Updating local websites with the mothership sounds easy but you would be surprised how manual it needs to be done at the end of the day. The http://www.500istanbul.co/ suffers the same problem. It came to my attention when I saw the email from 500, the mothership with an overview of the results on 2018 and what the totals are today. When I saw the results I got a bit upset. The results are very impressive. Here are some numbers:

  • 155 new companies added to the 500 portfolio in 2018, total portfolio count 2,210 companies and over 5,000 founders in 11 years.
  • 7 portfolio companies joined the Unicorn Club, total now 10.
  • 66 companies are valued at over $100M.
  • $454 million in total committed capital across funds.
  • 26% of the investments are led by at least one female founder. 49% of the overall portfolio hails from outside the U.S.
  • Countries invested is now 74, which means in almost 40% of the world.

Are they aliens and we are just people or are they people just like us? So why don’t we do this in the MEA region ourselves? Sure we can start talking about all the differences between our regions. There are always why nots. But there are also reasons why we can. We all know the classics like education, language, ecosystem, investment attitude etc. At the same time, we do see that startups like Let’s Go can come to Türkiye and be successful, like Uber or Trivago. This means the market is there and the acceptance of using any solution to a real problem is present. I love the example of Evreka, making garbage collection smart. Not a fancy Istanbul startup with the next whatever platform but smart guys from Ankara. I remember Evreka when they pitched for the Pirates Summit in 2015. They ended 2nd in our local pitch contest with an impressive big team and with a very non-sexy proposal. Today they are founded and successful in many countries. The one thing they do very bad, like most tech-based startups in Türkiye, and they are rare, is promoting themselves and claim their success. I tried to find out the number of countries they are present in as of today. Couldn’t find anything. The website has one blog post with great content, but it more looks like a study that even their competition can use.

Language is definitely a problem. I am not native English so my English is rather basic but I do my best to make it sound like a language where you do not start to wonder, what pothole gave birth to this guy. Exercise and Grammarly can do wonders. So to all the non-native English website text writers, you too Evreka, try harder. Interestingly from language or the lack of it, you come to self-confidence or rather the lack of it. Ask tourists coming to Türkiye. Our English is terrible, even in English based universities. The result is, again I refer to Evreka, one of my favourite startups, that this language barrier creates a killing lack of self-confidence. As it becomes hard to express ourselves outside of Türkiye, we prefer to concentrate on our domestic market. Even the international Angel Networks (they should all breathe international ambition anyway) have their pitch selection comities in Turkish. I attend some of them and because of me, my Turkish is still very limited, they try English but even the people around the table have trouble in that case. Most of them are active CEOs of big, local companies, but with a questionable reason why they are sitting around these tables. The result is local for local by local.

Coming back to the email of 500 startups I see 2 things that keep spinning in my head. Claim your success. It sounds obvious but you have to do it, not knot your head and keep digging underneath the load of problems you see in front of you. We have some great startups in Türkiye and you might find some info on the Webrazzi website, in Turkish, but that is not where you should be. Techcrunch, Tech.eu is where we need to read you. Also your gesture. I remember the army drill. Head up and breast forward bringing us to the second spin. Attitude.

Modesty is great but I never got a free meal because I was modest. Nor not being modest by the way. I don’t aim at being arrogant but when you thrive to be the best in your domain then also make people feel that. I am Belgian and I remember that the bosses from The Netherlands based companies made me feel little just by their attitude. First of all, they really are just taller but they also are so goddamned self-confident that they always did better business then the modest people of Flanders. Luckily I saw this changing in the last 20 years but they really shitted on our heads and looking back they were right. We took decisions in corridors as we were unable to defend with confidence our point of view in a meeting. Some wind ahead and we went backboard. We were just losers.

I am not a big fan of all the spiritual mambo jumbo in coworking places nowadays with yoga and other ‘’don’t feel the ground under your feet’’ anymore but on the other hand, it does confront you with your ‘self and there can always be an improvement. I became a fan of Lila Duygu Ogutla as she somehow made me see more facets of my self and it really builds up. Language and attitude, closer than you would imagine in terms of reaching for international success. We can do this in the MEA region what 500 did in the States. I am very confident we can. But we need to change our attitude and become just as confident and professional. Clean up the noise and the would-bees. Amin.

Patrick Bosteels, Stage-Co Co-Founder

Renewed Website: Stage-co.com

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