One of Türkiye’s oldest financial institutions, the Turkish Economy Bank brought together technology and data-oriented initiatives with experienced angel investment networks to discuss transformation, opportunities and healthy, sustainable production in agriculture

An event organized by one of Türkiye’s pioneering private banks this week brought together entrepreneurs engaged in agriculture with investment ecosystem stakeholders to talk about cooperation and partnership opportunities.

The “Innovative Agricultural Technologies” event by the Turkish Economy Bank (TEB) promoted five startups focused on new-generation agriculture technologies and gathered them with an experienced angel investment network.

One of Türkiye’s oldest financial institutions, TEB itself launched the Private Angel Investment Platform in 2013 aimed at supporting data-oriented transformation in the investment world and offering its customers alternative investment areas.

New investment areas

Supporting applications that contribute to creating a sustainable economy, society and environment, TEB says it focuses on providing social benefits by placing sustainability at the center of its business systems and decision-making processes.

This has led the lender to gather its activities under the Private Angel Investment Platform to back the investment world transformation and continue to provide its customers with new areas for investments. It often organizes various events to bring together the startup ecosystem and investors.

Data-oriented transformation

The “Innovative Agricultural Technologies” event came just months after TEB organized its latest gathering under the theme of “Social Entrepreneurs Aiming at Ecological Sustainability.”

Its last meeting brought together technology and data-oriented entrepreneurs operating in the field of agriculture with the stakeholders of the ecosystem.

Held with the support of TEB Venture Banking, TIM-TEB Venture House, TEB Women Banking and TEB Fintech Future Four, all of which have experience in working with entrepreneurs and investors, the event was marked by an opening speech by TEB Retail Banking Group marketing and customer experience director, Hayri Telekoğlu.

Hayri Telekoğlu

In addition, the founder of the industry monitor startups.watch Serkan Ünsal shared the latest data related to the entrepreneurship ecosystem in Türkiye and unveiled the Agritech Startups Map of Türkiye, prepared with the support of TEB.

5 startups on stage

Executives of the five startups, namely Cowealthy founder and CEO Ismail Bican, GÖRSENTAM Agricultural Technologies founder and CEO Mert Demirel, Nanomik founding partner and CEO Buse Berber Örçen, Ne Ekersen founding partner and CEO Emre Taşkıran and Uptechlabs founding partner and CEO Mert Kalaycı, talked about their initiatives and answered the questions of angel investors at the event that also discussed technologies and investment opportunities in the field of agriculture.

Initiatives developing solutions in agriculture, animal husbandry, biological conservation and hydroponic farming answered questions about investment and growth potential.

Key to smart money

The closing panel of the event saw ŞirketOrtağım Deputy Chair Mehmet Buldurgan, Keiretsu Forum Türkiye General Manager Duygu Eren, Galata Business Angels Secretary-General Ata Uzunhasan and Angel Effect Chair Board Gökhan Akar discuss the functions and work of angel investment networks in the investment world of Türkiye.

The panelists particularly highlighted that venture capital investment funds, the number of which has recently exceeded 200, would have different functions in the period ahead. They also drew attention to the differences offered by angel investment networks in mentoring and smart money investment.

Tech-focused agriculture ventures

Gökhan Mendi, deputy general manager of the Turkish Economy Bank, emphasized that the lender took its first steps in 2013 by simultaneously implementing the Angel Investment Platform and Venture Banking.

“Venture Banking has been working with entrepreneurs for many years. Under this umbrella, we have established TIM-TEB Venture Houses in seven provinces to date, and we have developed 11 Technology Portfolios in eight of our branches. Thanks to this, we have worked with more than 1,700 startups and supported the establishment of a scaleup company,” Mendi said.

Gökhan Mendi

He recalled that they organized the first meeting in June with the theme of “Social Entrepreneurs Aiming at Ecological Sustainability,” before turning to discussions about agricultural technologies.

“There are very successful startups who want to invest in this regard. For this reason, we wanted to bring together entrepreneurs operating in the field of agriculture and corporate customers by organizing the ‘Innovative Agricultural Technologies’ meeting,” Mendi added.

“Our aim has been to discuss agricultural technology investments and to highlight changes in this area further. We think that technology-oriented startups should increase in a country with fertile soil, abundant water and sun like Türkiye.”

New cooperation platform for health startups

Meanwhile, Turkish pharmaceutical company Sanofi Türkiye is launching cooperation with TT Ventures, the corporate venture capital arm of Türk Telekom, under the PharmUp Hub, aimed at strengthening the startup ecosystem engaged in the field of health.

The PharmUp Entrepreneurship Program, which was implemented by Sanofi Türkiye in 2019, has for three years successfully brought together entrepreneurs from all fields and sectors who can develop solutions for the health care sector.

Seeking to take the project even further as of this year, the company has started to work on transforming PharmUp into a Türkiye-based multi-stakeholder entrepreneurship platform in order to increase global competitiveness in the field of health care and strengthen the innovation ecosystem in the country.

In this context, the PharmUp Hub Platform, one of the largest innovation interfaces of Türkiye in the field of digital health, has been launched.

The scope of the cooperation is aimed at supporting project development processes for entrepreneurs and transforming value-added innovation and technology-based projects into products by creating a scientific platform.

TT Ventures General Manager Muhammed Özhan (L) and Sanofi Türkiye country head and Sanofi Türkiye, Africa and the Middle East Basic Products President Cem Öztürk. (Courtesy of Sanofi)
TT Ventures General Manager Muhammed Özhan (L) and Sanofi Türkiye country head and Sanofi Türkiye, Africa and the Middle East Basic Products President Cem Öztürk

Potential startups will be able to benefit from the office workspaces offered by TT Ventures, mentoring support and the know-how that could help them turn their ideas into products and services.

The cooperation process that has started between Sanofi Türkiye and TT Ventures is intended to expand with the participation of technoparks, incubation centers and the private sector.

Innovation platform

The PharmUp Hub, which, together with corporate partners, universities and incubation centers, offers startups laboratories, thematic innovation programs, workshops, expert support and information sources, has been turned into an innovation platform as of this year, said Sanofi Türkiye country head and Sanofi Türkiye, Africa and the Middle East Basic Products President Cem Öztürk.

“The cooperation we have made with TT Ventures is an important step we have taken in realizing our goal. We are glad that we will create value both for entrepreneurs in the field of health and for the national economy with the support that this cooperation will offer,” Öztürk noted.

For his part, TT Ventures General Manager Muhammed Özhan said they believe that the cooperation that will start with Sanofi will also find itself a place in the global arena by extending beyond Türkiye in the near future.

“As TT Ventures, we will continue to develop the entrepreneurship ecosystem by adapting the technical knowledge we have to different projects with the aim of being a bridge that opens startups to the world,” Özhan noted.


About İsmail Uğural

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