Hepsiburada – Turkey’s giant online shopping platform considered the Amazon of their country – is floating on Nasdaq today, with a valuation of likely $ 3.9 billion according to current forecasts, particularly with stocks trading as high as $ 14 -Dollars per item are marked (compared to the previously forecast $ 12). . But for longtime founder and chairman Hanzade Doğan Boyner, who founded the company in 1998 and still has overall control of the business, the journey of this emerging Turkish tech and e-commerce company doesn’t end there – thinks this is nearer in a round of growth financing that enables their ambitious plans to further wind down Turkey’s rapidly developing market and expand into Central and Eastern Europe. Doğan Boyner, a member of the powerful Doğan family in Turkey, still holds three quarters of the voting rights in the company, according to the prospectus filed with the SEC.
Hepsiburada’s IPO comes after it more than doubled its revenues during the pandemic as Turkey’s largely offline population was forced to switch to online shopping in what has been described as a kind of forced “big leap forward” for the country could be.
Hepsiburada (which translates as “everything is here”) is also the first Turkish NASDAQ-IPO to write history.
With a huge logistics platform all over Turkey, the company now offers deliveries in 2 hours, with around 43 million products available on the platform, which are available via a rather Chinese-looking “super app” that covers everything from food to flights to towards payment services is an “Alipay-like” service called Hepsipay. And in Turkey, many people prefer to buy in installments, a service that Hepsiburada has already integrated into its platform.
The Turks have also enjoyed the smooth returns, where goods can be returned for free and which includes a super efficient logistics network.
Having grown roughly 50% year over year over the past five years, the company doubled in the past year, benefiting from the exponential growth in e-commerce penetration of Turkey among its 82 million population.
The IPO comes after investing just $ 100 million in the platform over the past 20 years, and a profitable period until 2018, when Doğan Boyner started investing more in the platform before that moment.
TC: What got you in terms of going public at that point in time?
Doğan Boyner: “I started with e-commerce almost 20 years ago and from day one we built it with new features and new services and today we manage a fully integrated ecosystem, from last mile delivery to payment to food. Hepsiburada is the super app that makes our customers’ lives easier. They can get their groceries or toys for next day delivery or airline tickets. Why are we listing now? Because the Turkish e-commerce market has a penetration of 10% and we believe that its penetration will double by 2025. This is a turning point. It’s a big market, and as Hepsiburada we are a breakthrough platform coming to maturity into a publicly traded company. With the funds raised through the IPO, we will accelerate our growth and continue to implement our vision. “
TC: Are you satisfied with the $ 3.9 billion valuation?
Doğan Boyner: “Today’s rating is not very important to me. It’s not where you start, it’s where you go. I don’t sell stocks and this is primarily for growth funding. This is just the beginning. You know, the market still has little penetration and we have an exciting journey ahead of us. I want the stock to do well for my investors, but today’s value is irrelevant to me. “
TC: “You will use some of these funds to add new products to the platform, such as booking flights or money transfers and other new products. What other types of expansion plans do you have? “
Doğan Boyner: “One of them is to further expand our infrastructure, such as The second is Hepsi Express. It’s still only at 4% penetration. This will change consumer shopping habits because we have such a strong model where we partner with many national chains, regional chains and mom and pop stores so that we can turn those stores into our “dark stores”. We also sometimes pick in stores ourselves or sometimes the retailer does the picking. So the customer offer is very strong. You can get something in half an hour or schedule it for the next day whenever you want. You can do the weekly shopping or just get something for tonight. Express is one area that we will be scaling up. Another focus is payment. We are the only platform with a payment license. Soon it will be an open wallet and our fintech capabilities will increase after the IPO. “
TC: Do you have some kind of Alibaba / Alipay strategy?
Doğan Boyner: “We will use our current customers and our market and make them our wallet customers. There are really no great apps in Europe or the USA. It is therefore our vision to digitize retail. We are in our customers’ pockets. We want to make their lives easier. “
TC: “How did you postpone operations during the pandemic?”
Doğan Boyner: “We have almost become a lifeline, not only for consumers, but also for our dealers. So we are up to the opportunity to not only scale operationally. We had to get thousands of drivers and staff on board, very, very quickly, but we also had to ensure the wellbeing of our staff. While we were all isolated, we had to ask our staff to work, which I think we did very, very well in terms of providing PPE and health insurance. It was a chance to live up to our values. Our consumers have experimented with us as new consumers and are happy with the service so they stay with us, and our dealers also valued us because they were able to generate income through us at a time when their stores were closed. “
TC: You have worked hard for women in your company and also in your country, you have launched many programs for women and girls and you have shown very strong commitment. Where do you feel on this journey?
Doğan Boyner: “Half of our workforce is female, 33% of our management is female – that should be 50%! Our women entrepreneur program has been very effective. We tell women entrepreneurs to come, we will teach you e-commerce, we will embed your products, we give you free shipping, we prioritize your products or listing pages, we give you real estate on our homepage. Around 19,000 women have benefited from this. Women sent me their inspiring stories. They start small, hire two people, and then start their own brands. However, when I look at where we are around the world on gender equality, the needle doesn’t move much. If you look at the number of CEOs in the FTSE 500, the number doesn’t change. So I will continue to do everything I can because every “little drop” counts. And hopefully it will. I also think there should be a new conversation, a global conversation about gender equality in general. The 19,000 women who benefited from our program grew economically stronger. You have acquired skills and tools and confidence to trade on a platform like Hepsiburada, which is very significant. “
TC: Are you concerned that your success may attract government attention in Turkey in the future?
Doğan Boyner: “We are considered national champions. Turkey has a different dynamic. I think it’s an inspiration that national champions can come out and be successful. “
TC: You have been very successful, do you stand up for women in your country, do you have political ambitions?
Doğan Boyner: “No.”