Established in 2006 to support entrepreneurship in the Sabancı University ecosystem and to bring innovative ideas from within and outside the university to the business world, Sabancı University Inovent has led the implementation and growth of 39 start ups so far. One of these start ups, Appcent offers mobile solutions to companies mainly in the e-commerce and banking industries in different areas such as application development.
Appcent was founded in 2013 with the support of TÜBİTAK 1512. Ozan Uysal, founder of the company, says: “Inovent introduced us to various companies with which it is connected and helped us get to know the industry. It also helped us open an office in Technopark, which gave us a competitive advantage.”
We talked with Uysal about Appcent's entrepreneurial journey.
First of all, can you talk a little bit about yourself and how the idea of the start up was conceived?
I am a ITU Electronics Engineering graduate. I completed my master's degree in Computer Engineering at Sabancı University. After that, I completed my PhD studies in Marketing at Bilgi University and in Computer Engineering at Doğuş University. After working as an engineer in large companies for 6 years, I quit while working at Turkcell on mobile internet in 2012 to start my own company, realizing the gap in this industry. With the support of Tübitak 1512, I founded my own start up, Appcent.
How did you meet Inovent?
After receiving Tübitak 1512 funding, I contacted Sabancı University and sought support for my project idea. Inovent liked my idea and decided to support it. We started to reach out to companies in the industry from office in GOSB Technopark.
What were the points where you needed support as a start up? At what points did Inovent meet this need?
Initially, Inovent introduced us to various companies with which it is connected and helped us get to know the industry. It also helped us open an office in Technopark, which gave us a competitive advantage. Additionally, it helped us become familiar with different ecosystems through network meetings it organized abroad.
Can you tell us about your current activities? What kind of service does Appcent offer in which countries?
As Appcent, we have acted as a mobile solution partner for many leading companies, especially in the retail and e-commerce industries, since our establishment. Today, we mainly provide support to our customers in the e-commerce and banking industries in the field of mobile application development and mobile solutions. In addition to Turkey, we also serve large customers in Kuwait. Our plan is to improve our services in the MENA region.
What are your recommendations for start ups like yours? What did you do right? What do you think is the roadmap that can bring success for start ups in Turkey?
First of all, do a good market research and make sure that there is a need. If you cannot identify the need correctly, or if customer expectations are shifting in a different direction, do not hesitate to pivot. That means not falling in love with your idea. You also have to build your team well and allocate responsibilities from the very beginning when partnering.
Can you talk about Appcent's future goals?
Appcent has been a rapidly growing company since its foundation and in this sense, we have become one of the largest companies in the industry. Recently, we have established Appcent Academy to train new mobile application developers in Turkey. Our goal for the future is to become an international company that serves our customers on a wide scale, not only in terms of mobile, but also in terms of software in general. Today, we are planting the seeds of this with 360-degree solutions that we have developed for some of our customers.