Studying at a secondary school in Daytona Beach, Florida, in the early 1990s was a memorable experience for Fatih Isbecer, an exchange student from Istanbul. He was enthralled by the technology revolution in the United States at the time, Isbecer said.
“I was filled with an entrepreneurial spirit and loaded with different technology ideas,” he recalled. “I felt that change would eventually affect Turkey.”
At the time Isbecer was in secondary school in Florida, Turkey was way behind the United States and other developed countries in telecommunications. Residential telephones were rare in rural areas. To make a phone call a person generally had to go to a local post office and wait for a connection.
Thanks to Turkish entrepreneurs such as Isbecer, the situation has changed dramatically.
In the late 1990s, Isbecer and some classmates from Istanbul Technical University started a small business that focused on Internet projects. “It was a kind of techies’ playground,” he said.
In 2000, Isbecer launched a more serious business, Pozitron, a firm that develops enterprise, networking and security software for telecommunications applications. Challenges were many, including recruiting experienced senior managers who were in short supply in Turkey, Isbecer said.
One of Pozitron’s first hits was a mobile-phone application for the country’s only official sports betting game, IDDAA. A few years later came a major breakthrough: Pozitron entered international financial markets with mobile-phone banking applications developed for Turkey’s largest private bank, Türkiye ?? Bankas?. The applications allow users to transfer money, trade stocks, pay bills and check balances anywhere in the world.
In 2007, Isbecer was selected a “high-impact entrepreneur” by Endeavor, a US-based nonprofit that promotes entrepreneurship. A year later, Pozitron won the Global Business Plan Contest organized by Harvard Business School for an integrated, mobile-banking product.
“Launching this product in the same month that a large US-based multinational bank released its own version gave me a huge satisfaction,” Isbecer said.
He said his ambition is to participate in shaping the future of the wireless industry and, together with his Turkish friends and rivals, dispel the myth that the high-tech sector in Turkey doesn’t exist.
Elmira Bayrasli of Endeavor said Pozitron’s success “worked not only to create jobs, but also to inspire other Turks to see themselves as innovators.”
This article has been contributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, US Department of State
– Saudi Gazette