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?
Social Media profiles?
Facebook : Adnan.Akdemir
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
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