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Adnan Akdemir

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Several successful exits has given Adnan credit as an investor. He and his family have been investing in entertainment for over 50 years.

What’s your story?
I am an angel investor focusing mainly on the entertainment industry, living in Istanbul. I am the third generation in my family, working in the entertainment business. We built the largest cinema chain in Turkey, Ukraine and Russia in the 90s and exited in 2011. Currently, we are focusing on digital, entertainment businesses both online and offline.

What is your involvement with Investment?
I am the president of our family investment office, overseeing 12 different investments. We have been investing for the past 50 years in cinemas, bowling and arcades, as well as hotels, boat chartering and entertainment focused land development. But now our growth is coming from the Internet. For example, our recent investment, YouTube MultiChannel Network, www.ilsvision.com is now the largest YouTube content aggregator in the Middle East, growing rapidly to 40 million videos a day, in its 5th year.

How did that come about?
We are active in angel investment networks but opportunities mainly come from our past contacts who know that we are very focused on entertainment and very systematic in creating value. Our past exits have earned us and all our investors a good track record so far.(Knock on wood)

What are some of the key things you have learnt about Investing?
We learned the hard way over the years that if you are not focused and dedicated on a specific area, you easily find yourself lost. We try to find the right jockeys not businesses, but we would feel more comfortable staying in our industry.

What mistakes do you see less experienced investors making?
Usually, the less investments you make, the more emotional you become on your investments. You have to fail fast, if possible. Also, the more successful you get, the bigger the mistakes you make. Ego is always working against you when investing. Specially on new, disrupting investments in the Internet are very tricky. The founders usually believe they know a lot at the age of 25! If you do not coach them carefully, they may lead you to glass ceilings or to a very basic emotional kaos in the company’s operations. We believe it is essential to know the founders as well as their businesses.

What mistakes do you see Entrepreneurs making?
Usually, they have very limited knowledge about the business world and they want their ideas to be successful nevertheless. Angel investors are a great source of capital for them in funding, coaching, networking or just basically learning to walk before they start running. If they can take criticism, many mistakes can be avoided.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Always keep on learning.

What advice would you give to those seeking funding?
There are different life steps in a new company. First is nurturing, you have to have funding in cash but also you need other support. So if you can persuade an experienced angel investor to invest and support you at your first stage, this will be healthier than anyone else investing in your idea since it will nurture you in many other areas besides cash. So, I recommend that they seek an angel investor first for both better nurture and a reality check at the same time!

Who inspires you?
Ataturk, the founder of modern day Turkey, who made the impossible possible, against all odds. He has managed to turn around a nation. If you believe in yourself and you are ready to go the extra mile, there is absolutely no limits to what you can do. The Turkish national anthem starts with a word “Korkma,” it means “do not be scared.” Our fears are our only limits on our journey.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
A friend of mine in the UK got his first coffee shop loan of £50.000 without collateral from the bank. He has exited his venture with over £50M capital, 10 years later. The bank that loaned him his initial funding was the 47th bank he tried in his first 3 months. I believe it is a good description of perseverance, a quality that an entrepreneur must have.

What business book do you recommend the most?
Blue Ocean Strategy

Shameless plug for your business/organisation:
For those who are interested in entertainment in our region, can always count on an established partner like our company, Sifisan Entertanment Investments.

How can people connect with you?
[email protected]

Social Media profiles?
www.AdnanAkdemir.com
about.me/adnanakdemir
linkedin.com/in/adnan-akdemir-91603a35
Instagram: Aaakdemir
Facebook : Adnan.Akdemir
Pinterest: Aaakdemir
Twitter: Aaakdemir
Snapchat: Aaakdemir
Youtube: Adnan Akdemir
Google+ : Aaakdemir
Gmail: [email protected]
Company website: www.Sifisan.com.tr

This article is part of the World Business Angel Forum media partnership with AsianEntrepreneur.org

If you would like more information about WBAF, please contact Callum Laing WBAF High Commissioner for Singapore. [email protected]

Investors

Easy to invest. Impossible to exit?

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Investors are living through the most exciting time in 400 years!

Is Entrepreneurship about Invention or Innovation?  If you watch any of the Dragons Den type shows on TV you would be forgiven for thinking that the way to become an entrepreneur is to invent a new product.  Look through history and it is littered with inventions that have changed the world.  As Emerson is reputed to have said ‘Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door’.   Yet not only do we no longer live in the sellers market that Emerson did in the in late nineteenth century, the reality is that just like a ‘better mousetrap’ entrepreneurship is about refining what has gone before to create even more value for others.  Any investor that is waiting for the perfect invention, is in for a long wait.

In February 2018, over a thousand of the top entrepreneurs and investment professionals from around the world are going to be gathering in Istanbul, Turkey for the annual World Business Angel Forum.  This years topic is Innovation.  While innovation is most definitely at the core of entrepreneurship it is an area that has been sadly lacking in finance and investing.

Fortunately that is changing and we are in the middle of probably the most exciting changes in investment and funding since the Dutch East India company decided to sell shares to the public in the 1600’s.  This means that listening to and learning from the best thought leaders in this area from around the world will be critical to seeing where the market is going next.

Innovation typically takes 3 forms.  Incremental, Disruptive and Radical.  As far as investment for startups and early stage companies, the last few years has most definitely touched all three of those areas.  Whether it is crowdfunding, the rise of Angel investing, or the recent flood of money into Initial Coin Offerings (ICO’s), the world of early stage investing has changed beyond recognition in the last 10-20 years.

Yet there is also change at the other end of the equation.  No longer are companies in a hurry to go public.  IPO’s are down 50% from 20 years ago meaning it has never been easier to invest in a company, yet conversely it has also never been harder to exit.  Secondary markets and innovations like Agglomeration have popped up to serve both the entrepreneur and the investors who wish to support and profit from them.

Governments, policymakers, and key players of the equity markets will gather for WBAF 2018 and will be focusing on building partnerships, fostering connections, and discussion of democratising access to finance.  Whether you’re an entrepreneur or an Investor it is time to get innovative and get yourself to Istanbul.

Where:  Istanbul, Turkey
When:  18 – 20th February 2018
How:  Tickets at http://wbaf2018.istanbul/

World Business Angel Forum is an official partner of AsianEntrepreneur and supports Entrepreneurs around the world.

This article is part of the World Business Angel Forum media partnership with AsianEntrepreneur.org

If you would like more information about WBAF, please contact Callum Laing WBAF High Commissioner for Singapore. [email protected]

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Are ICO’s the death of Angels?

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Killing Angels. Are Initial Coin Offerings (ICO’s) the death of early stage investing?

Imagine a startup that aims to build a decentralised cloud storage network, essentially disrupting platforms such as Dropbox and Box. The startup, not having a working product or any traction yet, decides to raise funding.  It does this very successfully raising $257 million. In the past year, this and stories like it have dominated the funding discussions thanks to Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). Yet most traditional Venture Capitalists (VC’s) and Angels missed out on these ‘opportunities’ and have started questioning where their role sits moving forward.

At the annual World Business Angel Forum coming up in February, you can be sure that amongst the normal topics of macro trends, impact investing and philanthropy, that ICO’s are going to be the amongst the hottest conversations both at the conference and in the hallways and bars afterwards.

With ICO’s overtaking early stage Venture Capital it is a topic that everyone is keen to understand

As opposed to equity/debt financing, ICOs are events where a startup raises funding through issuing tokens to the public. These tokens do not represent a stake in the company; rather, it primarily serves either as a securities or utility token. Securities tokens attempt to provide investors with returns for holding them while utility tokens act as “gas” for using the system the startup builds. Either way, investors aim to profit off these tokens on the various crypto exchanges. According to data from ICObench, ICO proceeds increased 141-fold, from $9.7million in Feb 2017 to $1.3billion in Dec 2017.

With more than 180 new ICOs scheduled to launch in 2018  it is easy to see why it is dominating conversations.

Of course, it is not just just early stage investors that are watching this space closely,  governments too are beginning to notice. Late last year, South Korea joined China in banning all forms of ICOs.

But for every South Korea and China, there is Switzerland or Estonia, the former known as Crypto Valley for its political stability and support for ICOs , the latter recently announcing to launch est-coin in its bid to be the global ICO hub.

The question for investors and for governments is whether this is another unsustainable bubble or whether it is some much needed innovation in a sector screaming out to get more funding into the hands of those creating value.  The lack of regulation certainly presents potential investors with another risk factor.

For those looking for a safer way to get involved, one option might be funds such as Polychain Capital and Fenbushi Capital. They specialise in blockchain vertical only portfolios. These funds also do invest in pre-sales, enjoying discounts on token prices and occupying an advisory seat on a startup’s board. This in turn provides the startup with more credibility, boosting demand and eventually prices of the tokens. It doesn’t hurt to diversify into blockchain startups if it falls within an angel’s or a fund’s thesis.

Proper Governance Models; Angels and VCs may look to invest in startups before they raise ICOs once milestones are met or come in at a later stage post-ICO when traction is gained. Alternatively, funds may be locked up in a cold wallet and voted to be released as milestones are reached. This model has not been explored yet but it could offer stability and trust.  However, looking beyond the core business and seeing who is on the Board, or what partnerships are already in place is also very important.

Either way this is a fascinating time to be involved in the scene.  If you want to be involved in the conversation then it is well worth heading to Istanbul to join the World Business Angel Forum 2018

Where:  Istanbul, Turkey
When:  18 – 20th February 2018
How:  Tickets at http://wbaf2018.istanbul/

World Business Angel Forum is an official partner of AsianEntrepreneur and supports Entrepreneurs around the world.

This article is part of the World Business Angel Forum media partnership with AsianEntrepreneur.org

If you would like more information about WBAF, please contact Callum Laing WBAF High Commissioner for Singapore. [email protected]

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