Turkey’s iyzico Acquired by Pay U for Record $165 Million

PayU, a subsidiary of Naspers, announced today it will acquire iyzico, a digital payment services provider founded by Endeavor Entrepreneurs Barbaros Özbugutu and Tahsin Isın — and one of the fastest-growing companies in Turkey in its largest fintech acquisition yet.

The $165 million acquisition also marks the third Turkish exit for Endeavor Catalyst, bolstering the fund’s successful track record and signalling growing momentum within Turkey’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

The deal comes on the heels of last month’s acquisition of Foriba — an e-invoicing company and another Endeavor Catalyst investment — by global tax software provider Sovos. For Endeavor Catalyst Managing Director Allen Taylor, iyzico’s acquisition signals a positive outlook not only for the fund but for the Turkey’s market at large, which Endeavor entered in 2006, and Endeavor Catalyst began investing into in 2013.

“This successful milestone for iyzico is yet another example of the impressively high quality entrepreneurial talent Endeavor has found in Turkey. From our first investments in the market — backing founders like Nevzat [Aydin] and Melih [Odemis] at Yemeksepeti.com and Sidar [Sahin] and his team at Peak Games — we have found the High Impact Entrepreneurs in Turkey to be truly world class.” Taylor said. “Barbaros and Tahsin from iyzico are the most recent example of this trend.”

Founded in 2013, iyzico joined the Endeavor network the following year with hopes of becoming Turkey’s next great tech success. As a first-mover in the online payments market in Turkey, iyzico quickly captured the market, and in 2015, the company raised a successful Series B round with participation from Endeavor Catalyst.

Since then, iyzico has only continued to grow. To date, iyzico has raised $28 million in funding from international backers, earning the nickname “The Stripe of Turkey” from TechCrunch, and dubbed one of WIRED’s hottest startups to watch in Istanbul.

Today, iyzico provides secure payments to over 300 marketplaces (with over 400,000 personal sellers of different sizes) as well as 30,000 online merchants which are using its checkout solution. Amazon, Nike, H&M and Zara are among the brands which have chosen iyzico as a trusted partner in Turkey.

“Today marks an important day for us. In 2013 Tahsin and I founded iyzico with the goal to enable SMBs all over Turkey to accept online payments. Looking back, the only thing that has not changed is our everyday ambition to create payment solutions for everyone irrespective of their size,” said Barbaros Özbuğutu, co-founder and CEO of iyzico. “The endeavor of three people turned into a team of 150, billions of liras of transaction volume and eventually one of Turkey’s most successful technology companies that expanded Turkey’s e-export range by 1.5 fold.”

The deal opens up a new era for the Turkish fintech market consolidating iyzico’s position in the market and its high growth business. The two companies will now join forces to strengthen e-commerce in Turkey, accelerate digital SMB market and set out to offer innovative solutions for consumer financial services business. The acquisition will also facilitate an “online bridge” between Turkey and CEE countries and Africa to encourage more cross-border trade in local currencies in the region.

“We aspire to democratize financial services for all so that everyone is able to benefit. With this in mind, we aim to become one of Turkey’s five largest financial institutions. And joining forces with PayU, a leading global fintech operator and investor, we are taking an important step towards this goal” said Özbuğutu.

Özbugutu and Isın will continue leading iyzico, as well as PayU’s current operations in Turkey after the closure of the deal.

The acquisition of iyzico adds to PayU’s $500 million investment portfolio and will build off iyzico’s well-established success and market domination, representing a further step in PayU’s mission become both the number one payments provider in every market in which it operates and the world’s leading fintech investor.

Subject to regulatory approval, the deal is expected to close in the next few months.

Read more coverage of the acquisition in Bloomberg here.