United Payment Founder and CEO Ilker Sozdinler: “We are reaching ₺50 billion transaction volume and 15 million end users.”

United Payment CEO Ilker Sozdinler, while evaluating the 2022 data of United Payment, talked about its 2023 investment and growth plans.

We interviewed Ilker Sozdinler, the Founder and CEO of United Payment, including the company’s roadmap, 2022 data and future plans. As part of the interview, Sozdinler shared the steps, investment and growth plans of Birlede Odesimi in 2023.

First of all, I asked Ilker Sozdinler what has changed in the roadmap of United Payment after Oyak Portfolio Venture Capital Funds investment. Sozdinler stated that with the investments they received from both Finberg and Oyak Portfolio Venture Capital Funds, they enlarged the team, started overseas operations and increased their R&D investments:

“As United Payment, we were established in 2010. We started our journey when fintech was not widespread in our country yet, and over the years we have tried many firsts in this field, we have achieved many innovations and we have transformed with the evolution of fintech. After our establishment in 2010, we served as a kiosk company until 2015. In this process, we have digitized the gas and water payment processes in Ankara and improved them in an easy, fast and user-friendly way. We became one of the companies that obtained the first e-money license in 2015, first we implemented 24/7 domestic money transfer with on-duty transfer, which is a first in its field. Then, in 2017, we established a business partnership with Wise and broke new ground again, producing an easy, fast and low-commission alternative to traditional international money transfer methods. In 2020, we broke new ground in Turkiye and created an ecosystem serving in 5 different areas with the vision of FaaS (Fintech as a Service). In this sense, we have realized many innovative projects. For example, with Hopi’s Hopipay wallet, we have created an ecosystem for Hopipay users by creating a world where users can send and receive money for free, withdraw money from ATMs, and use it in all digital channels. In 2021, we received investment from both Finberg and Oyak Portfolio Venture Capital Funds. With these investments, we enlarged the team, started our overseas operations and increased our R&D investments.

As one of the first e-money companies in Turkiye, we provide end-to-end financial technology services so that our customers can have an easier, faster and solution-oriented consumer experience. Having the widest portfolio of fintech solutions in Turkiye and the region (prepaid card and digital wallet, online/offline collection, international and domestic money transfer, kiosk/smart safe and loyalty programs), it brings together all payment systems under one roof and we offer a safe and easy experience by integrating different payment methods with our invisible financial technology.”

United Payment started in 2021 with the target of 8 countries by opening an office in Azerbaijan. Based on this, I asked how many countries the company has expanded to and which operations are carried out in each country. Sozdinler announced that in addition to Turkiye, it continues its activities in a total of 4 countries, including Azerbaijan, Romania and Georgia. According to Sozdinler, the company plans to operate in 10 countries in 2023:

Currently, in addition to Turkiye, we continue our activities in a total of 4 countries, including Azerbaijan, Romania and Georgia. The operation we carry out varies according to the dynamics of the markets we have opened and customer needs.

Currently, we are among the top 10 of the sector in Azerbaijan with a market share of 15%. We are active there with our smart safe and money transfer products.

We are also in the process of licensing e-money in Romania and Georgia. With the completion of the licensing procedures, we aim to rise rapidly in those markets with our products.

With its structure that wants to be the fintech power of the region, united Payment will continue its expansions in the next year as well. We aim to operate in 10 countries in total in 2023.

Let us remind you that combined payment invests in iWallet and Turan provides its infrastructure. In this context, I asked Ilker Sozdinler about his goals and plans for 2023 in the focus of entrepreneurship. Sozdinler states that the company has a total of 12 domestic and international investments and 1 spin-off, including iWallet, Turan, Hayhay, and Poca. Sozdinler stated that they will continue to invest:

While aiming to be a fintech power of the region, we also want to grow the fintechs in our country with us. I aim for this both with my entrepreneurial hat at United Payment, and with my hat as the Fintech President of DEIK Digital Business Council, which I recently started working with. The growth of the startups we have invested in, entering the markets we have opened, providing them with infrastructure, benefiting from their dynamic/innovative teams and creating an ecosystem together, in short, the fact that the accident caused a win, as in the story of “causing a win”, has had many positive effects to date.

With this perspective, we have a total of 12 domestic and international investments, including iWallet, Turan, Hayhay, and Poca. In addition to our investments, we also have a spin-off, which I would like to mention. Specializing in kiosk and smart cash registers, Smartup is a startup from our company. Today the production line is running non-stop and they will soon start exporting in Romania as well.

We will continue to create this ecosystem and continue our investments.

When I ask about the outstanding data of 2022 and the team size, Sozdinler explains that they have reached a transaction volume of ₺50 billion:

As of the end of 2022, we reach a total transaction volume of t50 billion and 15 million end users. We currently have 220 employees.

Among the 2023 targets and plans of the institution are to increase its activities abroad and to obtain 50% of its revenues from abroad within two years:

I would like to open this place under three headings.

Since the day of our establishment, we have put “human” in our focus in every work we have carried out. With this approach, the happiness and belonging of our employees were among our most important topics in our annual plans. It’s like that again this year. We are working to create that belonging in our rapidly expanding staff every year, to make them do a job that they can be proud of and ascribe to their purpose. Because happy employee brings happy people, happy citizens and a happy country with it. When you provide this, the success of your company is inevitable.

Our second goal is that thanks to our human resources, investors, management team and technology, we have become a company with a high reputation so far. By 2023, we aim to turn our reputational power into brand power by increasing our brand investments. In this sense, you will see us with our innovation, project and social responsibility campaigns that will make a difference in the sector.

Finally, of course, we will increase our foreign activities in the coming period, and we will carry Turkiye’s technology power abroad. To obtain 50% of our revenues from abroad in two years; We aim to be present in 10 countries in total. As a result of all these goals, we expect to be a unicorn leaving our country in the second half of 2024.

Source: Webrazzi / Translated by Irem Yildiz

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