Bloomberg News

Ribbit Capital Targets Startups in Turkey With BBVA-Backed Fund

February 18, 2013

Ribbit Capital (0699229D:US), a Palo Alto, California-based venture capital firm, is looking for Turkish startups to back from its $100 million fund started last month.

The fund, supported by limited partners including Spain’s second-biggest lender Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA and Silicon Valley Bank, aims at early-stage firms that specialize in financial lending, payments and personal-finance tools as well as services for the accounting and insurance industries, said Meyer Malka, founder and general partner of the fund. Ribbit could invest between $1 million and $15 million for each Turkish asset, he said.

Software companies that develop applications for smart devices and e-commerce companies dominate Turkey’s startup market, which drew investments from international companies including EBay Inc., Amazon.com Inc., Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Naspers Ltd.

“There’s a perfect storm shaping around the world and Turkey is not going to escape it,” Malka said in an interview in Istanbul on Feb. 15. “There’s a very advanced banking system here, which is probably in the top five in the world and we are searching for entrepreneurs who can revolutionize financial services using mobile-centric techniques.”

The fund has a life of 10 years and Ribbit is seeking investments that can have returns of three to seven times, Malka said during his first visit to Turkey to meet potential investment targets and members of the startup business community.

Ribbit is focused on “disruptive companies” in the U.S., Canada, Brazil, U.K., Germany, Italy, Spain, South Africa and Turkey, Malka said, adding he can say more about the first Turkish investment during his next visit in three months.

Ribbit, which has invested in four companies in Brazil, the U.K. and U.S., plans back as many as 14 companies with the fund and may consider co-investment with local venture capital firms, Malka said. Ribbit is an all-equity investor and doesn’t borrow to buy assets, he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ercan Ersoy in Istanbul at eersoy@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Benedikt Kammel at bkammel@bloomberg.net


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