Istanbul-born digital marketing startup Insider secures $32M fund from Silicon Valley

Ambitious Turkish startups in the software industry have started to focus their attention on the U.S. market.

Insider, an Istanbul-born software as a service (SaaS) startup that had moved its headquarters to Singapore three years ago, plans to launch in the United States after raising $32 million (TL 219 million) in a Series C funding round.

The round was led by Riverwood Capital, a Silicon Valley-based tech-focused private equity firm and joined by Sequoia India, Dubai-based Wamda and Endeavor Catalyst. The latest round brings the Insider’s total funding to date to $47 million.

Apart from the U.S. expansion, the new capital will be used to develop the capabilities of the Insider platform, further strengthen the company’s research and development (R&D) team with more senior engineers and to invest in its global sales and marketing departments.

Founded in 2012, Insider has helped more than 800 global enterprise brands, including Singapore Airlines, Samsung, Uniqlo, Marks & Spencer, Virgin, MediaMarkt, Garanti BBVA and Estée Lauder manage their multi-channel marketing processes and growth with a team of 550 staff.

With its teams on the ground in 24 countries across Europe, Asia and the Middle East, it supports the acceleration of digital growth of its customers with its artificial intelligence (AI) technology.

‘We change the perception’

“We are determined to show that a software company from the east of the world will succeed in Silicon Valley,” Hande Çilingir, Insider CEO and one of its six founding partners, said, underlining that they are a challenge-loving startup.

“We are a team that sets out with the passion of doing global business from Turkey. We are assertive that successful software companies will come from this country and remain loyal to the geography in which they live,” Çilingir noted.

“Our country does not have big unlimited resources,” she added. “So, we have to work harder. We also know that the wind does not blow behind for Turkish startups. However, it is we who will change this. Each success story changes the perception of Turkey.”

With the beginning of the pandemic, the demand for e-commerce and media companies worldwide has increased rapidly. Insider’s digital sales and partner management teams, which adapt quickly to the conditions, have led the brands to manage increasing traffic and new digital behaviors, enabling them to continue their growth. Insider predicts that the growth rate will continue to increase with the rise in online consumption and postponed purchases as well as brands’ need to digitize more than ever after the pandemic.

Staff as shareholders

As a result of evaluations made every six months since its establishment, the company has been providing its team members who make a difference with an opportunity to become a shareholder, Çilingir said.

As part of the latest investment, Insider has allocated a $1 million budget so that shareholders be able to convert their shares into cash.

Stating that their solution eliminates dependence on technical staff, Çilingir explained the advantages of Insider.

“With its extremely easy integration that takes just minutes, it eliminates the dependence of marketing departments on technical teams,” she said.

All in all, Insider ensures that all the values that digital marketing experts pursue are managed in the right way as they grow. It contributes to the healthy management of marketing activities across the funnel, from acquisition to activation, retention and revenue.

Single experience revolution

Çilingir stressed that customers want to have a single experience, whether online or in a traditional store.

“Insider’s AI-powered Multi-Channel Growth Management Platform allows marketing professionals to integrate their digital channels with a single platform, combine user data and predict future user behavior with a machine learning-supported suggestion engine to deliver personalized experiences,” she said.

“Insider is a multi-channel growth platform that is considered original and unique by digital marketing experts by combining online and offline user data from different interaction channels on a single platform and offering the widest product features on the market,” Çilingir said.

Consisting of over 15 AI algorithms, the platform enables marketers to make precise predictions such as which customer segments are likely to convert, buy and churn, and then design the most optimized experiences accordingly.

Ready to fight giants in US

As she shared Insider’s medium-term goals, Çilingir said so far, they have focused on increasing their share in markets with high potential in the Asia Pacific.

“We work with industry pioneers such as Samsung, Uniqlo and Singapore Airlines in the Asia Pacific; Qantas in Australia; and Marks & Spencer, Estée Lauder and Carrefour in Europe. We are ready to enter the U.S. market with our 550+ team working in 24 countries and more than 250 engineers,” she said.

“We believe that our AI-supported solutions and dynamic perspective, which are digital marketing experts’ biggest pain points, will be a major differentiator,” she added.

Investors’ recommendations to entrepreneurs during pandemic

The New Generation Interference Talks panel was organized for the second time by PILOT, a venture acceleration program run by Turkey’s leading information and communication technologies company, Türk Telekom, to evaluate the effects of the normalization period on entrepreneurship.

The PILOT Infoday brought together the entrepreneurship ecosystem on July 21 to discuss investment opportunities during the normalization process with the managers of Figopara, Tarvenn and Collective Spark.

Speaking at the panel, Türk Telekom Business Development and New Ventures Director Muhammed Özhan said that the agile technology startups, which started with small formations, shaped the world economy.

“Turkey has great potential in this sense. Startups that anticipate and realize these opportunities and produce the necessary solutions at the right time will start the game one step ahead,” he added.

New generation startups

Özhan said they support domestic and national technology startups with PILOT. “We have provided over TL 4 million ($583,967) in cash support to 65 entrepreneurs, who have graduated from PILOT since 2013,” he said. “24 of these graduates had the opportunity to grow their innovative business ideas through investment. The PILOT graduates employed 350 people in 2019 and achieved a turnover of TL 41 million. Startups that qualified for PILOT in 2020 were also determined after a rigorous evaluation. Within the scope of the PILOT, we will provide TL 150,000 in cash support to each team accepted to the program.”

He further noted that they have invested in various fields, especially in the health, education and energy sectors, with TT Ventures, the first corporate venture capital company of the sector they have established to support startups in the growth stage.

PILOT Infoday was broadcast live via Turk Telekom’s YouTube channel with Figopara co-founder and CEO, Koray Gültekin Bahar, Tarvenn Ventures CEO and TechOne fund managing Partner, Mustafa Kopuk, and Collective Spark founding partner, Atıl Eren, in attendance.

Martı inks $25 million investment deal

Martı, a Turkish electric scooter-sharing startup, on Tuesday announced it has received a new $25 million investment.

“In addition to the domestic and foreign investments we have received since 2018, we would like to share with great enthusiasm that we have received an additional $25 million with the tour we completed in 2020,” the company said a statement. No information was disclosed about who made the investment.

Martı said it employs nearly 1,000 people and has 3 million users.

In the statement, Martı stressed that Indonesia’s Gojek and China’s Didi serve as examples. “We are working hard to develop the mobility industry in our country, to offer our citizens comfortable and environmentally friendly solutions, to set an example abroad and generate billions of dollars in the next three years,” it added.

Martı (seagull in Turkish) said it has nearly 1,000 employees and 3 million users. Meanwhile, the data published in Crunchbase reveals that Martı received a total funding of $2 million in two investment rounds.

The startup, which also tries to overcome problems with regulations, is expected to announce details about the investment in the coming days.

The electric scooters, visible across Istanbul, Turkey’s most crowded city, face new regulations as the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (IBB) announced Tuesday its transportation council would discuss the regulations.

MyGini to introduce US to a fast campaign

MyGini, a fintech startup founded by Mehmet Sezgin, one of the veteran names of the Turkish banking industry who has undertaken worldwide projects in payment systems technologies, has launched a new digital product in the U.S. that enables small businesses and retailers to easily implement special offers and promotions.

Providing a breath of fresh air to the credit card market in the U.S. by bringing banks, businesses and cardholder customers on the same platform, MyGini, with its new function, provides small businesses the opportunity to create their own campaigns in a digital environment very quickly and effortlessly through the main platforms that are used to create promotions in the credit card market.

Thanks to this application, which is a first in the U.S. with this feature, small businesses and retailers will be able to create their own campaigns on a local or national basis and take advantage of MyGini’s vast network and rapidly changing market dynamics and consumer trends after the coronavirus. These campaigns are only valid in physical stores or online stores if desired.

Digital service

CEO Mehmet Sezgin noted that MyGini loyalty application has become an important platform that creates value in the axis of payment systems for 60 million card users and institutions in its ecosystem today.

“With our new service that we have launched now, we believe that we will meet an important need for retailers to compensate for the decline in sales caused by the coronavirus pandemic with the campaigns and promotions they will implement,” Sezgin said.

“Due to the lack of digital participation systems to date, large platforms that are intermediary for banks regarding the campaigns have been slow to include small businesses that we can define as ‘tradesmen.’ This has particularly prevented local businesses and retailers from offering fast opportunities to suit customer expectations. With this digital service function that we have added to MyGini, I think we offer a world of speed and opportunities for retailers who want to increase their sales in the coronavirus environment,” he added.

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