Getting the right advice can be crucial for a young startup. This platform hopes to connect them with Turkey’s best and brightest experts
Striking out on your own as a new entrepreneur is no small feat. Finding good advice on how to overcome obstacles can be a tougher nut to crack than even finding funding. If you’re lucky, you can get into a good accelerator or find yourself mentors that have crossed those bridges before you.
However, sometimes those options just simply are not there to the extent that you might want or need them. Maybe you are in a still developing ecosystem like Turkey and accessing these resources is even more difficult. As Geektime has reported in the past on trips to Istanbul, this scene while vibrant, is still working to build out to better serve its entrepreneurs.
As a part of this effort, Ersin Mete Erturk has launched his own venture to give new entrepreneurs access to experts. Running now in a Beta stage, he founded his Ankara-based company called Eksperin back in November after raising seed investments from two angel investors.
Eksperin is essentially a chat platform where people looking for advice can connect with experts in various fields. The two sides call a central number and enter a code to enter the meeting similar to many popular meeting sites.
These experts set rates for their time, charging an average of 5 TL (roughly $1.25) per minute. All transactions are handled through the site, helping to keep the expert’s contact info private and ensuring that they get paid. For their service in facilitating the connection, Eksperin charges a 30% commission from the conversations.
Some of the most popular topics on the platform include areas such as sales and marketing, legal, how to find funding, and many others. So far some of the more popular questions that have shown up in conversations include queries like “What is the best and most simple presentation I can offer to an angel investor for funding?” and “What are the best ways to market my new startup with a minimum budget?”
Having set out on a number of ventures in the past, Erturk tells Geektime that, “We came up with the idea of finding a way to reach to experts and advisors while having troubles and struggling to grow our tech company. I think people need answers to questions and solution to problems. So it is [the] best way to address the feeling to the experts who had experienced the same hesitation between success and failure and ask what to do.”
Still looking to get through their Beta mode, the Eksperin team plans to focus on the Turkish market for the next year before making moves towards international expansion.
Before that point, they will have to overcome a number of challenges facing the platform. First and foremost is how to keep the users from cutting them out of the loop. Think about platforms like Airbnb for a second. They purposely check to make sure that you do not exchange any kind of contact information before closing the deal through their site, which could result in the two parties cutting the company out of their cut. Assuming that the experience was good and the renter is coming back to the same place again in the future, they no longer need the website to connect and can make a better deal for both.
The same problem applies here. Since the conversations are carried out online, Erturk admits that they are unable to resolve this issue that could hurt his bottom line down the road. His best answer here is that since the expert is paid through the site, they can be assured that they will get paid for their time.
With only a handful of accelerators and resource hubs for entrepreneurs in Turkey, services like Eksperin could serve a very important need. Often times the problem that you are trying to solve can be handled over a number of short conversations, instead of having to engage a more expensive consultant.
How this service will fare over the long term will depend very much on the ease of the user experience and their ability to draw in quality experts at affordable rates.