This week's Entrepreneur of the Week is Melih Odemis, co-founder of Yemeksepeti, an online food ordering and delivery service that also operates in the Middle East and North Africa through the site FoodOnClick.
The company, now an Endeavor Turkey company, is a success story to learn from. It now boasts 1.5 million users and connection to 8,000 restaurants in Turkey, the UAE, and Russia, handles around 50,000 orders a day, employs more than 200 people in Turkey, and is set to scale throught the Arab World with FoodOnClick after recently closing a round of $44 million in funding led by General Atlantic.
Yet the company was hardly an overnight success. Not only did the company open in November 2000, right as Turkey was going through the biggest economic crisis in its history, but it opened early enough that internet penetration was quite low, hovering around 2 million users.
When internet penetration in Turkey began to increase quickly, (now around 30 million internet users), Yemeksepeti began to grow at a rate of 200% a year, Odemis recalls. He discusses the challenges of growing to keep pace with demand, and how they funded the company back when VCs and angel investors were not readily available, challenges he also discusses in his recent talk at CoE E-Commerce.
As foreign money comes into Turkey, it creates opportunities for young entrepreneurs, he says; yet, he advises, they must always think about building something viable before seeking investment.
Watch the complete interview here:
Watch the video in multiple parts below: