Turkish Startups Snag Record $1.55B Funding in 2021, a 948% YoY Increase


In 2021, several countries set new annual records in terms of deal count and investment value, and Turkey was no different.

Last year turned out to be the biggest year for startups in the Western Asia and Southeastern Europe country, after raising a record $1.55 billion-plus in angel and venture capital funds, representing a staggering 948% year-over-year increase in total investments according to data from startup monitor startups.watch, per Turkish publication Daily Sabah.

The data also revealed that the number of deals clinched during the period was up by 47%, further highlighting the rapid acceleration in funding growth the country experienced in a space of a year.

While its capital Istanbul placed 13th in terms of European cities receiving the most funding in 2021, the city secured fourth place for the number of funding rounds that year (218), which accounted for $1.49 billion of the overall amount Turkish startups received that year. With that figure, Istanbul was able to surpass Dubai for the first time ever, coming second to Israel’s Tel Aviv.

Overall, a total of 294 funding rounds were completed in the country in 2021, according to the report, putting Turkey in second place in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and among the top 10 countries in Europe with the most capital raised from investors.

Related: Turkish Grocery Delivery App Getir Adds More Investment Capital

One of the country’s biggest startups, grocery delivery app Getir, single-handedly accounted for around $983 million of the funding poured into the country’s startup ecosystem in 2021, the same year it became a unicorn — a private company with a valuation of at least $1 billion. The fundraising performance paled in comparison to the $38 million the company raised in all of 2020.

Read also: Delivery Startup Getir to Buy UK’s Weezy Amid Major Consolidation Moves in Ultrafast Grocery Market

According to a PYMNTS report, Getir and its network of scooter drivers fulfill more than 5 million monthly orders in Turkey alone. And outside its home turf, the company has a presence in Amsterdam, Paris, Berlin, Madrid and Barcelona, and recently expanded its operations in the U.K. with the acquisition of British rival Weezy.

Beyond Europe, the Istanbul-based firm introduced its ultrafast 10-minute grocery deliveries in New York City last November, marking its first foray into the United States market.

The instant grocery giant is currently valued at about $7.7 billion, and could potentially become a decathlon (a company that exceeds a $10 billion valuation) according to reports of an upcoming funding round.

But even without Getir’s fundraising, the total amount of capital injected into Turkish startups ($569 million) would still be higher than previous years, marking a 284% year-over-year increase, per the Daily Sabah report.

Mobile gaming company Dream Games also became a unicorn last year and contributed significantly to the country’s record fundraising with the $205 million it raised.

And barely a month into the new year, the gaming firm has already exceeded its 2021 figure, announcing recently that it had raised $255 million from investors and almost tripled its valuation to $2.75 billion.