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Startup Elevate Interview

Pelin Bedirhanoglu Founder & CEO at Tekkredi

Tekkredi were the winners at Startup Elevate 2018.

Can you tell me a bit of background about yourself and Tekkredi?

I am a second-time entrepreneur with private equity and investment banking background. I hold a MSc Management from Imperial College Business School London.

Tekkredi is a credit platform in Turkey, connecting banks with individuals for debt consolidation, focusing on risk-based underwriting.

Tekkredi aims to de-risk the near-prime segment in Turkey by consolidating the personal loans, increasing the credit terms and thus easing the monthly payments. By focusing on the near-prime segment and using risk-based pricing algorithms, Tekkredi creates access to capital for this segment and enables the segment to stay in the financial system rather than defaulting.

Can you tell me about Tekkredi and your founding journey?

Prior to Tekkredi, I founded and ran a health tech start up in Turkey which was the start of my career as an entrepreneur. When my co-founder and I decided to shut down the company, one of our mentors by then has established a venture builder, Collective Spark, in Turkey and we started working together with him.

Given my financial industry background and the venture builder’s focus on fintech investments, we decided to found a fintech company. Yet we had to understand the major pain points of the Turkish banks. After a thorough research we’ve decided to focus on helping banks with risk-based pricing, since it has been lacking in Turkey and banks have been leaving a huge amount of money on the table by not incorporating risk-based pricing in their credit decisions. Also due to lack of risk-based pricing, an important percentage of the lendable population in Turkey has been losing access to capital.

With the vision of being a fintech company focusing on risk based pricing and big data-based underwriting, we’ve founded Tekkredi within Collective Spark and positioned ourselves as a platform between banks and individuals for loan consolidation and restructuring. Since then, we’ve been helping individuals consolidate and restructure their loans before they default, and we’ve been partnering with banks for risk based pricing.

Having spun off from Collective Spark, up to date we’ve raised a total of $1.8M from angel investors and 2 VCs, Newid Capital and DCP, in 3 rounds.

What is the focus of Tekkredi in 2019?

2018 has been a tough year for the whole financial industry in Turkey, given the high inflation and interest rates. Lending appetite of banks has decreased significantly. So, 2018 has been a year for us to focus on refining our credit risk models and our product. In 2019 our focus continues to be on our credit risk models and their adoption to the current lending environment in Turkey, while we focus on different partnerships for personal lending and risk-based pricing.

How did you hear about project Kairos/Startup Elevate and what was the reason behind you getting involved?

One of our investors, DCP, mentioned about UKBasecamp London Tech Week Acceleration Tour and that’s how we decided to participate. UKBasecamp also arranged our preparation and participation in Project Kairos / Startup Elevate.

We wanted to connect with fintech investors and entrepreneurs and were very happy with the connections we made. The Tour also gave me a great opportunity for exploring potential international expansion opportunities.