Stripe, the U.S. startup that offers a simple payments API for developers to use in apps and on the web, has yet to launch in Europe, aside from a private Beta in the UK and Ireland. But that doesn’t mean that Europe’s been left wanting. The infamous Samwer brothers’ Rocket Internet has long stepped into fill the void with Paymill, which is you didn’t know any better (I don’t) could be considered a straight up Stripe clone. Meanwhile, other players outside the U.S. seem content to pick off one country or language at a time.
Enter Iyzi Payments, which in a bid to become the Stripe of Turkey, has announced that it’s closed a $1.4 million Series A round from Pachicle Invest, a group of international “payment experts” led by Stefan Klestil former President for Central and Southern Europe at Firstdata, Speedinvest, the Austria-based “super angel” fund, and Netprice.com’s subsidiary Beenos Asia led by Teruhide Sato. Following the investment, Stefan Klestil and Oliver Holle (Speedinvest’s CEO), have joined the iyzi Payments Board.
Iyzi Payments was founded in 2012 by Barbaros Özbugutu, a former manager at Klarna, and Tahsin Isin, a former executive at ClickandBuy, with the aim to become Turkey’s leading online payment provider with a similar proposition to Stripe and Rocket Internet’s Paymill. The latter, however, does operate in Turkey and is much better funded than iyzi (to the tune of $18 million or more), though it’s spread more thinly too, spanning 30 plus countries.
Tellingly, in a statement relating to its new funding, iyzi’s CEO and founder Barbaros Özbugutu makes reference to the startup’s strategy to focus solely on the Turkish market. “We are very happy about the investment and even more about the validation these renowned investors bring to the iyzico model”, he said. “Being able to use the entire $1.4m investment for the Turkish market shows that our investors also have confidence in the importance and potential of the e-commerce market here. Our primary goal now is to develop our iyzico product further and invest in sales and marketing activities to grow even faster.”
Of course, Turkey is renowned for being a very wired in nation, thus a potentially lucrative e-commerce/online payments market. ComScore estimates that Turkey has 37 million Internet users, making it the 5th largest Internet population in Europe. Crucially, according to BKM, it has a credit card penetration rate of approximately 60 percent with 46m credit cards in circulation. It’s also well-known that Turkey is big on social media, sitting 6th place for number of Facebook users, for example.
Therefore it shouldn’t be a surprise, despite news headlines of political unrest, to see investment interest continue in the region. To that end, HemenKiralik.com, which operates an Airbnb-like service in Turkey and MENA region, closed a $2.5m Series A round earlier this month from Netherlands-based 212 Venture Capital, and Aslanoba Capital. Meanwhile, in June, Evim.net, the leading flash sales site in Turkey, announced that it raised Series A funding in a round co-led by 212 Venture Capital, EBRD, and Simile Ventures.