Turkey’s startup ecosystem and milestones

Turkey is the largest startup hub in southeast Europe, it has implemented many reforms in recent years to encourage entrepreneurship and startups.

Istanbul a city that connects Europe with Asia, is a growing city with high and young population, where many startups are being tested, launched and successfully expanded to other markets.

Turkey has introduced the Regulation on Angel Investments in 2013, which provided some tax incentives to angel investors, and thus promoted financing of small enterprises and entrepreneurs.

According to the regulation, licensed angel investors are allowed to deduct 75 percent of the capital that they invest under the angel investment system from their income tax. Turkey has taken steps in all spheres of the startup ecosystem and has started to reap the fruits of these efforts.

In 2018, three of the top ten venture capital-backed exits in Europe were Turkish. China’s Alibaba acquired Turkish e-commerce platform “” for USD 728 million, Australia-based software developer Atlassian acquired Turkish software developer “Opsgenie” for USD 295 million, and US-based Zynga acquired “Gram Games” for USD 250 million.

Milestones in Turkey’s startup ecosystem

2012: Introduction of VC Funds by the Capital Markets Board of Turkey

2013: Enactment of the Regulation on Angel Investments. Introduction of Tübitak’s 1514 Tech-InvesTR “Venture Capital Funding Program” V.1

2014: Launch of Tax Incentives Program for companies investing in VC Funds

2016: Commissioning of a prominent R&D reform and introduction of support for design. Passing of crowdfunding legislation

2017: Enactment of a new law on Industrial Property Rights

2018: Convening of the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in Istanbul. Introduction of Tübitak’s 1514 Tech-InvesTR “Venture Capital Funding Program” V.2

Highlights of Turkey’s startup ecosystem

  • 550 startups are established each year in Turkey
  • Turkey is the largest startup hub in Southeast Europe
  • USD 488 million raised through angel investors and VC funding in 2010-2018 period in turkey
  • In 2018 3 of the top 10 venture capital backed exits in Europe were Turkish


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