Regulations in the banking and finance sector have paved the way for innovative financial technology startups. Ventures providing every service except collecting deposits without a wet-ink signature are included in the banking and finance sector. Even before the end of 2020, banks introduced many innovations such as a new payment system that enables 24/7 money transfers without the need to use international bank account numbers (IBAN).
The year 2021 will not only be the year of technological developments in the banking sector but also one with many financial technology startups. Leading finance technology startups such as Iyzico, Param, Oldubil, BTC Türk and FigoPara came together at the Ventures60 event. With banks, financial technology startups and regulation institutions, 2021 is a candidate to be the year of fintech in Turkey. It is becoming more popular to buy financial technology startups instead of banks in Turkey. While investing in Iyzico two years ago, global financial technology startups such as PayU were waiting for changes in regulations. Now, fintech firms such as Param and Figopara in Turkey are competing for a share in the global market.
Banks have also begun to turn their attention toward financial technology startups to get agile. Ihsan Elgin, the experienced name of the financial technology ecosystem and a member of the board of Finberg, summarized the fintech companies that banks are interested in.
“We think that startups that made mistakes in their previous work but gained experience in order not to make these mistakes again will be successful,” Elgin said. “We are interested in startups that have talent that the customer needs and that we do not have. It enables the customers to quickly implement the easy services they need. We are interested in startups with innovative ideas and the ability to implement them. That is why we invested in FigoPara. Moreover, there is an experienced entrepreneur who has managed a successful sales process with Foriba.”
Drawing attention to the fact that money also has a shelf life, FigoPara founder and CEO Koray Bahar stated that they witnessed the collapse of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that could not manage their cash flow during the pandemic period.
“First large institutions and now SMEs share their sensitive data with us. While we enable them to focus on their business, we prevent them from having financial needs or cash flow problems. Thus, we increase the circulation speed of cash in the supply chain,” Bahar said, adding that their goal with the latest investment is to open up to the global market.
In the “There is a cooperation” titled section at the Ventures60 event, Birol Ergüven, a Limak Customer Solutions Inc. board member, stressed that they cover many needs of a family, not just electricity distribution, with the services they have provided for years, and explained how they positioned their Oldubil brand, a digital services platform including financial technologies.
“We focus on a platform solution, not just for the needs of the Limak group,” he said. “In fact, we want to take this experience in the investments of the group to different countries. We aim to share the Oldubil experience with the institutions we cooperate with, in our investments in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa. We want to provide financing when needed and to enrich it with smart home solutions.”
Param founder Emin Can Yılmaz stated that they have believed in a solution-oriented approach since its establishment.
“When we started this business 17 years ago, there was not even the concept of fintech. When we started to work with the Baro Card, we always put ourselves in the user’s shoes,” he continued. “We put the happiness of the customers, of the institution we serve, at the center. In cooperation with Limak, we focused on solving the problem of Oldubil users 24/7. We focused on doing this in our 17 projects. We have always remembered that we are a startup. That’s why every colleague, especially the managers, is solution-oriented. Now is the time to take this experience abroad. Sometimes we will do this with our own investments with the institutions we cooperate with. This year we will start becoming more visible.”
Stating that what the customer has in mind in the new period is clear, founder of iyzico, a fintech company, and CEO Barbaros Özbuğutu stated that the customer will focus on getting service from the institution that creates value.
“It doesn’t matter whether it’s a bank or fintech. The period in which institutions that create value for the customer, in the long run, will gain,” Özbuğutu noted. “I have been using financial services in Turkey for seven years. I saw and experienced that they made decisions in the form of imposition. I have seen that banks are mostly struggling with their own problems. However, it is necessary to give the customer the value he deserves. We will focus on this issue.”
Stating that people in Turkey prefer investment instruments with a long-term perspective, BTC Türk CEO Özgür Güneri explained that he also views investment instruments in this way.
“We have seen that people channel their savings into a long-term and reliable tool in Turkey,” Güneri said. “We know that instead of temporary trends, tools with an open, transparent, decentralized philosophy such as bitcoin will remain strong. Due to its independent and distributed structure, we leaned back and watched the presidential change in the U.S. We know from previous experience how good it is to act the correct way without panic. Since 2013, we have been striving to be a trustworthy institution in this sector under the name of BTC Türk.”
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