Is Turkey the Next Big Market Opportunity?

Nope, it’s not China or India. It’s Turkey.

Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, best known for investing in Google, Amazon, Twitter and Zynga, has made a bet on Turkey as the next big market with its first major investment there.

The receiving company — Trendyol.com, an e-commerce site based in Istanbul — is announcing today that it has raised $26 million from Kleiner Perkins and Tiger Global.

Trendyol is similar to other flash sales sites in the U.S., such as Gilt Groupe, Rue La La, and Ideeli. The site sends out daily emails offering a heavily discounted selection of clothes. Consumers have a limited amount of time to purchase the items before the sale expires or quantities run out.

The company was founded by Demet Mutlu, a 29-year-old dropout from Harvard Business School — she is now running the company with about 350 employees.

Kleiner partner Aileen Lee said a combination of a hardworking executive team, the company’s phenomenal growth, and Turkey’s increasingly attractive market opportunity led to the investment. Plus, it doesn’t hurt to introduce e-commerce to a market that doesn’t have a strong brick-and-mortar environment.

Check out some of these facts:

  • Turkey has 35 million Internet users, representing the third largest Web market in Europe.
  • Turkey is a socially engaged country, ranking fifth-highest for Facebook usage globally; eighth for Twitter and first for FriendFeed.
  • Turkey has a high credit card penetration rate of about 60 percent with 46 million credit cards.
  • In the past 16 months, Trendyol has signed up four million members, translating into one out of every nine Turkish Internet users.

“When you go there and walk around the company, it looks like any other hypergrowth Silicon Valley start-up,” Lee said. “Trendyol has an incredible dedication to customer service and is driven by metrics and analytics. It has a good sense for what to outsource and what to keep in-house, and is building the brand.”

She said Trendyol has also been good at leveraging social media, including a store inside Facebook that allows users to make purchases without leaving the site.

The funding will be used for new initiatives, such as building out the company’s customer service team, increasing its membership, and potentially moving into new geographies. Trendyol.com has secured more than $50 million in total financing since the site launched in March 2010.

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