Startup Ecosystem, what is it really?

That is not actually new stuff. We talk and talk for this word for years. I would like to mention more to emphasize what is important in ecosystem and how do we create / cooperate / get benefit from the ecosystem.

According to stats, the ecosystem created $2.8 trillion in value between 2016 and 2018. This is a 20% increase from the previous period. This value creation is on par with a G7 economy and bigger than the annual GDP of the United Kingdom. When people look at the economic value of the system, they immediately start to think locations. So, basic discussion is more on who will be the next Silicon Valley, e.g. Tel Aviv, Berlin, Paris, London…I think that is again old way of thinking to talk about physical locations which I find no big value. It is more about style, strategy of your ecosystems and your go to market in manner of technology, business models and financing including VCs (Venture Capitals). First of all, let’s understand that what you focus on is more important than where you focus (imagine that we live in global market anyways)

My second point is that some of the first movers identify new areas like Robotics, Blockchain, Agtech, Fintech, Artifical Intelligence (AI) and others. Trend followers start to create startups on these new terminologies or sectors. I think that is now being a market and you are being a member of market who try to get market share. For my opinion, it is not real startup anymore. It is an entrepreneur company who is trying to grow faster and to make an exit. Whoever is creating the new trend actually, and grow the fastest and quit for another opportunity by creating a new market, that is the real startup. Maybe we should talk more on stakeholders in ecosystem. Not often talked, but governments play critical role on the market. Why ? Regulations, policies, speed…Most of the startups do something and governments try to understand how to regulate it. So, they come later and later. There is this potential risk then a state can kill your market later on as well. (Uber can be good example).

Maybe to increase the collaboration between startups and government would help too much on ecosystem. Financing is the same. Our regular financing is to find out how to finance big projects. And for startups, famous VCs, white angels who try to invest / finance startups. To talk more on financing on business models in more flexible way, supporting by financing with network utilization is the key. I will mention on this with a totally different title separately.

I think we have completed regular startup culture in our world. Next item is to shape next generation of startup ecosystem. What can be more value add, how to shape it, new investment models, new stakeholders…

To utilize internet for business models are now widely used and a little bit old school. However, to create most value added platforms (connecting systems) would be next phase. To touch on more humans and their basic needs and bring the easiest / simplest solution for small problems will be next thing. Platform of the platforms will be the next thing. On top of these, the social key topic for the ecosystem will be education. Think about it, everything changes, we talk about startups, systems are changing and we still use almost same ways for educations for our kids. We expect them to differentiate themselves by giving same type of education. That needs to change as well. Instead of segmenting Asia, USA, Europe, others, trying to combine the best parts of them and creating the unique one for the best would be the best option on this. How to create new education system which supports analytical, creative thinking is new key stuff that we should all need to work on.

For entrepreneurs who work for corporates always think about having the highest position in the company or having their own company. Maybe the best way is to find the common point. Next generation CEO needs to run big corporates like startups and understand the ecosystem as well and to find the best for both parties. They need to be clear how to integrate themselves with new world and create sustainable corporation. For startup owners, they cannot survive in ecosystem without big / experienced companies on their own. They should focus on cooperation as well. Next phase for leaders will be having their own companies as well as managing big corporations together.

Hakan Özdemir

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