10 Startups to Watch Out For in Istanbul

Levent, Istanbul Business District
Levent, Istanbul Business District | © Mimar77 / Wikimedia Commons
Feride Yalav-Heckeroth

Despite the political unrest that has caused a lot of multinational talent to move abroad, Istanbul’s local entrepreneurs are still creating startups that are worthy competitors in the European market. We took a look at some of the standouts.


Even though Uber recently launched in Istanbul, BiTaksi continues to be the more popular option when it comes to getting a cab quickly in the city. Founder Nazım Salur has also recently launched the app Getir, which allows users to order items that range from food to personal care and much more.

Istanbul Taxi


In a country where only around half the population has a bank account, the prepaid card provider İninal really found their niche market and became very successful with over one million users in a year. Users can buy and add money to their prepaid card from the website or select sellers without having to open a bank account.


An open source in-memory data grid based on Java, Hazelcast launched in 2010 and quickly began to compete with big names such as Oracle. With offices in Ankara, London, Paris, Madrid, India, Korea, and Palo Alto, the startup has already worked with big clients such as Capital One, Deutsche Bank, and Ellie Mae.


After launching in 2007, Düğün was finally ready to compete in the international marketplace by 2015, launching in eight countries in the Middle East. The startup allows users (couples) to connect with the wedding marketplace to ease their planning. The startup’s website offers everything from wedding photographers and planners to wedding locations.



Paraşüt offers finance administration for small businesses, which make up around 99% of the Turkish economy but are not yet as efficient as larger corporations. Founded in 2013 by Sean Yu, the startup created a cloud platform for managing finances that has already garnered more than 12,000 users.


Insider launched in 2012 and helps online businesses create unique content for each user with a predictive algorithm provided by the startup for a monthly fee. The startup has already grown tremendously with offices not only in Istanbul but also London, Moscow, Singapore, Dubai, Warsaw, Istanbul, Kuala Lumpur, and Jakarta.


One of the biggest e-commerce platforms for Islamic fashion, Modanisa has most recently garnered more than 220,000 daily users and has already planned to expand into the markets in Europe and the Middle East. The startup’s website has more than six million visitors a month from 75 different countries who shop from the 300 different brands.

Muslim Fashion


Comparable to BuzzFeed, Onedio launched in 2014 and has already expanded to Russia with more than 100 million monthly video views. The startup is now getting ready to launch in Arabic. With stories such as “15 Horrible Wedding Dresses That’ll Scare the Groom Away,” Onedio has an avalanche of click-worthy material.


Aiming to replace old school call centers, AloTech is a web-based call center that runs on Google Cloud that can be set up anywhere in the world in under ten minutes. Using a pay-as-you-go model, the startup already has more than 100 clients and an office in Chicago.


Since launching in 2012, the payment platform Iyzico has grown substantially, with more than 43,000 active users. Founded by Barbaros Özbugutu and Tahsin Isin, the startup has created a payment processing and management system that only requires registry and a specialized code that is entered when making or receiving online payments.

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