Earlybird investor day

Earlier this week, I attended the Earlybird Digital East Fund Investor Day in Istanbul. In addition to making direct investments, we’re also an investor in funds and Earlybird’s Digital East Fund (which invests in Turkey and Central and Eastern Europe) is one of them.

The event brought together the fund’s general partners (GP’s), limited partners (LP’s), and the founders of many of its portfolio companies with two goals. The first was to update LP’s about Earlybird’s investment strategy, current portfolio performance and future outlook, and the performance of specific companies as shared by the companies’ founders. The second was to provide a platform for each of the three parties to get to know one another in an informal setting.

I think that the event successfully achieved both goals.

Since we’re co-investors with Earlybird in several of their companies like Vivense, oBilet, Tapu, and Flipps, we’re familiar with the developments at these companies. However, we had the opportunity to learn about the progress taking place at the other companies. Most of the LP’s in the room who don’t have direct investments in the same companies as Earlybird had the opportunity to meet and hear the latest updates from each company in the portfolio for the first time.

The event also achieved its second goal of helping the GP’s, LP’s, and founders get to know one another in a personal setting. As a result, the next time that the fund shares a portfolio update over email, the content of the update is going to be much more meaningful to its LP readers.

And since the founders got to meet many of the fund’s LP’s in person, they’ll be able to directly reach out for their context-specific support as the need arises in the future. LP’s with different industry backgrounds are a valuable part of a GP’s network and the event made these LP’s much more accessible to founders.

The highlight of the event for me was a talk by Seymur Tari, the founder of Turkven, Turkey’s first private equity fund. There were two parts of Seymur’s talk that I enjoyed.

First, Seymur shared that Turkey wasn’t as attractive of a market as investors thought it was from 2000-2007. Similarly, it’s not as unattractive of a market as investors think it is right now. The reality during both time periods is somewhere in the middle and the deviations from that reality are simply the result of herd behavior.

Second, Seymur shared that he founded Turkven in 2000 and that there are now more than 20 private equity funds in Turkey. The first venture capital funds emerged in Turkey over a decade later, and they’ll hopefully follow the local private equity industry by showing similar growth in both number and success in the future.

Earlybird is setting a great example.

Also published on Medium.