ISTANBUL BLOG: Everybody’s cottoning on to Turkey’s “native and national” car

ISTANBUL BLOG: Everybody’s cottoning on to Turkey’s “native and national” car
By Akin Nazli in Belgrade April 15, 2020

Istanbul-based Revo Capital Management, founded in 2013, has invested Turkish lira (TRY) 14mn (€2mn) in 3D augmented reality startup CY Vision, according to local media reports.

CY Vision is part of Turkey’s “native and national” programme to deliver the country’s first domestically designed and produced car. It is taking responsibility for the project’s hologram technology mission, Cenk Bayrakdar of Revo told business daily Dunya.

Turkey’s “native and national” car project is one of the most crackbrained ways of allocating Turkish public resources ever devised but it has provided income guarantees—given, please note, prior to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak—for companies without certain ethical constraints.

A better project would be reinventing the wheel in Anatolia before embarking on the road to a “native and national” automobile, but at the end of the day, whatever the project’s contours, there are serious question marks at the moment as to whether President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will have the economic wherewithal to allocate public funds to meet the fantasies of his cultured middle-class.

For added comedy value, let’s not forget how a prototype was imported from Italy last December in order to make possible a sensational promotional ceremony to announce the “fully electric” automotive ambitions.

The talk was that the “native and national” car was to hit the highway prior to the next presidential election, but given the corona conundrum and Turkey’s economic mayhem, there’s no guessing when that will be. Don’t rule out next week, or a generation from now should the country go “full regime”.

No engine, Italian body

“Inshallah, we’ll solve the engine issue too in a few years,” Erdogan said at the ceremony.

We just couldn't run that picture big enough.

So, although the “native and national” car lacks an engine, it has an Italian body, the will, all being well, of Allah behind it, and, not long from now, a “holographic assistant” feature, if media reports that imply CY Vision is set to develop it or import it, prove free of error.

Vestel (owned by a prominent devotee of Erdogan, Ahmet Nazif Zorlu), Koc Holding’s Inventram and US-based Intel Capital also have stakes in CY. Everybody has joined the gang. An Erdogan businessman, an early Turkish Republic bourgeois, a multinational and the harbingers of hefty public finance. The only thing missing—can we stress this enough?—is an engine as Intel could provide the hologram.

In March, Revo Capital Fund II achieved a first closing with over €41mn in capital commitments, and CY was its first investment. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), EIF, Enerjisa, Finberg, QNB Finansbank and Yildiz Ventures are among the participants in Revo’s second fund.

22 ventures

Revo has investments in 22 ventures, including e-invoicer Foriba (sold to US-based Sovos), Skyatlas (a cloud infrastructure provider sold to Istanbul-based Kartaca) and delivery service application Getir. Revo Capital Fund I took in $66mn.

Ah, good, now we are fairly motoring away from the “native and national” car (registered with the European Union's Intellectual Property Office, or EUIPO, donchaknow).

Last month, Getir was awarded a contract to defy the coronavirus with the delivery of 300,000 Istanbul Governorship food support packages to 50,000 senior citizens. No tender, as per usual, was held and no price information was disclosed, but local media reported that Getir would finance 10,000 packages worth TRY1.5mn from its own resources.

Investments in Turkish startups remained flat at $19.8mn in the first quarter compared to $19.6mn in Q1 2019, but that was before Turkey joined the world as a fully paid-up member of the coronavirus fiasco, according to data from local startup portal Startups.Watch.

As if it needed saying, a dramatic fall is expected in the second quarter, although Turkish statisticians do tend to come up with some very curious official statistics.

A total of 27 startups attracted investments in Q1 versus 13 a year ago, while 78% of investments were below $1mn versus 82% in Q1 2019.

In Q1 this year, $4mn was invested in seed-funding-stage start-ups while $11mn went to early-stage and $5mn to late-stage.

Seven software companies attracted a total of $10.4mn, two fintechs got $5.2mn, three proptechs (property technology enterprises) raised $5.1mn, five artificial intelligence companies landed $4.7mn and three deep-techs brought in $4.2mn.

In February, Amazon acquired San Francisco-based data processing firm DataRow from Istanbul-based parent TeamSQL for an undisclosed sum.

The top 10 fundraisers—accounting for 91% of a total $19.8mn that went to Turkish startups in the first quarter—were Apsiyon (launched in 2009, it provides an online platform for property managers and it was 240th on the Deloitte Fast 500 EMEA 2018 ranking), Thundra (launched in 2017, it offers application observability and a security platform), App Samurai (mobile advertising platform), Vispera (launched in 2014, visual intelligence for retail), Biolive, PriSync, Mutlubiev, Temizlikyolda, Jib Games and Otsimo.

Three new angel and venture capital funds, namely Revo Capital II, ScaleX Ventures and Teknoloji Yatirim (TTGV1 Co-investment Fund) were established in Turkey in Q1.

Major M&As
Date Sold Stake Price Buyer Seller
Apr-20 CY Vision - TRY13.5mn Revo -
Feb-20 Gunes Sigorta 10% - TVF Groupama
Feb-20 Yapi Kredi 12% €400mn Placement UniCredit
Feb-20 Novartis' plant - - Generica Novartis
Jan-20 SODA, ANACM, TRKCM, DENCM - - Sisecam Merger
Jan-20 McDonald's Turkey 100% TRY281mn Birlesik Holding Anadolu Group
Jan-20 Sanovel 30% $200mn Yamma Investments Toksoz Group
Jan-20 Total, M Oil 100% $360mn Oyak Demiroren
Jan-20 Glovo Turkey 100% - Exit Glovo
Jan-20 JCR Eurasia 85.05% - Consortium Japan Credit Rating Agency
Jan-20 Intourist 100% - Anex Tour Thomas Cook
Jan-20 Akbank 1.9% TRY9.3mn - Minority shareholders
Jan-20 Halkbank 1.5mn TRY6.76- 6.81 @Borsa Istanbul Halkbank
Jan-20 Gunes Sigorta 27mn TRY2.28-2.45 @Borsa Istanbul Vakifbank
Jan-20 Inteltek 55% - Intralot Iberia Turkcell
Jan-20 Goulette Shipping Cruise 100% - GPH - MSC -
Jan-20 Batiliman 100% $75-110mn Habas Baticim
Jan-20 Neckermann 100% - Anex Tour Thomas Cook
Dec-19 Borsa Istanbul 10% - TVF EBRD
Dec-19 Istanbul Gida 100% TRY77mn Yasar Serdengecti Ulker Biskuvi
Dec-19 Is Invest 0.226mn TRY4.49-4.55 @Borsa Istanbul Isbank
Dec-19 Is Invest 0.162mn TRY4.29-4.36 @Borsa Istanbul Isbank
Dec-19 ICA 51% $688.5mn Consortium Astaldi-Ictas
Dec-19 Adana, Aslan, Bolu, Mardin, Unye OYAK Merger
Dec-19 SOCAR Polymer 10% - Tekfen Holding Socar-Pasha Holding
Dec-19 Gunes S., Halk S., Ziraat S., Halk H., Ziraat H., Vakif E. TVF Ziraat Bank, Halkbank, Vakifbank
Dec-19 Vakifbank 51.85% TRY2.83bn Treasury Directorate of Foundations
Nov-19 Yapi Kredi 9.02% TRY1.41bn Koc Holding UniCredit
Nov-19 Bucher Reisen & Oger Tours 100% - Anex Tour Thomas Cook
Nov-19 Oztiryakiler 28.5% - Hoshizaki Corp. Oztiryakiler
Nov-19 Istanbul Tower 100% $594mn ICBC Turkey Yesil REIT
Sep-19 Air Manas 49% €98,000 Avia Trade Pegasus
Aug-19 Temsa Machinery 41% - Marubeni Sabanci Holding
Aug-19 Denizbank 99.85% $2.77bn Emirates NBD Sberbank
Jun-19 TSKB REIT 0.142 mn   TSKB @Borsa Istanbul
Jun-19 Coca Cola Icecek 0.16mn/0.07% TRY30.3 @Borsa Istanbul Ozgorkey Holding
Jun-19 iyzico majority $165mn PayU Founders
May-19 Temsa Bus Light Truck 100% TRY375mn True Value Capital Sabanci Holding
May-19 Parasut - - Turkven, Early Bird Revo, Ribbit
May-19 Foriba - - Sovos Revo Capital
May-19 Ictas Surdurulebilir - $100mn EBRD IC Energy Holding