The Workup Entrepreneurship Program, primarily backed by the Turkish private lender Işbank, has selected its eighth-term graduates.
Seven startups were deemed successful enough to graduate from the acceleration program, including The Academys, Beklemesen, Ecording, Efilli, Finfree, Livad and Retter Business Services, all of which shared their business models and roadmaps during this week’s Demo Day.
Ongoing since 2017, the Workup Entrepreneurship Program has received a total of 13,000 applications to date, together with 600 for the eighth term.
A total of 81 startups have so far been deemed successful enough to graduate from the program, which has accepted some 107 startups to date.
Some 59 graduate ventures are still active and are continuing their entrepreneurial journey. A total of 30 different startups included in the program have so far received a total of $7.2 million (TL 64.26 million) in investments.
Addressing the Demo Day, held online, Işbank General Manager Hakan Aran said there is a serious positive correlation between the employment startups create with their growth and the growth of the country.
“So, the growth of the country is supported by the support for entrepreneurs,” Aran noted.
Aran stressed some turning points as he elaborated on the lender’s entrepreneurial journey.
These include their Maxis Innovative Venture Capital Investment Fund, which provides capital support to promising early-stage ventures, the API portal for startups as well as Softtech Ventures, which sets up new ventures based on innovative ideas.
He also noted the bank’s acquisition of the fintech startup Moka Ödeme last year to diversify payment systems. Aran further highlighted the marketing platform that they established to transform their competencies in the field of e-commerce into a new ecosystem.
Aran announced they will be launching an entrepreneurship branch this year to provide financial support to startups. Differing from a conventional bank branch with a unique design and customized service model, the branch will serve only startups and the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
“Within the scope of our vision of becoming a platform that combines agriculture, finance and technology, we have also launched the WorkupAgri agricultural entrepreneurship program under the umbrella of Workup to support only agriculture-oriented technology initiatives and strengthen agriculture in our country with sustainable solutions,” the general manager said.
In addition, he noted they are partnering with one of the strong stakeholders in the ecosystem, the Vehbi Koç Foundation and Koç University, to implement a new and powerful platform to further support entrepreneurs in a bid to focus on sustainability and impact investing.
The Maxis Innovative Venture Capital Investment Fund has so far invested $3.13 million in five startups, according to Aran, together with a TL 1.9 million ($212,858) investment in Mindside, a graduate of Workup’s sixth term, in January this year and PCI Checklist, a portfolio company that also graduated from the acceleration program, in July.
“We believe that entrepreneurship is not just a thought structure unique to startup founders. In this context, we have launched our In-House Entrepreneurship Program in order to strengthen the competencies of our bank’s employees to act like entrepreneurs and to encourage the emergence of innovative business ideas,” he noted.
“We plan to implement some of the valuable ideas conveyed by our employees within the scope of the In-House Entrepreneurship Program in such a way that they stand on their own feet in the bank’s product line or outside before the end of this year.”
Below are the features of the seven startups that graduated from the eighth term of the Workup Entrepreneurship Program.
The Academys: An initiative that provides training in many fields to those who want to make a career in the e-sports industry and provides e-sports integration of brands with tournaments and events.
Beklemesen: A marketplace platform that saves time by allowing customers to create and pay their orders at self-service coffee sellers beforehand before they arrive and take their deliveries.
Ecording: A social enterprise that develops sustainable and innovative environmental technologies against the global climate crisis by using self-developed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to fire seed balls at areas that need to be reforested but are in areas that are hard to reach.
Efilli: A cookie management platform that allows users to easily collect permissions regarding the cookies used by websites.
Finfree: A new generation mobile investment platform rich in education, basic analysis and portfolio tracking tools that aims to enable investors to invest in stocks traded on the Turkish and American stock exchanges with a simple investment experience.
Livad: A startup that aims to enable publishers to convert their content into money on a regular basis and to enable brands to reach customers effectively thanks to the live broadcast advertising technologies it has developed.
Retter Business Services: A service platform that offers cloud-based ready-made business models to companies serving the end-user.