NY-based search start up Hakia has closed an $11m round of funding from a diverse set of investors:
Poland’s Prokom Investments, an investment group active in the oil, real estate, IT, financial and biotech sectors.
Turkey’s KVK, distributes mobile telecom services and products in Turkey.
Also from Turkey, angel investor Murat Vargi pitched in some funding. He is one of the founding shareholders in Turkcell, a mobile operator and the only Turkish company listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
In Malaysia, Hakia secured funding from angel investor Lu Pat Ng, who represented his family, which has substantial investments in companies worldwide.
From Finland, Hakia turned to Dr. Pentti Kouri, an economist and VC who was a member of the Nokia board in the 1980s.
In the United States, Hakia received funding from Alexandra Investment Management, an investment advisory firm that manages a global hedge fund.
Also from the U.S., former Senator and New York Knicks basketball player Bill Bradley has joined the company’s board, along with Dr. Kouri, Mr. Vargi, Anuj Mathur of Alexandra Investment Management, and Hakia CEO Riza Berkan.
Hakia’s line on not having top tier VCs in the round is:
Berkan resisted VC firms because he worried they would demand too much
control and push development too fast to get the technology to the
product phase so they could earn back their investment.
I understand his line of thinking and agree that aggressive VC pressure has hurt many ventures. However, the buzz and network effect that rides in with a top-tier VC could be a valuable weapon when going up against Google.
One side note on this story is that Murat Vargi’s investment in Hakia earned him a cover story on Forbes Turkey (unbelievably, with no website!, thus no link), with the caption "Vargi investing in the next Google". Just that coverage for Murat Vargi, who usually keeps a low profile, is a nice dividend for his investment.
I keep rooting for Hakia.