New fund of $10 million from Isbank and Arya: Arya GSYF

Arya Women’s Investment Platform and Isbank established a fund with a minimum size of $10 million to invest in startups that are gender-balanced and offer sustainable income potential.

Arya Women’s Investment Platform, the “Arya Venture Capital Investment Fund”, which is the first gender balance focused impact investment in Turkiye and MENA (Middle East and North Africa), was established in cooperation with Turkiye Is Bankası and Maxis. The fund is targeted to reach a minimum size of $10 million.

Although researches show that only 2.4% of the investment in startups in the last 30 years has been made to women-founded startups, and this figure is still in the same range with 2.3% in 2020, startups with women as founders provide 25% higher valuation than startups with only male founders.

The fund, which will invest in initiatives that consider gender balance both at the point of decision-making and in operation, aims to be a venture capital investment fund that creates regional impact.

Arya GSYF will have a game-changing place in the entrepreneurship ecosystem

Arya Women’s Investment Platform, which was established as a social enterprise to contribute to the sustainability of women’s entrepreneurship, to encourage more women to bring investors into the ecosystem, and to contribute to the empowerment of women in every field, in its journey that started in 2013, managed to make a big impact with the support of Isbank as of 2018. There are more than 300 leading women in the angel investor network of Arya Women’s Investment Platform, which has invested $5.4 billion in 22 of more than 800 women-founded startups contacted in 8 years.

The Arya Venture Capital Investment Fund was designed to support the gender-balanced teams, which are an important link of Arya influence, not only at the early stage, but also around the critical threshold, Series A, with the strength of its female-dominated investors. The fund aims to invest in venture companies that develop innovative applications and technologies, that have easy scaling potential, that can differentiate themselves from the competition and that have predictable exit opportunities, especially those in which women entrepreneurs are active. With this inclusive and enabling feature, the Fund will have a very important and game-changing place in the Turkish entrepreneurship ecosystem.

Access to finance is the biggest challenge faced by women entrepreneurs in Turkiye

In his speech at the press conference where the fund was introduced, Isbank General Manager Hakan Aran emphasized that the fund, which will strengthen the place of women entrepreneurs in the entrepreneurship ecosystem, pave the way for women to create more value in economic life, enable them to expand their ventures and open up to the global market, is valuable in terms of taking the place women deserve in society.

Emphasizing that there is no sustainable economic development in an environment where gender and opportunity equality is absent or weak, Aran pointed out the importance of providing opportunity and gender equality and allowing women to participate more in social life, economy and entrepreneurship ecosystem. Stating that women have been more present in business life and have become more active both in the world and in our country in recent years, Aran said, “This is not at the desired level. The biggest challenge faced by women entrepreneurs in realizing their dreams and reaching a certain scale is access to finance and finding funds. I believe that many women with a creative idea, experience and self-confidence will start their own business if they find financial support. At this point, financial, educational and mentoring support that will be provided to women entrepreneurs from the stage of establishing the business to the stage that will contribute to the growth and economy is of great importance. More women entrepreneurs that we will bring to the economy means more production, more employment, and therefore more contribution to the country’s economy.”

Hakan Aran said that with the Arya Venture Capital Investment Fund, they added the investment pillar to the works carried out by the bank within the framework of sustainability, especially within the scope of gender equality and ensuring women’s participation in the workforce, thus, they have put forward a holistic approach in this area.

Ahu Serter, Founder of Arya GSYF, said; “Arya was created to seize an opportunity that people have not seen before, and that they have seen but been too late to take advantage of. What was this opportunity? Women, Turkish Women…

Over the past 10 years, the world has discovered the importance of women and how they would benefit if they contributed as much to the gross product as men. Arya is a place where we talk about how gender and diversity perspective will benefit the world! We are at a turning point here today. In addition to being a first in Turkiye and MENA, we aim to be the first to be shown globally.

In order for women to show their difference, they need to improve their relationship with money. So that we can distinguish between successful and unsuccessful. That’s why we say Money Has No Gender.” In her words, she referred to her long-standing studies for the importance of gender balance.

Members of the Investment Committee include Ahu Serter, Baris Karakullukcu, Ilknur Ilkyaz Gul, Murat Ozgen, Ozlem Tumer Eke, Riza Kutlusoy, Sanem Tatlidil Ozal and Selami Duz. Arya GSYF is getting stronger with Aydin Ersoz, Banu Kisakurek, Ilhami Koc, Munteha Adali, Nese Gok, Ozge Bulut Marasli, Umur Ozal and Umit Boyner among the Advisory Board Members.

The first LPs of Arya GSYF were Inci Holding, Coskunoz Holding Founder Oya Aktas, Idil Turkmenoglu, Finberg, Ford Drive Ventures.

Source: Egirisim / Translated by Irem Yildiz

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