The only way forward is forward. You're never finished. Save the Date.
Typing İ is for Turkish people a bit silly when used in English. Now that I have a Turkish keyboard I can finally use it whenever I want, like the ğ and the ş. In Turkish, you have ı and i and therefor also the I and İ. the ı is hard to pronounce, for non-Turkish people. I can manage it by now. Another thing I manage is the energy to continue new initiatives that are mostly already in my head or on our team’s to do. So we finally decided to put them in new projects. A Pre-Accelerator and a Nomad Jam aka a loose conference around digital nomads. The nomad thing was already on the mind of Neşen, my partner and spouse, but a conversation with Serkan, who runs the platform cowork7/24, during last summer pushed the idea into a real project. As a coworking space in Urla, build around a cinema, we need to be very inventive and hardworking as we can not entirely rely on the locals. Urla village is populated with only 65.000 persons with most of them wondering what the hell we are doing here. Neşen understands very well the challenge of our place/business model and she always thought of Urla coworking as a place where you work but also have a great life/work-balance thanks to the weather, the food, low living cost and the sea, Turkoise! Truly a unique place here and perfect for digital nomads, especially from Europe.
The start of an accelerator was there for the last years. I was part of the first Startup Bootcamp program team and understood that acceleration programs are very much needed in our ecosystem. Some tried it but were, or not professional, or just one-offs for the PR, not sustainable, no result. In the meantime Startup Bootcamp stopped and I got upset that investors want to invest but not pay for a program that would make them invest in more prepared startups that went through the selection process and the workshops/mentorship of an accelerator. I am the last one to proclaim that a program gives you assurance as an investor but at least you dig deeper into the team and the product/market fit. When I met Atakan Atalar, founder of Atanova Invest, and co-investor in the coworking space Withco in Izmir, I found a partner with the same ideas and approach towards what is needed. The result is “Now Sprint!” Pre-Acceleration Program. I still didn’t find a fund or investor who will pay for the program but at least we have now the possibility to have a great venue in the centre of Izmir and an investor who puts his network and himself into the heat. We already have a great team of partners who will actively be involved like, Atanova Ventures, Telos Angels, TR Angels, StartupFon, MotionLab Berlin and Branka van der Linden, an international legal expert for startups. Expect more names to follow.
As for the dates we are careful with all the commotion in the world now but we plan the Urla Nomad Jam from 10th until the 14th of June in Urla Coworking. You can already subscribe here, the program will soon be released and participation is free. We will host only 100 participants, so be quick. Sprint Now! will be a paid pre-acceleration program for 4 weeks with Tuesdays and Thursdays the workshops and ending in a demo day with investors, all at Withco Coworking. We take NO equity, the program will validate the team and the product/market fit. The program will be though and based on international standards making the teams ready for the global market. You can already write me an email for more info and block April Tuesdays and Thursdays in the evening. No matter what stage or vertical you are, we prepare you to be “investor ready” (or not if it doesn’t make any sense).
We started with 40 m2 and today we are near 1000m2 and countless workshops later, kids theatre, film clubs, film festivals and you name it with a great pool of trainers all in 1 year. Always forward, and make Urla Coworking and Stage-Co a success. Never easy but very rewarding. Thanks to all those beautiful people involved.