Workinton CEO, Pınar Massena describes Turkey’s earlystage
ecosystem, illustrates where her organisation fits into
this picture, and explains what makes Workinton different.
The prevalence of incubation centers has increased rapidly in the last few years. These centers typically host technology based startups – hallmarks of a new economic era – in order to help them establish a clear vision for their projects, and to help them achieve sustainable growth. In order to develop this new economy, Angel Investors focus on incubation centers, specifically diverting energy and capital toward the promising startups contained within. To get deeper insight on this relationship between Angel Investors and incubation centers, Angel Investor Magazine met up with the CEO of Workinton incubation Center, Pınar Massena.
Tell us about incubation centers, investors, and the startup ecosystem in Turkey?
In Turkey we have between 5800 and 6000 startups, and the number is increasing every day. Generally, these startups take residence in one of the 39 incubation centers or accelerator programmes in our ecosystem. 300 certified corporate investors and 47 technoparks also play a role in this ecosystem. Thanks to the activities of all these players, the USD $70m of investment attracted in 2016 was a figure that was comfortably exceeded in 2017. Examining the characteristics of individual investments, one observes surprisingly small figures. More than 90% of these investments are for the early-stage, indicating a clear focus on providing our startups with resources to enable them to take a chance in the global market.
“We bring together
mentors, startups, and
experience, and funding.”
What role does Workinton play in this ecosystem?
Startups that need to commercialise their concepts – and require the support of experienced mentors – make use of Workinton and its specialist networking support. We have 14 different co-working spaces. Moreover, in the Workinton Incubation Center we bring together mentors, startups, and investors; concocting powerful synergies between ideas, experience, and funding. We have a 3-stage system through which startups are supported. Through a process of pre-incubation, incubation, and finally, accelerator programmes, entrepreneurs are helped to scale their operations significantly. More specifically, the process often gives entrepreneurs a chance to open up to the global market.
What solutions do you provide for the startups that work with Workinton?
First and foremost, we make every effort to inspire the entrepreneurs in the Workinton Incubation Center, as well as those in the Lonca Entrepreneurship Center – which we co-founded with KuveyTurk Bank. We believe that the more entrepreneurs we reach, and the more motivated and empowered they are, the more attention we gain from investors.
The number of Angel Investment networks, incubation centers, and entrepreneurship programmes is increasing every single day. As Workincubation, we provide systematic development and mentorship programmes for the startups, before bringing them into contact with investors. We also regularly organise demo days to help entrepreneurs develop their presentation skills in order to thrive at these occasions. Workincubation also provides a platform for international pitching organisations, such as House of Geneous and Betapitch.
What does Workinton expect from its startups and investors?
Entrepreneurship is gaining increasing social traction in Turkey. However, if we want to improve the quality of entrepreneurs, there is a clear need for more incubation centers and investment networks.
Our entrepreneurs are expected to not only focus on their startups and getting investment, but also to make use of experienced strategic consultants who will enrich their operations. Angel Investors and incubation centers can invest in startups both financially, and also by providing their expertise through management consulting.
A healthy portion of Angel Investors in Turkey have excellent knowledge and experience. However, what we tend to see is that they only invest in – and focus on – operations within their own specific field of expertise. This can cause problems. In my point of view, an Angel Investor should provide not only financial support, nor only technical field-specific knowledge, but should impart wisdom and serve as reputational assets to companies. Incubation centers are the right places for Angel Investors to do this.
Why should startups choose Workinton Incubation Center?
We keep a meticulous record of every one of our startups in order to identify and monitor the phases through which they progress. This supplements a large and powerful information pool for investors to consider. When the mystery around a startup disappears and investors can see exactly where a startup is in the process of growth, evaluating investment opportunities becomes much easier for them. Workinton is also attractive to investors because it reduces uncertainty. There are hundreds of imitation startups in countries like Turkey, where the young population is large and growing, and this situation poses a real risk to investors. However, startups that earn their place at the Workinton Incubation Center assure investors of their legitimacy, and are therefore much more attractive to investors