Turkish entrepreneur’s property startup secures record investment

Tiko, a home-buying startup of prominent Turkish entrepreneur Sina Afra, has raised $65 million in a record Series A investment round as it set its sights on a rollout in other European markets and expansion of its workforce

Picking up where it left off, the Turkish startup ecosystem started the second half of the year with a record investment agreement.

Tiko, a home-buying startup of prominent Turkish entrepreneur Sina Afra, has raised $65 million in a Series A investment round in Spain to expand internationally.

Tiko is a startup that followed Afra’s Evtiko venture that ended its operations in Turkey in 2019.

Tiko’s investment round is the largest of its kind in Turkey. It beat Dream Games’ $50 million Series A round. The Turkish mobile games startup in late June raised $155 million from investors in a Series B investment round, valuing the business at $1 billion.

Afra’s Evtiko showed that a new model is possible. Afra has proved to all entrepreneurs that even if they fail in their own countries, they should not be discouraged if they believe in the success of their model.

Founded in 2017, Tiko aims to reduce the sales process for property sellers from several months to a week. The startup offers to buy the property at a nominal discount of the sale price, which effectively means the seller can expedite the transaction for a minor financial hit.

The Tiko team runs its real estate operations in Spain through the management and technical operations based in Turkey.

Series A investment tour

The venture’s Series A investment round was led by BTOV and Rocket Internet along with existing angel investors Joel Ayala along with Class 5 Ventures and former Voi and Lime executive Noah Khamallah.

The new capital is said to be used for expansion into Portugal as well as enlargement of the company’s workforce from approximately 75 employees distributed between Turkey and Madrid.

While Tiko’s valuation has not been disclosed, it will not be surprising if it reaches a billion-dollar valuation in a Series B investment round.

Explaining the journey they embarked on, Afra underlined that the basic rule of entrepreneurship is to challenge.

“The same management and technical team are at work. It is the same brand as Tiko, except for the “home” (the “ev” in Evtko means home in Turkish), but it can implement a business model in a different market,” he said.

“After all, we knew what we were doing was right. The timing may be early for some markets and right for others. Entrepreneurship sometimes requires striving until the end to find the right path. This is not only limited to finding the product-customer harmony, but sometimes the macro-environment needs to be found,” Afra noted.

“I think we should embrace all startups coming out of our country. We must own it.”

Afra further stressed the need of owning our successful entrepreneurs in the entrepreneurial ecosystem and all stakeholders in the ecosystem.

“We are not just a Spanish venture just because we are in Spain today,” he added. “Once we reach France and Portugal tomorrow, we will not be a French venture either. I always look at ‘where is the management.’ Getir is not a Dutch company. It is not a United Kingdom venture either as it is now in London.”

The crucial point underlined by Afra is to embrace the success of startups and to offer better quality human resources and infrastructure to create funds for them.

Startup ecosystem gains experience

According to its website, Evtiko is a property technologies (Proptech) venture operating in Spain and Turkey, aiming to bring an innovative perspective to the real estate sector by using its technology infrastructure.

While its technological infrastructure is managed from its Istanbul headquarters, real estate operations are carried out in Spain under the Tiko brand. It raised the funding as a brand in Spain and as a startup with a management and technical team in Turkey.

As the founder and president of the Turkish Startup Foundation, Afra is one of the most experienced and successful entrepreneurs of the Turkish ecosystem. His first step toward global success was with Markafoni. Now, thanks to his experience and network, he is more experienced in global operations.

Global investment networks also appreciate this. Digitalization gained great importance in the real estate sector, which went through great uncertainty during the coronavirus pandemic period.

Tiko aims to lead a major change in the real estate sector by making offers to those who want to sell their house within 24 hours, thanks to its algorithms supported by artificial intelligence (AI) technology in its infrastructure, without the need to visit the house.

Embrace the success

The Turkish ecosystem learns new things from every startup that moves on this path, including Peak, Getir, Trendyol, Yemeksepeti, Gittigidiyor, Hepsiburada, Dream, Insider, Sahibinden and Tiko, regardless of whether they officially reached a billion-dollar valuation or not.

Through e-commerce, games and software, we should launch more successful ventures in every vertical. That is why we need well-trained people and experienced entrepreneurs.

Consequently, we should embrace every venture that contributes to human resources, taxes, exports and a data-oriented business culture, and pave the way for fair competition in Turkey. Entrepreneurs and software developers of all nationalities and faiths should strive to see their future in Turkey. In other words, we should strive to be a part of the world’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.


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