500 Startups is proud to announce new Venture Partner Erhan Erdogan and Fund Advisor Erbil Karaman.
With half of population under the age of 30, this young market has well educated workforce, a massive talent pool, skilled mentors, early adopters and tech-savvy thinkers. Turkey has an incredible growth of entrepreneurship where it has been backed by investments both from indigenous and foreign venture capital companies and supported by incentives from the government. Erbil, Fund Advisor of 500 Startups, said : “It is no coincidence that for more than 30,000 years Anatolia was home to the greatest civilizations existed in history. With a young, tech-savvy and entrepreneurial nation, soon we will be reading the story of 500 unicorns”
Erhan Erdogan, Venture Partner of 500 Startups, said “Timing’s perfect for #500STRONG presence in Turkey. We are excited to have opportunity shift to the Turkish internet ecosystem. We’re also excited to combine forces and build a bigger future together.”
The strategic position between East and West makes Turkey a seedbed for local startups, an access bridge for both regional and global startups in addition to multinational companies. There are now direct flights from Turkey to many of the world’s capitals, Silicon Valley, MENA, Asia and Europe.
OECD estimates that Turkey will be the third highest growing country after China and India by 2017 and will surpass India after 2017 to become number two. As a result of this young creative energy, consistent growing economy, strong telecommunications and logistics infrastructure; Turkey is on the rise to become a regional startup hub.
Khailee Ng, Managing Partner of 500 Startups, said “We step up to the plate. 500 Startups plans to increase its activities and will be very bullish on opportunities to invest in Turkey market which is underserved by seed stage venture capital companies.”
Erbil is known for bringing the most ambitious Turkish entrepreneurs to Silicon Valley and jumpstarting what some call the “Turkish mafia”. Mafia includes; SpeedDate, Branch.com, Wanelo and Udemy.
After 6 internet ventures and 2 exits, Erbil joined Facebook to help the company reach 1 billion people, one of the most important milestones in Facebook’s history. As part of the founding team, he co-led Internet.org, bringing global awareness into products and and kicking off technology innovation efforts to provide internet to the two thirds of the world. Throughout his time at Facebook, Erbil has hired key leaders both in US and London.
Erbil is an experienced product builder, growth marketer, talent hunter and angel investor. Having one foot in Silicon Valley and another one in Turkey, his life mission is to make Istanbul one of the top technology hubs in the world.
Erhan Erdogan brings more than 10 years experience in Turkish local internet market and expanding global internet giants in Turkey. He started his career writing about Silicon Valley culture and vertical industry analysis for Webrazzi (local Techcrunch) as the first writer. After that, he had many challenging years working on expanding global centaurs and unicorns into Turkish market (such as he worked 4.5 years for Russian search engine Yandex, as the first employee). He is experienced in bringing right products to market, highly inter-linked with local startup ecosystem and passionate about helping founders succeed.