With more than 4,000 participants and over 500 entrepreneurs from 65 countries, the fifth Startup Istanbul, held between Oct. 20 and Oct. 23, received great attention from the global startup scene.
Turkish startup investor Etohum, an important contributor to Turkey's reputation in the global enterprise ecosystem, along with their strategic partner Turkish Exporters Assembly (TİM) hosted the four-day event.
It worked as a platform for entrepreneurs from Turkey and all the other participating countries, giving them an opportunity to share experiences, enthusiasm, and promote new ideas.
Advancio Interactive from Nigeria, Momy Helper from Gaza, Palestine, and Indonesian startup Homade picked up the top prizes at this year's Startup Istanbul Challenge competition. Turkish enterprise Wolves Interactive received an honorable mention.
Training and competition on Demo DayFrom thousands of applications, 50 entrepreneurs were selected and given the opportunity to present their projects to investors on Demo Day.
Working in different fields, from financial technology and education to the service sector and the food industry, the entrepreneurs strove to attract the attention of leaders in the sector and took part in the finals following a two-day training program.
Advancio Interactive, Momy Helper, and Homade were the eventual winners in the final held on Oct. 23.
Meanwhile, Turkey's Wolves Interactive, which develops mobile racing games, received an honorable mention this year. The young enterprise looks primed for potential growth after their first application, launched in 2016, has hit 11 million downloads worldwide.
Branch-free banking solution from AfricaFinancial technology was the focus of a number of enterprises at Startup Istanbul. One of them, Advancio Interactive was established in Nigeria in 2016 as a financial technology company. It develops branch-free banking solutions. Its COVr branchless banking solution can be used in mobile phones, web and point-of-sale devices for account opening, agency-based deposits, cash withdrawal, money transfer, bill payments and many more key financial transactions carried out by agencies on behalf of financial institutions.
Far Eastern solution battles unhealthy foodHomade is an enterprise based in Indonesia that describes itself as "food explorers." It was developed to battle unhealthy and low-quality food items in the market. Homade works with organic urban farms and a network of home cooks to find and deliver high-quality foods.
Turkey should open doors to more entrepreneursEtohum founder Burak Büyükdemir and his team organizes two international events in Istanbul and Antalya every year as part of the entrepreneurship ecosystem and has achieved some important successes so far.
Etohum events together with Webrazzi, attract important global enterprises and investors to Turkey every year while enabling people and enterprises from different countries and cultures to come under one roof.
The events that Burak Büyükdemir and Aslı Büyükdemir built with great sacrifices, including the smallest member of the family, contribute to the formation of the enterprise ecosystem in Turkey.
"If Turkey succeeds in attracting more international entrepreneurs and investors to the country, it will have significant power in the region," Burak said.
Tesla's first investor on stage
An award-winning entrepreneur, Tim Draper, who was one of Tesla's first investors and is regarded as the 46th most distinguished Harvard graduate, also attended the Startup Istanbul 2017 event alongside 50 other speakers and 500 investors.
World-renowned strategy and innovation consultant, Dan Toma, founder and CEO of Test My Pitch Bill Kenney, Techstar entrepreneur Eamonn Carey, and author-entrepreneur Amal Dokhan, were among the others who delivered speeches during the event.
Online support for mothers
Another winner at the Startup Istanbul was MomyHelper, which was developed in Gaza, Palestine. MomyHelper stands out as a mobile application that provides Arab mothers with easy, confidential and affordable access to professional consultancy on a range of issues, including child raising, marital problems as well as other physical and mental health issues. The enterprise aims to bring a healthy and successful lifestyle for mothers in the Arab countries.