Sunshine woke me up on a beautiful Saturday morning in Istanbul. As I was getting ready for my first meeting for the day, I was multitasking by checking the route on how to get to the meeting point and in the same time preparing a concept in my head for our conversation. Sometimes it is hard to be a woman, but at least we are good at multi-tasking 🙂 I rushed through the door because I wanted to be on time, since it was all previously scheduled, once again thanks to the power of startuptravels, but going from Boğaziçi University with a metro to Karaköy and then being late again… I am not sure how people in Istanbul manage to arrange meetings where no one is late, ever?!? 🙂 I guess you get better with time…
So, where to go first, when you try to explore the startup community than a co-working space. And the first one in Istanbul that I visited, is probably the most beautifully arranged one, plus with amazing view of the Bosphorus. I was warmly welcomed to the premises by the General Manager / Co-founder at Yazane, mr. Kerim Harunoğlu. Yazane is a fresh co-working space in Karaköy, Istanbul, that brings together freelancers and small companies / startups in a stimulating working environment.
“Well, my main profession is in the animal meat trade, that’s where I get most of my incomes from, but at one of my travels in Berlin back in 2008, I was introduced to the co-working spaces concept for the first time and I loved it. I knew that this is something I want to bring to Istanbul and to engage more with the community at home. It was a long process of establishing Yazane and finally 2 years ago we were able to do it. Now we have 3 startups that are situated here, and 46 desks that are already booked for all types of freelance workers. We also have offices for meetings and as the business is growing, we are looking for additional space for Yazane, this time in the Asian part. ” says Kerim.
Since, I’ve learned that co-working spaces are “The Thing” in Istanbul at the moment, I was interested to find out more about the situation first hand:
“The startup community is rapidly expanding. Couple of years ago there were only few events (that I know of), where the community was able to meet, but nowadays it is way different. Events started to diversify, expats started joining the community, so there are many opportunities for meeting like-minded people and networking. We can see how active members of the community turned into managers of acceleration programs and it is all going up-hill. We as a co-working space try to stay in touch with the other co-working spaces in Istanbul, for possibilities for collaboration, but also for uniting in helping this community develop further. At Yazane, for example, every two months we organize pitching sessions for startups in front of Business Angels and Investors. The moment when I feel most proud is when I see on a daily basis all the people here, sharing ideas, working together and helping each-others. But also when one of the startups operating here got an investment was a proud moment for me as well. I do hope that in future more startups will join and work from a co-working space instead of home based office spaces.” – said Kerim.
In Istanbul daily there are up to 2 million tourists that are coming to the city. Some of them for business, some for vacation. No matter the case, I was interested to know how many people interested in startups, from other countries has Kerim met so far, and what is their experience in doing business in Istanbul and Turkey in general:
“Istanbul is becoming great place for startups and startup enthusiasts. It develops in the right direction for doing business and it has the odds to become a major startup hub. I have met many expats that come to the city and some of them even do start with their business from here. You can easily gather a good team here. Starting from co-working spaces where the variety of professionals is big, but also through events and networking sessions. From this spring we are also planing to expand our range for startup events, meet-ups, networking possibilities and workshops, all in all to help in building up the community. My main aim and motivation is to give back to the community. I want to be able to make a difference and a positive impact, so I am always open for collaboration with local and international startup enthusiasts and the doors of Yazane are open for everyone interested in joining in”. – adds Kerim
I had a blast at Yazane and it sure has an amazing working environment. This I say, since after our meet-up with Kerim I did stay there to roam around the premises and finish some work stuff. Enjoyed being there and for sure will come back when I’m in Istanbul again. Recommending it to everyone that travels to Istanbul, to pay a visit to Yazane. Hopefully soon I will be able to do another #StartUpSelfie with Kerim from their new co-working space in the Asian part. Wishing them luck and great success with their mission in further development of the startup community.
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