This viral smartphone app lets young Turks broadcast short videos
This article is part of a dispatch series about the startup ecosystem in Turkey.
One of Turkey’s hottest young social media startups is the video platform Scorp. The service, which allows users to upload 15-second videos from Android and iOS smartphones on a wide range of topics, has grown rapidly since their launch in February, building a loyal following of 600,000 users in only eight months.
Two student co-founders İzzet Zakuto and Sercan Işık launched the company in September 2014. With their team of 25 employees, the company has established an immense network throughout Turkey’s various universities that has helped them reach their target demographic and encouraged user growth.
Through their ambassador teams on campuses, they keep their finger on the pulse of Turkey’s youth scene, enabling them to develop a great product and become increasingly attractive for advertisers seeking new ways to access this market.
Scorp is a member of the Koç University Incubation Center in Istanbul where they are receiving mentorship, office space, and other resources.
Designing the product
In looking to build their project, Işık and Zakuto have decided to focus on the creation of short video content that is produced by the users. They note that young Turks have a lot to say about issues of love, politics, sports, among others, and this platform grants them an easy-to-use way to broadcast their thoughts. Users can sort through a variety of trending topics to discover interesting discussions and add their voices to the mix.
The two co-founders note that especially among the country’s younger generation, there has been a high penetration of smartphones, providing them with an expansive potential user base.
Regarding the 15-second format for the videos, they say that it fits the ideal length for their users to express themselves while still maintaining viewers’ attention. This is similar to Instagram’s video feature that is also on the 15-second time frame but different from Twitter’s Vine, which runs for about 6.5 seconds.
Establishing a sustainable revenue model
The team at Scorp has developed a new method of working with native ads. They have succeeded in leveraging their passionate users to create engaging content that catches fire throughout their network. In addition, they have built relationships to promote big brands like Nike and are branching out to other major advertisers that have generated significant cash flows.
While this in itself is impressive for the young company, they have decided to share in the revenues with the users who make the sponsored content, rewarding them for their contributions and driving them to keep making great videos.
As a part of their partnership with advertisers, Scorp has made sure that they spread the love with their community. Zakuto says that they have been able to get tickets to events and other swag for their users from brands, helping to improve loyalty.
Does the stinger hit the mark?
The primary focus for the team has been on the local Turkish market, with only a small proportion of their overall content featured in English. In speaking with some of the angel investors in Turkey, they have mentioned that they will shy away from social media products as they can limit them to the Turkish speaking market. That said, investors often look to see that a company has proved itself locally first before giving them the investment to go international.
This in itself is not a problem for Scorp, since the technology and strategy that is leading the product seems to be built on solid ground. Moreover, the team has shown that they can engage with international level advertisers like Nike, bringing them a great value for their advertising lira.
Kakuto and Işık say that they would like to expand to the international market at some point in the future, but are not yet there. A big part of their success has been based on their intuitive understanding of the young scene in Turkey, knowing what issues they care about and how best to fit their product around them. Approaching larger markets in the United States or United Kingdom will take a significant effort in both research and outreach for them to get traction, a fact that both co-founders are well aware of moving forward.
Based on their current user acquisition numbers over this short period since their official launch and the growth of activity from within the platform, Scorp should be a fun company to follow as they continue to expand over the coming year.