TECHNOLOGY

Turkey 2020 | TELECOMS & IT | B2B

New regulations are helping push Turkey's technology sector in the right direction, but more help from banks is needed if fintechs are to reach as many customers as possible.

Demirhan Şener
DEMIRHAN ŞENER
CEO
Multinet Up
Koray Gültekin Bahar
KORAY GÜLTEKIN BAHAR
CEO
Foriba

What are some of your market growth strategies?
DEMİRHAN Şener Up until 2019, the group mostly focused on B2B. But we believe that B2C will catch up in the coming years, which is why we made strategic acquisitions to help to grow in that segment. On the B2B side, we believe enhancing our service set is the key to growth and are investing in several new services related to corporate and employee expenses. In 2019, we introduced MultiTravel, a corporate travel solutions platform where companies can get plane tickets, hotel accommodation, airport transportation, and short-term car rental in a single portal. Within that, company policy can be inserted so that each employee can access the portal within those. It is cost effective and easy to run.

KORAY Gültekin BAHAR We actually have two product portfolios. One includes products based on government mandates, including electronic invoicing, electronic ledgers, electronic archiving, and electronic delivery notes. We also have complementary products that are available if a customer wants to transform their operations above and beyond what is required by the government. These digital tools allow companies to be more flexible and cost-effective and to operate in a more optimal manner. We offer, for example, software that allows companies to integrate their operations with the software of their banks. Such tools help our customers operate more optimally and save money.

What does the future hold for the technology sector in Turkey?
The fintech ecosystem should definitely grow. However, when we look at the players in the system, the support given to fintech companies is not equal to what is being said. The support from banks and regulators is not as much as it should be. Help is needed from the bigger players, especially banks. Banks cannot reach micro and small customers, but fintech companies can, so banks should see fintechs as channels to cover every customer segment. As the number and power of fintechs grows, the revenue problem will be solved, and we can already see growth in fintech volumes as well as the number of joint projects between banks and fintechs. Moving forward, there should be more cooperation rather than competition in the market. Growth is inevitable as banks cannot fill the gaps that fintech can. There are many fintech companies in Turkey; the problem is finding the technical power and finances needed to run the business. As for us, on the B2B side we will maintain our strong market share in sectors such as meal cards, fuel expenses, and flexible perks, and enhance our service portfolio, like corporate travel expense management. When it comes to the B2C part, we are the market leader in terms of market share. We will maintain that position, bring new features to our services, and try to increase the gap between us and the runner up. On the investment side, we are always looking for new opportunities. As a technology company we will continue in investing IT infrastructure and software solutions. But these are not the only area of investment for us. AI, RPA, and machine learning are our hot topics currently. We have introduced our first machine learning solution in our operations recently and have seen the benefits from the first day.

KGB Our biggest challenge is continuing to develop our local know-how as we open up new markets. When we enter a new one, we need to dive deep into local regulations and requirements before we launch a new product. Our team knows how to leverage local knowledge and develop a strong sense of moving forward, though it is still a difficult process, and it will likely remain a challenge as we move forward and enter new markets in the East. But overall, we have made strong progress and will continue to develop well. For our business, there are not many changes in terms of industries, because e-government changes impact every area of the economy. It is more about the size of the company rather than the sector. In Turkey, for example, these requirements were only relevant for companies with revenue greater than TRY25 million in 2014, which then dropped in ensuing years. For Italy, all invoices have to be electronic, and this means that everyone has to be compliant. There are different thresholds in different markets, and every government has a different roadmap. The ultimate target is to mandate all companies to use these new processes.