Ken Morse, the Managing Director of MIT Entrepreneurship Center, accompanied a group of Sloan Students to Turkey. In Istanbul, they were hosted by the ARI Teknokent, the technopark project of the Istanbul Technical University. I was invited to be a panelist yesterday in a panel discussion titled, "Istanbul: A Globally-Linked "Cool" Hub for Entrepreneurship?" The panel was moderated by Memduh Karakullukcu, the General Manager of ARI Teknokent. The other panelists were:
Aydin Ersoz – CEO of Innova, a leading Turkish enterprise software developer
Cemil Turun – CEO of Yogurt, an innovative software house with a focus on computer graphics
Evren Unver – General Partner at Turkven, Turkey’s only independent private equity fund
We took turns sharing with the audience our view and experiences in entrepreneurship in Turkey. The summary of the discussion, along with the previous night’s dinner’s topics with Ken Morse, is that Turkey has inherited an entrepreneurial legacy, with Istanbul as the hub of commercial activity in the region for centuries, and right now, economic stabilization, lower interest rates, and the EU ascension plans combine to make Turkey a desirable target for capital.
The picture is fairly clear. All stakeholders seem to agree on the main points. Therefore, we should expect a big boom in entrepreneurial activity in Turkey, right? 🙂
Two pieces of exciting news from yesterday were that Turkven has closed another deal, bringing their investments to five, and that Innova is contemplating a Turkish IPO.