the numbers proved this in the periods when the effect of the pandemic passed.

Source: Sabah / Translated by Irem Yildiz

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