Insights MENA Turkey

The Five Entrepreneurs to Watch in Turkey


Turkey’s population is on the verge of reaching the 77 million mark and a huge chunk of it is composed of young and educated lot. They gravitate to the heart of the country, Istanbul. It has about 14 million dwellers, making the metropolis one of the largest urban conglomeration in all of Europe. In recent years its economy is booming. It is, therefore, a matter of consequence for the city to produce a haul of entrepreneurs who must drive the city and the country towards the global digital age.

If you would want to know about Turkey’s entrepreneurial spirit, get to know five of its most prolific entrepreneurs.


Nevzat Aydin

Recently, Aydin was cited as Turkey’s most successful young entrepreneur. He was the founder of Yemeksepeti, which is online startup that maintains a network of restaurants, operating within an online food ordering business model. The startup is a pioneering and high impact business. It is not only profitable, as it receives at least 40,000 orders daily – but it is also quite influential in the development of startup entrepreneurship in Turkey as well as in how the local market embraced e-commerce. Aydin has successfully expanded Yemeksepeti’s operations to key Gulf cities as well as in Russia.


Demet Suzan Mutlu

As a successful female entrepreneur with her Trendyol, Mutlu is easily one of the faces of Istanbul’s startup community. She represents the idea that opportunity and success in commercial enterprise is not limited to the male demographics. She underlines the degree of diversity and maturity of the local startup ecosystem especially with regards to areas concerning business practices and consumer culture.


Hakan Bas

Wired UK declared that Hakan was the hottest Turkish startup in 2012. This is quite appropriate because Lidyana – though a traditional ecommerce company – is typified by unique and very effective models that sets it apart in the Turkish marketplace. Bas built this online jewelry and accessories shop by engaging celebrities and bloggers and by shamelessly exploiting social media. The result is a startup that has impeccable brand recognition and very cost effective operations. Bas is a seasoned veteran, having been a co-founder of another Turkish startup  success story, Peak Games before founding Lidyana.


Emre Sokullu

Simply put, Emre Sokullu is the closest to what one would call the Turkish startup whiz. AT 22 he founded GROU.PS, a Turkish social network. This startup is immensely successful today and he sits as its CEO at 31. Prior to GROU.PS, Sokullu was also a founder of Turkix/SimpleKDE, which is touted as Windows-like Linux distribution for the local desktop market. He is definitely someone to watch out for as his interests cover open source, operating systems, AI and social media.



Tolga Yalcinkaya

Yalcinkaya is an entrepreneur and investor. His expertise include years of working for American companies such as Sprint. He came back to Istanbul to found his own startups, invest in those found by others and contribute to the local ecosystem by supporting new breed of entrepreneur and innovative ideas. His most important works include his involvement with Cloud Arena, Allesta and Hisar Capital LLC.



About the author

Nellie Horn

Nellie graduated from University of Mannheim with an Economics Major and has lived in the USA, Germany, and Spain. After part being of the Deutsche Bahn’s Investor Relations team, she specialized in Innovation Management. Nellie has gained expertise in many aspects of the R&D process, thanks to her multi-million euro project assistance at the Helmholtz Centre Berlin, co-authoring a publication on German cities’ innovative behavior at the Center for European Economic Research, and working at the pioneering SAP Innovation Labs. At Seedstars World, she will pair her financial experience with tech savvy while organizing the 2014 tour as one of our scouts!