Istanbul-based event organiser and seed investor Startup Istanbul is raising a $10 million VC fund, targeting startups in the Middle East and North Africa region (Mena) Africa and Asia.
“We decided to start the fund as we believe that there’s a huge, untapped opportunity in these emerging markets, and that the US and European investors are found to be not so much interested in investing in startups in these regions. This is our investment thesis,” Burak Buyukdemir, founder and managing director of Startup Istanbul told Wamda.
“With this lockdown situation, raising investment has been difficult for early-stage startups for the last year. And this is the reason that we are raising our fund to invest in them,” he added. “From the Middle East, we have been receiving startup applications from Egypt, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, among others.”
The Startup Istanbul Fund plans to invest $50,000 per company for a total of 100 companies to be invested in three years. The fund will have a 25 per cent follow-on reserve and will aim to be deployed to approximately 25 companies.
Launched over a decade ago, Startup Istanbul has been organising the tech-focused event, gathering startups, investors, relevant organisations and corporations in Istanbul and from other parts of the world. “It's not a Turkish event. Normally, it is an event for all entrepreneurs globally. We have received more than 200,000 applications in the last three years, from 170 countries,” he explained.
The company started a remote acceleration programme a couple of years ago. With Covid-19, it has been progressing more in this model, pursuing promising startups from different parts of the world.
To date, 700 startups pitched on Startup Istanbul’s stage; 111 of which received seed investment, 33 received Series A or B rounds, and dozens were acquired after their participation in the event.