Turkish interbank card centre BKM is collaborating with academics from Istanbul University and Ozyegin University to provide a framework for the country's startup ecosystem through the formation of FinTech Istanbul.
Owned by ten of the countries leading banks, BKM has been the prime mover in the creation of FinTech Istanbul, which will seek to nurture the emerging ecosystem through the provision of training and the sharing of ideas and information between banks and startups.
BKM general manager Dr. Soner Canko says investment in the country's fintech startups over the past four years has grown eightfold, from $1.1 million in 2012 to $9.6 million in 2015.
“Today in Turkey, most fintech initiatives and investments are in payment systems," he ads. "As this is in line with BKM’s goal of creating a cashless society, it is only natural for us to provide such strong support for FinTech Istanbul. BKM has used its 25 years of accumulated experience and expertise to develop the infrastructure to its current level and, during the newly developing digital transformation, is committed to supporting the ecosystem in order to accelerate innovation, facilitate new initiatives and ensure that the financial sector retains its competitive edge.”
Leading academics in the field have been brought onboard to provide support and links with the country's top universities, including Dr. Selim Yazıcı at the Political Sciences Faculty at Istanbul University and İhsan Elgin, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at Özyeğin University
Says Elgin: “When we consider the prospects for fintech, our greatest advantage is that there are many possibilities for Turkish entrepreneurs to seize this rapidly growing opportunity at the same time as the rest of the world. From this perspective, the timing is good for us. Location too, because Istanbul is emerging as a global financial center. And the financial sector’s strong infrastructure means that we also have the right resources.”
During the press conference to launch the platform, Yazıcı said that FinTech Istanbul will aim to develop “opportunities for cooperation on three continents” for members of the community through connections with San Francisco, Singapore and particularly London.