Workup 11th Batch Meetup - Pushing Turkish Startup Ecosystem Forward

February 3, 2023

Workup Entrepreneurship Program, supported by İşbank and implemented by Hackquarters, aims to support the growth and global scaling of the initiatives of solution-producing startups that can collaborate with İşbank and partners. Workup 11th Batch is open for applications until 8 February 2023. On 1 February 2023 Workup 11th Batch Meetup was held to bring entrepreneurs, ecosystem partners, alumni startups of Workup and the program side together.

The meetup started with an introduction speech by Kaan Akın, Founder & CEO, Hackquarters, talking about Workup's process and its outcomes so far.

“Scaling and partnership opportunities with İşbank and partners, tailor-made mentorships, more than $300,000 perks, and opportunities to expand globally are just few opportunities startups receive from the program. So far 15k+ startups have applied, and 95 graduated from the program. We had a good track record that many alumni startups raised investments and significantly improved their businesses. The $15M total of investments will not remain flat; I hope we’ll talk about $20-30M total of investments when the 12th-13th batches.”

After Kaan, Aydın Bozdemir, Entrepreneurial Unit Manager, İşbank, shared support mechanisms İşbank is proposing for entrepreneurs.

“For Workup, we’re looking for startups to build partnership. We’re constantly pushing to bring startups and relevant stakeholders together during the program process. We are not just running entrepreneurship programs but also supporting entrepreneurs with our investment muscle. In the program, we will also make you meet with our funds. Besides these, we established Entrepreneurship Branch in our Bank, firstly İstanbul based, to touch on startups’ particular needs, which are different from traditional enterprises.  We’re aware that startups have different financial needs than conventional businesses. Our Entrepreneurship Branches provides entrepreneurs with digital marketing, commercialization, legal, and specific financial support. We are now opening İstanbul Entrepreneurship Center next to İstanbul Entrepreneurship Branch to create the next generational ecosystem.”

Aydın’s presentation was followed by a Fireside Chat moderated by Fırat Umur, Growth Manager, İşbank, where Kıvanç Harputlu, Co-founder & CEO, PCI Checklist (Workup 4th Batch Alumni), and Mert Menekşe, Co-founder, Co-one (Workup 9th Batch Alumni), talked about Investments and Partnerships from their perspectives. 

Fırat Umur started the panel, “We’re not entrepreneurship experts but dedicated to embracing the startup ecosystem. When we met with PCI Checklist, we did not know what was happening, but we understood it was a good business. During and after the program, we did not become their first customer but their first investor. Now, it’s nice to see what PCI Checklist achieved. About Co-one, they weren’t accepted to the program in their first trial. They got taken to Workup after their second application. And now, MAXIS fund is their investor.”

Kıvanç shared his view, “Workup Program taught us what entrepreneurship is; and what it is all about. As we are based in Ankara, during the program, we had weekly trips from Ankara to Istanbul. We invested our time because we knew it was the right thing to do. Today, PCI Checklist serves 9 banks and more than 20.000 e-commerce websites globally.”

Mert also shared his experience “During the program, our revenue increased 5 times. What Workup means for us is basically about networking. Thanks to the program, we easily had a chance to meet with stakeholders, such as investors, mentors, and corporates, which can be highly valuable for us.”

The meetup ended with a Q&A Session.

Here are commonly asked questions and their answers:

What verticals can startups apply for  Workup 11th Batch?

Entrepreneurs can apply without considering any vertical as long as they see potential business partnerships with İş Bank and partners.

Do I have to re-apply if I have already applied to Workup before for the newly opened batch?

Workup applications are constantly open. We continuously evaluate the applications received for each batch. You can re-apply if there has been a significant change since your application.

How does the evaluation process work?

A general evaluation is considers the applications received by the set deadline for each Workup batch. Before appearing in front of the jury, the shortlist is created, and teams will reach out to the applicant if necessary. In the applications received for the 11th Batch of Workup, entrepreneurs will present their solutions online on the evaluation day (Monday, 27 February 2023). We recommend that you schedule your calendar in advance.

How many startups are accepted for each batch of Workup?

The Workup team determines the number of startups to be accepted. The aim is to accept maximum 10 startups for close support in this batch.

Can I participate physically in Workup events, training sessions, or mentorship meetings?

We and our mentors miss physical meetings :) We value the benefit of physical training sessions in the program, but you can also participate in a hybrid manner if physically attending is difficult. We notify you in advance of events that require physical attendance.

What does the program expect from entrepreneurs?

Being open to communication and actively seeking solutions for your needs is very important. We also love entrepreneurs who increase synergy. In return, we do not ask for equity or commission from entrepreneurs in the Workup program.

If you still have questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. Do not forget to apply before the deadline. 

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