A company started by businesswoman Hanzade Doğan Boyner a little over twenty years ago has become the first from Turkey to list via the Nasdaq – an American stock exchange that is the second largest in the world.
Often referred to as “Turkey’s Amazon”, Hepsiburada [‘everything you want is here’] made its Nasdaq debut on 1 July and performed strongly on its first day of trading.
Shares in the e-commerce platform rose by more than 6%, giving it a market capitalisation of $3.65 billion, and turning founder and chairwoman Doğan Boyner into an instant billionaire.
Founded in 2000, Hepsiburada enables consumers to do all their shopping, from fashion to groceries and airline tickets, under one roof.
It had 9 million active customers in 2020, a regulatory filing showed. Sales and revenue during the same period more than doubled compared with 2019.
“Customers tried us during the pandemic, and they’re happy with the service,” Doğan Boyner told Fortune Magazine in a recent interview.
With online shopping currently accounting for just 10% of all retail sales in Turkey, the company has huge potential for future growth.
In July 2019, Doğan Boyner was described by Forbes as, “one of the most successful women tech entrepreneurs in the world,” while Fortune Turkey credited her with leading the country’s digital transformation. Yet it was not always plain sailing for her.
Recalling the start of the business, the 48-year-old daughter of Turkish billionaire Aydin Doğan said:
Today, Doğan Boyner is one of five women billionaires in Turkey. The Turkish entrepreneur also joins the likes of Whitney Wolfe Herd, founder of Bumble, and Stitch Fix founder Katrina Lake in a small band of female-founded tech companies that are publicly listed – a rarity even in the United States.
She hopes Hepsiburada can fly the flag for Turkey abroad, using its listing to demonstrate to American and other international investors the strength of the Turkish economy:
“We are the second-largest populated country in Europe. We are the 13th-largest economy globally. We have a young, tech-savvy population, and we have strong GDP growth,” Doğan Boyner said to Fortune Magazine.
Doğan Boyner explained that Hepsiburada chose Nasdaq for its listing because of its popularity with the tech industry:
“Most of our global peers are listed on Nasdaq,” she said, adding that the Nasdaq investor community has the knowledge “to understand the dynamics of our business.”
Led by Murat Emirdag, who has been the CEO of Hepsiburada since 2019, the e-tailer is seeking to double its market penetration in Turkey by 2025.
Boasting its own in-house logistics operation, Hepsiburada is also looking to scale its fulfilment centres and delivery services, while exploring new international markets in the Balkans, Middle East, and North Africa.