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Founder Institute Launches in Istanbul, Aims to Propel Tech Entrepreneurship in Turkey

Posted by Jonathan Greechan on 2012-10-02

Today we are excited to announce our newest location - Istanbul, Turkey! The first ever Istanbul Founder Institute is just around the corner, as the 4-month program is slated to start on November 28th. The program is open to existing and prospective technology founders of all kinds - with or without an idea, young or old, and with a full-time job or unemployed.

If you or someone you know could benefit from expert training and feedback to launch a technology startup in Istanbul, click here to apply. If you apply by the Early Application Deadline on Sunday, October 21th, you get to take the Predictive Admissions Test for free ($50), and have the best chance of acceptance.

If you would like to learn more, then join a free event we will be hosting in the coming weeks:


The Founder Institute is setting up shop in Istanbul to accelerate the city's ready-to-explode entrepreneurial talent and potential. We believe that Turkey is close to a tipping point, as its young and talented population now sees entrepreneurship as a viable career option. What’s necessary to activate the tipping point is to provide the right mentoring, training, and incentive structures to foster an active entrepreneurial community. This is exactly what the Founder Institute does. 

Idea-stage technology entrepreneurs in Turkey are no longer alone. You don’t even need an idea to apply to the Founder Institute - just a passion to launch a technology company. The program is entrepreneur-centric and works to build entrepreneurial muscles, expertise, and community. The program first helps founders brainstorm and choose the best match project for their personality, risk profile, vision and market. Then, it helps them build the product and company. As a result, the Founder Institute has now launched over 600 companies across 30 cities and 5 continents, with approximately 42% receiving external funding. 

The Istanbul Founder Institute will be led by two leaders of the Turkish startup scene: Kutlu Kazanci and Elbruz Yilmaz. Kutlu is the COO and Co-founder of, a social ideation platform company, and the Managing Partner of Endogen, a lean innovation and transformation consultancy. Kutlu has been active in the ecosystem since 2006 as the General Secretary of Galata Business Angel Network, and the Entrepreneur Services Manager of Endeavor Turkey.

Elbruz is the CEO of BTS & Partners, a leading consultancy firm focusing on ICT, IP and Investment sectors. Previously, Elbruz was the Vice President of Operations and Business Development of P.I.Works, Inc., a mobile network optimization startup, and Director at Inovent, a technology commercialization and investment company in Istanbul. Elbruz is also a founding member of Galata Business Angels and teaches Entrepreneurship and Technology Commercialization courses at Sabanci University in Istanbul.

The Founder Institute is recruiting top entrepreneurs and CEOs in the technology ecosystem in Turkey to serve as mentors to the program participants. We will be recruiting well-known mentors from the United States as well, but so far Turkish mentors who have signed up include;

  • Alper Tekin, CEO, Mekanist;
  • Arda Kutsal, Founder & CEO, Webrazzi; 
  • Baris Tekin, CEO,; 
  • Burak Buyukdemir, Founder, E-Tohum; 
  • Cem Sertoglu, Partner, Earlybird Venture Capital; 
  • Eren Bali, CEO (and Founder Institute graduate), Udemy; 
  • Ersan Ozer, Founder, Youlike; 
  • Fatih Isbecer, CEO, Pozitron; 
  • Firat Isbecer, Managing Partner, Pozitron; 
  • Mehmet Metin Okur, CEO, Sefamerve; 
  • Melih Odemis, CIO,; 
  • Nevzat Aydin, CEO,; 
  • Onur Aydin, Country Manager, Groupon Turkey; 
  • Sidar Şahin, CEO Peak Games;
  • And many more to be announced.
Apply to the Istanbul Founder Institute today

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