Moving to Istanbul: A Guide for Startups and Entrepreneurs

Here is an A-to-Z guide about the startup ecosystem in Istanbul and why its such a great decision to move to Istanbul for entrepreneurship. Istanbul is one of the newest members of the Startup Genome, and seemingly it is all set to become the startup capital of Turkey. The tech sector in the city is driving the startup ecosystem of the city and is attracting a multitude of entrepreneurs, startups, and investors to move to Istanbul.

One of the most important tourist cities of Turkey, Istanbul has a population of 15 million people that comprise a good share of professionals and students from different parts of the world. The city has a GDP of $348 billion and a growing startup ecosystem that is made up of 1,200 and more startups.  Since the tech sector is such a prominent niche in the ecosystem, a lot of tech professionals and entrepreneurs are moving to Istanbul to explore its business climate.

Istanbul has been a famous city for trade and commerce in the region since ages as the city provides several competitive advantages that make it a friendly place for businesses. The city hosted the Global Entrepreneurship Congress this year which is a resourceful event for all kinds of players in any startup ecosystem.  Held over an entire week, the Global Entrepreneurship Congress brings together entrepreneurs, investors,  policymakers, and startups from over 170 countries as a means to discuss what each industry needs and helps the participants make the right connection for their growth.

What Sets Istanbul’s Startup Environment Apart?

Istanbul is doing a lot of things right as the city is seeing a vibrant growth of startups and has a number of catalysts propelling this growth. The city’s startup ecosystem is valued at $1.4 billion, and ventures in the city have an average of $113 k funding per startup in the early stages.  The city offers a good mix of all the appropriate frameworks for businesses to get a solid start. Here are some of the unmatched opportunities the city has to offer entrepreneurs moving to Istanbul.

In Istanbul, You Can Operate your Business from the Most Viable Location

The location of your business can make a lot of difference to how well you grow and how much you save.  And what’s better than a place that gives accessibility to diverse international markets without any hassles? Startups in Istanbul have the magnanimous advantage of running their business from a city that spans two continents! Entrepreneurs moving to Istanbul do not just tap the markets in these two continents, i.e. Asia and Europe but also in the nearby markets in Russia and the Middle East. Startups whose products and services are targeted for an audience in these markets stand an excellent chance to flourish by moving to this startup ecosystem.

Move to Istanbul to Get Access to Ample Funding

Funding is an essential area that most startups struggle with in the initial days of setting up and moving to a city that has local and international investors can make it easier for entrepreneurs. If you are an entrepreneur and are looking for the right place that gives you access to abundant sources of funding, moving to Istanbul can be a good choice.  The city has an angel investor community of more than 100 investors and a host of venture capital firms in the city. These angel investors and venture capital firms have a lot of capital waiting to be invested in talented entrepreneurship ideas.

What makes the funding scene better is that foreign investors are drawn to the city owing to the favorable FDI Law. The law offers investors from other countries the same rights as the local ones to make the playing ground leveled for all players of the city’s startup ecosystem.

Startups in Istanbul enjoy Lower Operational Costs

Factors that help in cutting down the cost of operating a business can be a boon. Istanbul’s golden location paired with the low costs of living and working is inspiring more and more entrepreneurs and startups to move to the city.  When compared with New York, a critical startup ecosystem in the U.S region, Istanbul’s cost of living index is  56% lower than that of the American cosmopolitan.  When it comes to the cost of working, the city offers a low corporate tax rate of 22% which is lower than most other European startup ecosystems.

Move to Istanbul to Make the Best of the Educational Sector

Istanbul is home to some of the best universities in the country. These include the Yildiz Technical University and the Istanbul Technical University, creating the finest engineering gems in the country. The educational sector contributes highly in the area of innovation and research and is also a great source of human resources capital. Startups in Istanbul get the best of tech talent, one of the reasons why the tech sector in the city has outshone the other areas. The thriving startup ecosystem and the steady pool of talent have helped create plenty of startups jobs in Istanbul.

Istanbul has Perfect Business Climate with a Supportive Community

Entrepreneurs, startup job seekers, and startups moving to Istanbul get a chance to grow in an active business community. The entry of the city into the top ecosystems by Startup Genome has elevated its status as a startup ecosystem attracting more entrepreneurs to the city.  Istanbul also witnessed an increase in the number of accelerators, incubators, and other supportive programs in recent years. The city has a good share of co-working office spaces like Workhaus, Impact Hub Istanbul, and Servcorp among the others, with some of them having offices in more than one location. These are located in different parts of the city and are ideal for professionals across all fields of work.  Startup Genome members like Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey, Endeavor, Turkish Exporters Assembly,  and Habitat  Association are constantly dedicating their time and resources to offer continuously improving social, cultural, and economic conditions for startups.

Planning to move to Istanbul but lacking the right guidance to set up your business? Get in touch with YoStartups to get the best business ideas, startup funding updates, industry insights and advice for your entrepreneurial journey. The brand is globally acclaimed for its startup boot camps and accelerator programs and has helped startups across the world launch successfully.

Istanbul’s Soaring Tech Sector – A Tech Hub in Making

Prominent universities in the region and the favorable conditions for foreign investment have given rise to a leading tech sector in Istanbul. The several startup partners further fuel this growth in the form of incubators and accelerators which are helping young tech talent find the right guidance and mentorship. The main areas that are supporting this sector grow are:

Fintech Startups in Istanbul

The Fintech sub-sector finds its strong foundation from the crucial banking and finance infrastructure in Istanbul which comprises of Fortune 2000 companies and leading banks. Garanti Bank and Akbank, two of the prominent players in the banking sector, bring in combined revenue of over $42 billion annually. Fintech startups in the city are mostly B2B companies that find a strong customer base in the banks and financial organizations in the city.

The fintech sub-sector in the city holds a  24% share in the total venture capital funding from 2012 to 2017. Some of the most significant activities in the sub-sector include the acquisition of Pozitron by Monitise for $100 million and iyzico raising $15 million in Series C funding.

AdTech Startups in Istanbul

Adtech startups in Istanbul are leveraging the significant advertising segment in Europe, Middle East and Africa and the city’s proximity to it to create a broad-reaching customer base.  The city’s startups are being touted as regional leaders in the sub-sector which has seen notable exits like that of Adphours, a travel-based adtech company. Move to Istanbul to be a part of an evolving adtech scene that brought in 6.6% of the total venture capital investments in the city.

AI, Big Data & Analytics Startups in Istanbul

The increasing share of the sub-sector in the total venture capital funding in the city is an indicator of how well it is growing. AI, Big Data & Analytic startups in Istanbul hold a share of  4.1% of the total venture capital investments from 2012 to 2017. This share is continually increasing with startups like Insider that has raised $2.2 million in the recent round. Insider is an up-and-coming startup in Istanbul which is a marketing platform analytic company.

Istanbul has an active startup community that is resourceful and helpful. A number of leaders from tech giants here are open to helping entrepreneurs and startups by offering their time mentoring them as an act of giving back to the community. The city’s location provides an unmatched advantage in reaching out to global markets and is a hotbed for foreign investors. Startups moving to Istanbul also get many opportunities to learn and interact with other players of the ecosystem at the numerous startup events held in the city like the Global Entrepreneurial Congress and Startup Istanbul, two of the most significant events for startups globally.

Copyright All Rights Reserved © Yostartups | Please do not copy without written permission |


This article is from Yostartups, YoStartups is a Pre Accelerator, and it empowers entrepreneurs to propel their business ideas into successful ventures. Yostartups’ core mission is to take the message of entrepreneurship to 1 billion people globally by 2020.

In case you are looking at scaling or launching a venture on similar lines, you can apply for our virtual acceleration program Excelrate on our website,, Yostartups’ Excelrate program will help you in streamlining and structuring your startup idea. We have limited scholarships and discount packs for deserving business ideas, depending on the strength of your startup ideas, you may qualify for a discount.


Disclaimer *Any views, opinions and guidance set out in this website are provided for information purposes only, and do not purport to be legal and/or professional advice or a definitive interpretation of any law, marketability or fitness for a particular business idea for any market or industry segment. Anyone contemplating an action in respect of matters set out in this website should obtain advice from a suitably qualified professional adviser based on their unique requirements. Yostartups, its employees, shareholders, directors, vendors, contractors, partners, associates, authors and contributors, make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the website or the information, products, services, or related graphics contained on the website for any purpose. Any reliance you place on such information is strictly at your own risk.
Hey There!

If you have any question, send us an email and we'll get back to you, soon.

Start typing and press Enter to search