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Turkish Market’s Secret Sauce

This article is written by Mohammad Eslim, a Contributor Author at Startup Istanbul.

Wouter Gort was principal at Atomico from 2011 to June 2014. In 2004, he founded BST Company, an investment company in the Netherlands that helped develop startups. As an angel investor, he backed companies including o.a. Yelloyello (sold to Truvo), Soocial (sold to Viadeo), 1dayfly, and Zecco.

Since the last few years, Turkey has been showing up signs of emerging as a new market in the region. And even though the factors were slowly catalyzing the area in many aspects, there was an exponential growth since last few years. Right now, Turkey’s population is amazingly ready to go into startups and leading businesses into the new market in the region. On top of that, there were studies and statistics about the educational levels and technology penetrations the population have.

Recently, the numbers are showing that the market in Turkey is better than some European markets, however, that doesn’t automatically means that when you move or start your business in Turkey that it will rocket and scale quickly or in many cases, turn successful.

Many companies started moving their business to Turkey seeking marketplaces in the fresh market emerging there but many fail and that’s probably because of the researches done that lacks insightful eyes to deduce the important step in order to gain a huge, successful marketplace or industry in the region.  

The secret sauce is to localize first, you can’t copy/paste your business and want to somehow make everything working in the right way leading the business to prosperity. You have to know the Turkish culture first in order to be successful here. It’s not easy to approach Turkey from the western point of view as so many investors and incubators, who are famously successful around the world, don’t tend to do well here because of their lack of knowledge about the culture and how the businesses are to be handled in the region, specifically in turkey.

The opportunity in Turkey’s market is localization, what I think is currently happening with soap series that Turkey produces a lot of local content that has been seen around the whole region (the Middle East), which indicates that there is a high opportunity for Turkey to be a hub in the region and create local great companies that can have a huge impact in the Middle East.

There is a huge potential in Turkey to be that hub in the region, and the market still is new with great capacity that entrepreneurs won’t find as comfortable as other markets such as China, Berlin and so many on. To score strong and successful marketplaces in the emerging market in Turkey is hard for who aren’t aware of how essential it is to get to know and familiarize yourself with the culture, you have to approach the local market and build yourself in it in order to get the right start and then steady your place in the local market and after that you will find yourself growing in the right direction of the business plan you want to work in the regions market.

The point is, pay attention to the place you want to start your business in because you can’t expect any place’s culture to go with the same culture you came from and the same applies for business’s approaches. You can’t possibly expect Alcohol industry would succeed and make a hit in a country which’s culture prohibits alcohol beverages. Therefore, go in depths of the new market you are going to invest or build business in because no matter what, culture matters.

12 May 2019

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