Finance technology takes lion's share of investment in 2019

TIMUR SIRT
ISTANBUL
Published 14.02.2020 20:07
emFile Photo/em
File Photo

Fintech startups worldwide managed to attract over 30% more investments last year compared to 2018, taking the lion's share of investment deals, while fintech startups in Turkey inked 17 investment deals worth $8.4 million

Investments in financial technology (Fintech) startups continue to increase every year. The amount invested in fintech startups totaled $20.1 billion in 2018, while it increased to $26.1 billion in 2019, according to the Startups.Watch Fintech report. As a result of a surge exceeding 30% year-on-year, 1,643 investment deals were inked last year.

In the same period, 17 fintech startups in Turkey made investment deals worth approximately $8.4 million. Fintech startups' job in Turkey is not an easy one due to the advanced banking services in Turkey. They need to be faster and more agile in the face of effective customer service of banks. Among the startups that received investment are Akaunting, Bankalarım, BiLira, Birleşik Ödeme, ComPay, Endeksa, Figopara, idverif, kassa, Kobaküs, manibux, manim, Metamorfoz, Moneymo, öde.al, Payfull and Paym.es.

US, India take the lead

While the total investment agreement of angel investment and venture capital funds has reached $26.1 billion all over the world, the United States, India, the United Kingdom, China and Germany topped the list with investments exceeding $1 billion. In the U.S., fintech startups reached $12.4 billion in funding by making 521 investment deals.

Finance, payment systems and the insurance sector were the top three in the investment agreements.

Acquisitions have also marked fintech startups. Founded in 2000, WageWorks took the top spot with a $2 billion acquisition. GenWorth, which was established in 2004, ranked second with a $1.8 billion sales agreement, followed by Kyriba C, established in 2000, with a $1.2 billion agreement. The acquisition of Turkish Iyzico by PayU for $165 million was also quite noteworthy given that it was founded in 2013.

Although Iyzico's potential seems much higher and it may seem early selling, the experience and the morale of its founders and investors may be even higher. Iyzico will continue to be a source of inspiration for many Fintech ventures and investors in the coming period.

Mobile World Congress canceled over coronavirus

The Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2020 event, which brings together the mobile technology ecosystem in Barcelona, has been canceled due to the threat of the coronavirus. Due to the cancellation of the event, the city of Barcelona will experience a loss of $500 million.

The MWC, the annual telecoms industry gathering which has been held in Barcelona and organized by the World GSM Association (GSMA) since 2006, was canceled after a mass exodus by exhibitors due to fears over the coronavirus outbreak.

The GSMA organization, which is made up of the world's leading telecom companies, decided to cancel the event, which was planned to be held Feb. 24-27, due to global concern regarding the virus outbreak, travel concerns and other circumstances.

The event brings together industry leaders, governments, ministers, policymakers, operators and technology firms in the ecosystem under the leadership of GSMA. Besides, in parallel with MWC, 4YFN startup activity had been organized for the last six years. The cancelation of the event is said to cost the city almost 500 million euros in income.

Huawei the main sponsor

Many companies recently came together after making the decision not to attend the event or to participate in a narrow scope. How the decision was to be implemented was a controversial subject because the city of Barcelona would suffer great economic loss. The fact that the main sponsor of the event was the Chinese company Huawei and that the firms participating in the fair were mostly from China and the Far East, as well as the persistence of the risk of infection, have been instrumental in making the decision.

Given the safe and healthy environment in Barcelona and Spain, GSMA announced that it decided to cancel MWC Barcelona 2020. GSMA and host Barcelona city officials announced that they would continue to support each other for MWC Barcelona 2021 and future events.

Company head partners with in-house startups

The two startups that received investment in Turkey's Zorlu Holding's in-house entrepreneurship platform Parlak Bi'Fikir's first cycle were ConectoHub and AbilityPool.

The two teams that invested in the first cycle of Parlak Bi'Fikir, which Zorlu Holding saw as one of the most important projects of its future vision of Smart Life 2030, signed a partnership agreement with the conglomerate.

The two were selected from hundreds of ideas following a six-month-long challenging process. Within the scope of this partnership, teams will also receive support from Zorlu Holding in the fields of law, accounting, finance and communication.

Zorlu Holding Board Member Emre Zorlu touched on the importance of innovation culture for companies and organizations at the signing ceremony. "As a group operating in various sectors, our need for different ideas is increasing day by day in this changing and transforming world. For this, we need to develop our corporate culture that drives innovation and spreads it to every part of the organization," Zorlu said. "With our in-house entrepreneurship platform Parlak Bi'Fikir, we think we can make a serious leap in this regard. The interest shown in the first cycle and the experience we have gained in the meantime give us hope for the future. We had a very productive process where we saw what we could do together, our mistakes, our solutions, our pros and cons. I believe that in the next cycles, many more of our friends will participate, and with the innovative ideas that will emerge, we will witness a process that not only the participating teams but also the Zorlu Group and our country will win together."

Smart life vision

Zorlu Holding Financial Affairs Group President and Sustainability Committee President Cem Köksal said that they would ensure the sustainability of innovation through in-house entrepreneurship.

"As part of our Smart Life 2030 vision, which has made sustainability a form of business, we focused on in-house entrepreneurship for sustainable innovation. With this business culture that encourages the creativity and innovation of our human resources, not only us but all our stakeholders will win in the long term," Köksal noted.

Metin Salt, general manager of Vestel Ventures, stated that they started to move the start-up model inside with the in-house entrepreneurship. "We carry our experience with Vestel Ventures to in-house entrepreneurship, which is an important advantage for us," he continued. "However, every system, every structure has different dynamics within itself. We still have a long way to go with regards to in-house entrepreneurship. But in the first cycle, we all learned a lot and raised awareness accordingly."

The first step for digital transformation

Giving tips on digital transformation to many small and medium-sized businesses in Turkey, GoDaddy tells about the culture of doing business on the internet at meetings across Turkey.

GoDaddy, which supports small and medium-sized enterprises and women-led enterprises while taking the first step toward the internet, explains the digital services it offers in Anatolian meetings. More detailed information is also offered during meetings where basic steps of doing business on the internet are explained. GoDaddy shared three ideas to help small business owners and entrepreneurs in Turkey to grow their online assets for evaluation by 2020. Stating that it aims to expand the businesses and customer base of enterprises of all sizes, GoDaddy stated that being more visible and accessible in the online world with a professional online identity can contribute to reaching this goal.

Stating that it is not enough to set up a website and wait for people to visit, GoDaddy shares Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tips for beginners to help small business owners and entrepreneurs increase their ranking in search results and become more visible. If internet speed is important in getting the work done, Turkey's leading information and communication technologies company Türk Telekom Fiber offers mobile solutions according to the infrastructure or location of the businesses. Good internet infrastructure has become indispensable for small and medium-sized businesses.

1.3 billion websites

GoDaddy stated that as of December 2019, there are almost 1.3 billion websites on the internet. Pointing out that 85% of these websites are not active, GoDaddy explained that the competition in the online world is still high, so small businesses and entrepreneurs' websites should be visible in search engines to increase their reach.

"We realize that small business owners and entrepreneurs in Turkey are having a hard time knowing what steps they need to take to grow their business online while focusing on their core business. Today, awareness of the necessity of having a business website is growing, but small business owners may not be comfortable with building their own websites and do not realize how websites can help them grow their businesses," GoDaddy Turkey, MENA and South Africa Senior Regional Director Selina Bieber said. "It is not enough to set up a website and wait for people to visit. They need to take advantage of tools like social media marketing, email marketing and, of course, SEO for visibility. By combining all these with GoDaddy Websites + Marketing Tools, we aim to help them create, manage and grow their online assets easily and cost-effectively."

Find keywords

When searching for keywords that will help people looking for your products and/or services find you, it may be helpful to ask, "What words would someone use to describe my business?"

For example, if you own a restaurant, you can start with a general keyword such as "restaurant." By including different details about your business, you can focus on some more specific phrases. For example, a fish restaurant in Istanbul. In this process, it is important to choose keywords that are suitable for your business. After creating a list of keywords, you can view search volumes using tools like the Google Keyword Planner, meaning you can see how many people use the words you choose when searching online. Tools like Google Trends can also help you choose which words to focus on by allowing you to view popular searches in your area.

Measure performance

The rules of the online world are changing quickly and frequently. For this reason, you must regularly measure the performance of your website and make improvements when necessary. With tools like Google Analytics, you can get data such as traffic sources on how your visitors find and use your website, which pages they visited and how long they stayed on each page. GoDaddy InSight, located within GoDaddy Websites + Marketing Tools, also offers specific, personalized action plans to help you succeed. You can measure how you perform in comparison to similar businesses, as well as get recommendations for your website and the industry in which you operate, covering many areas from social media activities to online comments.

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