Philip Bahoshy on MAGNiTT's expansion to Turkey

At MAGNiTT, we believe that emerging venture markets are often under-served from a data perspective. Today, following the launch of our first-ever Pakistan report last month, we expanded once again as we continue to build the first venture data platform for emerging markets. 

This time, we expanded to Turkey - an ecosystem that is evolving and maturing. The expansion was marked with the launch of our H1 2020 Turkey Venture Report.

The report provides an overview of the investment activity that has happened during the first six months of 2020 and leverages data to produce compelling insights on the Turkish venture space, as well as highlighting similarities and divergences with MENA.

MAGNiTT CEO and Founder, Philip Bahoshy reflect on why the choice was made to expand to Turkey, why the lack of data is a barrier to market entry, and what lessons can be learned from emerging venture markets. 

Beyond MENA and towards Emerging Venture Markets (EVMs)

I am incredibly excited to share that, with the launch of this report, MAGNiTT continues its expansion beyond MENA, and we are now covering Turkey as well as Pakistan. These expansions will become part of our regular reporting as we look to serve Emerging Venture Markets (EVMs). This is a term we have coined to reflect emerging startup hubs sharing similar attributes that have been historically disconnected.

As any entrepreneur will tell you, the key success factor for a scale-up strategy is to explore entry opportunities in large markets, and identifying similar pains to the one that you are solving in your home market. Those markets need not necessarily be your geographic neighbors.

And indeed, for many entrepreneurs in MENA, Turkey is just that market, and vice versa. With a large population, established tech & venture infrastructure, as well as access to a large base of talent, Turkey is an startup ecosystem that is an exciting market to launch from, and scale to. This was highlighted by the recent acquisition of Peak Games by Zynga for $1.8B marking a unicorn exit for the Turkish ecosystem.

Data as a universal barrier to entry in EVMs?

Last year, I travelled to Istanbul to explore the startup space. In a one-week trip, I spoke to founders, investors, government officials and key stakeholders. My key reflection was one of opportunity, scale, and innovation. As I walked around Turkey’s tech hubs and co-working spaces there was a real buzz that felt very similar to the startup hub and energy of Beirut. During my trip I met many entrepreneurs with startups that could scale to the region. Interestingly though, when asked why Turkish founders didn’t look to scale to MENA, the overwhelming response was, ‘We haven’t been shown how to.’

The shortage of cross-pollination success stories with MENA creates a vacuum of actionable learning lessons and insights. This pain point, however, is not unique to Turkish founders. We hear it all across MENA and other Emerging Venture Markets - where many opportunities have yet to be explored, in the absence of first movers in an industry or sector. In EVMs, especially, we’ve found that a lack of data has been a barrier to market entry.

Our goal is to aggregate data across opaque venture markets, to provide all decision makers with the tools to execute on actionable opportunities. As an EVM founder myself, I am incredibly proud to be building the first startup data platform that serves founders & investors across emerging venture markets.

Lessons learned & insights shared in EVMs

Something that we have found particularly striking is how venture markets in MENA, Pakistan, and Turkey have reacted in similar ways to COVID-19: In Turkey, similar to MENA, we see more capital invested but in fewer deals, a huge spike in typical ticket size, an uneven distribution of funding, as well as similarity in the top industries. We also see interesting divergences - like a concentration of Deep-Tech deals in Turkey.

It is clear that there is a lot to be learned from and shared across Emerging Venture Markets.

Gratitude toward the Turkish entrepreneurship community

Finally, I would like to personally thank all the investors and stakeholders for their cooperation in building this report. As we look to further develop our research, the data that underpins our analysis remains an ever-evolving foundation of our platform. If there is something we have missed in this report, please do let us know and we will be sure to incorporate it.

You can find a full list of all Turkish startups and investors in this report on MAGNiTT.

Turkey's average deal size was up 250% in H1 2020 to $2.8M, indicating the shift of investors' focus towards later-stage startups. Discover more trends and insights in MAGNiTT's H1 2020 Turkey Venture Investment Report.