With news earlier this week that Earlybird, the Berlin-based VC, has launched a new $130 million fund targeting early-stage startups in Turkey and Central and Eastern Europe, it seems apt that Turkey — specifically, Istanbul — should get itself a new startup accelerator.
Formally announced today, Startupbootcamp, the pan-European accelerator based loosely on the Techstars model, has expanded to the Turkish city and is currently accepting applications. As is now very familiar, it operates a 3-month ‘bootcamp’-style program to fund, mentor, house and showcase early-stage startups. Teams from anywhere can apply, but will need to relocate to Istanbul for the program, with applications expected from across Europe, the Middle East, CIS and North Africa.
Startups accepted into the program, which kicks off in June, receive €15,000 (in return for giving away 8 percent equity), 4+ months of office space, and what’s being described as €250k+ in sponsor and partner services (which I wouldn’t place too much value on).
But of course, like all the other accelerators, it’s the mentorship that’s supposed to be the biggest draw, coming from over 100 entrepreneurs, investors and partner companies, along with the much coveted exposure to angels and VCs on Demo Day.
It’s also talking up the co-working space aspect, too. Located at Bahcesehir University, the Startupbootcamp Istanbul office “spans over two floors, with an incredible atrium and cafe-filled terrace which overlooks the Bosphorus”, apparently. That certainly beats a cramped coffee table at Starbucks, but I digress…
In addition, being a pan-European accelerator — Startupbootcamp also operates in Amsterdam, Berlin, Copenhagen, Dublin, Eindhoven, Tel Aviv and Haifa — there’s access to the SBC global alumni network for the 10 teams accepted into this year’s Istanbul program.
The program is headed up by Ersin Pamuksuzer and Omer Yucel. Pamuksuzer is described as a serial tech entrepreneur, including helping to build the Turkish telco Turkcell. He also established the incubator, Crea-world, when he was CEO of Ericsson Turkey/Middle East. Meanwhile, Yucel is the director of corporate relations at Bahcesehir University.
So why launch an accelerator in Turkey? “Istanbul has always been an important gateway between east and west,” notes Startupbootcamp Istanbul’s Pamuksuzer in a statement. He also cites Turkey’s location in respect to Europe and the MENA region, and its relaxed visa rules, adding that “many multinationals currently use Istanbul as a base for the surrounding regions, and we expect many startups to do the same.”
Furthermore, Turkey, which has a population of 75 million, is by some estimates the second most online nation in Europe.