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Revo Capital Launches $100 Million Effort for Turkish AI Firms

Istanbul Financial Center

Turkey’s Revo Capital reportedly plans to raise $100 million for local AI-powered startups.

The new fund will mark Revo’s inaugural investment in the gaming and energy sectors, Managing Director Cenk Bayrakdar told Bloomberg News in an interview Monday (Dec. 18), with a focus on firms that develop AI and big data solutions. 

The Bloomberg report noted that Turkish startups have enjoyed a lot of successes in recent years thanks to companies like fast-delivery provider Getir, which is backed by Revo.

However, this is a challenging time for fundraising, with venture investments in Europe down significantly this year. 

According to Bloomberg, Revo anticipates that 80% of the funds it raises will go to companies in its home country, with the rest slated for central and eastern European firms. 

“We only invest in global companies or in companies that have global business,” Bayrakdar said. “Foreign investors don’t prioritize Turkey-only businesses.”

The report said that venture investments into Turkish startups came to $154 million in the first nine months of 2023, dropping from $1.26 billion in 2022, according to startups.watch, an Istanbul-based monitoring firm.

That’s in keeping with the larger picture in Europe. The annual State of European Tech report by British venture capital firm Atomico, released last month, projected that funds raised by Europe’s tech startups will come to $45 billion for the year, compared to $82 billion in 2022.

Meanwhile, PYMNTS looked at Turkey’s potential for digital transformation earlier this year in an interview with Worldline Head of Digital Goods and Services Michael Bilotta.

Of Turkey’s 85 million consumers, half are younger than 30 years old. And smartphone penetration is in the range of 80%. Still, most transactions are done in cash, despite several local digital payment methods.

“With so many young people owning smartphones, Turkey is primed for a digital goods and services moment,” PYMNTS wrote in April. “The caveat: It still requires digital connections to pay for those services.”

“The consumers are guiding the market to a large extent,” Bilotta told PYMNTS CEO Karen Webster. “What you see is that because it’s a young population, they’re becoming more and more sophisticated. They’re the ones that are starting to guide this. It’s our responsibility as the payment service provider to listen to what they’re saying, and then build the on-ramps.”

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