I still wonder if startups are happy or sad when they read the following numbers regarding 2013 in the US:
$29.4 billion — Dollars invested by venture capitalists nationwide in 2013
3,995 — Number of deals in which VCs invested
$8.4 billion – Dollars invested in the fourth quarter
$3.2 billion — Dollars invested in Silicon Valley in the quarter*
It all seems surreal and far away from our MENA region. You can be happy as we all hope this trend will spread to Europe and down to us. Very sad if you think that in Turkiye we talk about not even 50 VC deals in a year. I have no exact figures but from what I hear around me, the number of participations of Angel Investors and VC’s can be counted on 1 hand for each of them on yearly basis. We have 1 exception but let’s see how far that one will bring us.
As we are now entering our 3th period in the accelerator, and I do see another aspect of startups that stems me happier than the figures. They can only disturb us (for the moment). With Startupbootcamp we give some money. Compared with most investments we read about, it looks like a tip in a bar. And we take some shares as we believe in their future. Startups even negotiate about value even before the company is founded but I guess that is the natural side effect of reading to much Webrazzi, Techcrunch and Tech.eu. We surely know how to make these young entrepreneurs completely crazy and away from reality. Best drug you can find and for free. All you do is read and dream. Next to these factual things we offer a full mentor based program of 3 months.
All that aside, it is not the money that makes you happy or successful. After 2 months of working together as one big team with the startups, we see the biggest impact is the people who are working together every day. We have our mentors, our own team and the priceless Go-Project and together we make the difference with some very strong believers like Ersin Pamuksuzer who doesn’t need to go through all this hassle, but chose to. This is not about making us popular but all about impact. These 2 months accelerated the startups in whatever stages they were, whatever their potential success is. They are stronger as a person, as an entrepreneur and as a professional. It proves again and even figures show it that pre-seed and seed are more important than the big skunks of money. Typically for seed is the involvement of mentors and day-to-day guidance. I do know that we are not a seed but an accelerator, but in reality things get overlapped and the definition is not important here. The result is better teams, better market fits and more success. The MENA region is ready for this approach rather than writing stories with big numbers and trying to be in the same boat as the US. I have no idea what the outcome will be of our first acceleration program, but we surely found a good approach. Our approach is based on what we have in our hands and not what is flying in the air. The big numbers will come in time. Be patient.
Demo day is coming closer so we are now working on the pitches. Always fun, always frustration. In English. A handicap for each non-English speaking startup but a challenge at the same time. Insallah.
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*Source: MoneyTree report