Interview: Beybin Esen

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Meet Baybin Esen, a young female entrepreneur from Turkey who showed us some insight to the startup scene in the vibrant Eastern city. Check out our interview!

I went to Istanbul to meet not only mature business people turned into angel investors but also young local entrepreneurs. I sat down with Beybin Esen, an ambitious and smart young Turkish woman whose mission is to disrupt the Turskish real estate market. (Note — neither me nor Beybin are English native speakers. Beybin and I also chatted about my stupid mistake in Berlin earlier this year).

Who is Beybin Esen? Where do you want to be in 5 years?

My keyword is “fixer.” From the beginning of my work life, people around me had problems and questions and I was the one who had the solutions. I graduated from Kadir Has University, Public Relations at age 21. Worked in advertising agencies in strategy, creative and social media teams for 6 years. After 6 years, I had to do something better, something different. I had to have my own brand. And I had to fix something. A month after I left the Social Media Group Head position in a digital advertising agency, I came up with the idea of EvimiTut. My plan is being a mentor for Turkish start-ups in 5 years.

Your project is What problem are you solving? How is the business going?

EvimiTut has an insightful story about real-estate market in Turkey. I’ve been living by myself for 6 years now and I’ve paid around $7.500 as real-estate comission for 6 houses. And always had the worst surprises after renting the house. The neighbours were insane, the landlord was strange etc. My best friend was looking for a new house for 4 months and one Sunday night, she called me crying, saying that she’s officially homeless and couldn’t get the deal with a real-estate agent.

That’s why I opened a blog that night, telling people to put their houses ad if they’re leaving the house. They did!

Now, EvimiTut is the first platform for renters in Turkey. You can listen to the experience with the apartment from the last tenant, you can rent it without real-estate comission. Plus, brands like Pizza Hut, Vestel, D-Smart give sales and gifts to users of EvimiTut. For example, if you rent your new house from EvimiTut, you get a free pizza from Pizza Hut for your first night at home.

EvimiTut has opened as a blog on 9th of July and became a lean start-up after Yiğit Kula joined as a developer and designer. We got 27.000 traffic in 2 days without any marketing budget. In 3 months, 132 ads were given on EvimiTut by ex-tenants and 89 people rented their new houses without any comission! We’ve reached more than 2 million page views now. So i’d like to answer “It’s going greaaaat!”

Which business models from abroad inspired you?

Not a specific business model, but as the idea of the collective consciousness of the Internet let us do this. People got used to support ideas they like on the Internet. If you’re friendly and if you’re solving a problem, people help you to spread the word.

Do you need help with anything?

Not now, but we’ll need help about building a global network. Real-estate agents are a huge burden for renters, specially for students and young people all around the world.

This is my first time in Istanbul. It is a vibrant city with a huge market. Any specifics you see with Turkish online business compared to Europe or the US?

The real-estate market in Turkey is in the second place in Europe according to the growth rate. Also, Turkish online users pay too much money for online dating. Younger, cooler people use mobile apps such as Tinder but web services are more popular than mobile apps. Also, online gaming is a huge market in Turkey as far as I know. The online gamer population is around 30 million in Turkey. Considering the online population is 35 million in Turkey, we may say nearly everybody is playing games.

How do Turkish startups get funded? Home sources? Foreign?

Not so many Turkish start-ups get funded. There are several Turkish investor groups like 212, Galata Business Angels, Aslanoba Capital. And there’re also global investor groups such as Keiretsu Forum.

Any ways how foreign early stage investors could help Turkey young companies? Where on the web should they be looking for opportunities?

The thing is, entrepreneurs need mentors in Turkey before funding. The ideas don’t become start-ups so quickly and there’re not so many mentors who will lead entrepreneurs. It’s a hard thing to become a start-up in Turkey. Also, surprisingly, mobile games are on fire and they can’t find investors in here.



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