Turkey’s unicorns

My partner Hasan participated in the “Where are the Unicorns from Turkey?” panel at Startup Turkey, organized by Etohum, last month, together with Kerim Ture from Modanisa and Hakan Bas from Lidyana. The panel was moderated by TechCrunch editor Mike Butcher. You can watch the full video below.

A unicorn is a company with a valuation of at least a billion dollars, so we likely don’t have any such companies in Turkey’s internet sector yet. On the panel, Hasan pretty much says “One day we will have many unicorn companies. The question is how soon it will be.” I fully agree. Together with the widespread use of mobile technologies, the shift from offline to online behavior in emerging markets has just begun.

The biggest candidate in Turkey is probably Sahibinden, the country’s leading horizontal classifieds site. Sahibinden may actually already be a unicorn and we simply may not know it yet. Although the company hasn’t taken any outside funding and therefore doesn’t have a paper valuation approved by outside investors, its valuation is likely nearing the billion dollar mark. Other candidates include Hepsiburada, Turkey’s largest e-commerce site which was valued at over $400M in a deal with Abraaj recently, and Yemeksepeti, Turkey’s leading food ordering site which is likely valued even higher.

We also have multiple candidates to become unicorns in our portfolio. We just need to be patient.