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Turkey’s Trendyol raises ~€1.3B, adding to Europe’s 10 e-commerce decacorns

Demet Mutlu, founder of Trendyol, Wikimedia Commons
Image credit: Demet Mutlu, founder of Trendyol, Wikimedia Commons

After raising €1.28 billion in a new funding round, Turkey-based Trendyol has been valued at  €14 billion. This makes the e-commerce platform one of Europe’s 30+ decacorns and the first one in Turkey. The new financing was co-led by global high-profile investors, including SoftBank Vision Fund 2, General Atlantic, Princeville Capital and sovereign wealth funds, ADQ and Qatar Investment Authority. It comes after previous strategic investments, including from company owner, Chinese internet and e-commerce giant Alibaba, which increased their stake to 86.5% with ~€300 million investment back in April.

From filling a market gap to becoming one of the e-commerce decacorns

Demet Mutlu founded the company in 2010, choosing the entrepreneurship path instead of continuing her MBA program at Harvard Business School. The Turkish entrepreneur is also the co-founder and investor of the mobile gaming company Peak Games, sold in 2020 to Zynga for 1.5 million and an overall acclaimed woman leader in the tech startup ecosystem.

Back in 2010, Turkey’s e-commerce industry was underdeveloped. Seeing this as an opportunity, Demet bootstrapped ~€250K to launch Trendyol. Today, the company is the country’s biggest e-commerce marketplace platform with more than a third (34%) of the market, followed by Hepsibuarda with 11%, according to Euromonitor data from 2020.

One of the drivers behind Trendyol’s growth is the surge in the online shopping market in the last few years. Online purchases in Turkey increased by 66% last year amid the lockdown, reports Bloomberg. They add that the company’s gross merchandise value has increased around 20 times in the past three years. 

Becoming a decacorn is an achievement for the company, as well as the industry and the region. In Europe, in August 2021 there were 10 other marketplace and e-commerce decacorns, or ~16% of the total $10 billion-valued startups in the global ecosystem. Moreover, there are only 2 other decacorns in the fashion industry in Europe: Zalando, an online fashion platform based in Berlin, and Farfetch, an online luxury fashion retail platform based in London.

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From marketplace to a multi-service e-commerce company

Worldwide, Trendyol sends more than 1 million packages per day and serves more than 35 million shoppers. But aside from its marketplace platform, the company has developed several side businesses to support it and make the transition to online shopping leaner for customers. 

For instance, the company’s Trendyol Express service is a separate last-mile delivery solution across Turkey. But the company also provides grocery and food delivery through the Trendyol GO network, a service that also allows couriers to use their own vehicles. 

In addition to delivery services, users have access to a digital wallet called Trendyol Pay. The company developed this service as an alternative payment method to reduce dependency on bank systems in the checkout funnel and create a better experience for customers, especially during high-transaction periods.

The new capital will help the company continue its expansion in Turkey, as well as internationally,  founder Demet Mutlu said. As expected, Trendyol announced they will continue to support the overall e-commerce infrastructure, including logistics and new technologies that will help accelerate the digitalization of the SME sector in Turkey.

Evren Ucok, Trendyol’s chairman, highlighted the growth potential of the Turkish market, based on its young and growing population, great talent pool, and strong manufacturing and logistics capabilities. In this context, Trendyol aims to become a leading player in EMEA and launch new export channels for Turkish manufacturers and merchants, he added.

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For more on e-commerce innovation in the SEE, discover the story of the Romania-based e-commerce solution startup, Blugento.

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Antoanela is a Sustainability Communications Specialist and Deputy Editor at The Recursive media. From these roles, she is helping organizations communicate their latest sustainability goals, strategies, and technologies. She writes about climate tech, ESG, impact investment, sustainability regulation, and related topics.