Entrepreneur investing in his teacher's project
Vispera has recently received an investment from Turkey’s first corporate venture fund, Actus - Logo Ventures. One of the signees of the 1.2 million dollars of investment is Mehmet Kutman. 10% share of Vispera Information Technologies has been acquired by Venture Capital Investment Fund Actus-Logo Ventures, established by Actus, an enterprise of Kutman's open joint stock company Global Investment Holding and Logo Software which has publicly traded shares in Borsa İstanbul.
Vispera, cofounded by Prof. Dr. Aytül Erçil known as “the entrepreneurs' teacher,” has been dominating the shelves with its artificial intelligence based stock model. Nevzat Aydın, founder of Yemeksepeti, Erdem Yurdanur, founder of Maçkolik as well as Erman Turan, technology investor and developer are amongst many students of Prof. Dr. Aytül Erçil, who is a renowned scholar amongst the endeavor network.
AYTÜL ERÇİL's GOAL is 15% INCREASE
Aytül Erçil defines high tech company Vispera's long term goal as becoming a 'unicorn' meaning a venture worth billion dollars. The volume of the market currently being 300 million dollars in Turkey and reaching 30 billion globally, Aytül Erçil states that their target is 15% annual growth. Ülker, Coco-Cola, Unilever as well as retail companies like Carrefour are amongst the brands that they collaborate in their local and global operations.
SOLUTION FOR THE 1.7 TRILLION DOLLAR TURNOVER LOSS IN THE MARKET
Erçil specifies Vispera's area of expertise as computer vision and machine learning generally referred to as artificial intelligence which they orient towards the retail sector. She says "I previously founded a company focused on factory automations that hold the first place in its field in Europe. It was acquired by a German company which was itself ranked third globally. Dr. Ceyhun Burak Akgül, my R&D director at the time, and I founded Vispera. Our goal for Vispera is to build a technology company in the retail sector with a global scope. We think Turkey is ready for this. We work on in-store shelf tracking in Vispera. As you know, in the current setting, electronic shopping and in-store shopping are merging, so we work on the digitalization of the physical store. This process has certain pain points, the decrease in the sales of out-of-stocked items being one of them and causing a 1.75 trillion turnover loss globally. This is quite a serious figure."
"WE ACHIEVED 12-FOLD RETURN ON THE INVESTMENT”
Erçil emphasizes the 12-fold return on the investment of their client due to the system they are applying and adds “There are many problems for the retailers such as the shelf share of their products both internally and compared with the competitors. This requires capturing of the shelf image. It is important to see the product’s presence on the shelf as well as the compliance with the planograms. To provide this data, manual image capturing activity can be performed, stable cameras can be implemented or there can be mobile robots. We process the images captured this way and create reports on the cloud environment. This process has serious added values. For instance, one of our clients achieved an increase between 30 and 80 percent in their KPI’s receiving 12-fold return on their investment in our system. As a result, they want to sign a global contract.” Mentioning their global partnership with Ipsos, she says that they are preparing to work together in 90 countries, currently carrying the Coca Cola Irak and Coca Cola Nigeria projects together.
In terms of the investments they receive, Erçil says that the emergence of Logo Ventures resulted in the termination of some serious dialogues with a couple of other local and global companies. She adds that they had already received an investment from Keiretsu Capital, United States, Vispera being their first foreign investment, even prior to the company’s investments in Canada.
BARIŞ HOCAOĞLU: “THE POTENTIAL OF A GLOBALLY OPERATING TURKISH SOFTWARE COMPANY MOTIVATED US”
Barış Hocaoğlu, General Manager of Actus Portfolio Management, states that Actus- Logo Ventures is the first corporate VCIF in its field in Turkey. Reflecting on the scarcity of upgrading companies in Turkey, Hocaoğlu notes the difficulties in finding a company for investment. He adds “The company’s vision must align with the vision of each investor in Logo. The crucial point in our decision regarding our investment in Vispera was its potential in reaching a global scope as a Turkish Software company rather than the name or the volume of the return on investment. This vision and hope motivated our investment decision. Of course, with this approach, the valuation of the company is not composed only of numbers.”
CAHİT GÜVENSOY: I AM A STUDENT OF PROFESSOR ERÇİL TOO
Cahit Güvensoy, Logo Ventures Managing Partner and General Manager comments on the partnership, saying: “I am a graduate of Bosphorus University, and a student of Professor Erçil. In Turkey’s endeavor ecosystem, people are familiar with each other. When we were conversing with Erdem Yurdanur, my partner at the time, about Vispera, we agreed that the volume of the investment that can be made in Vispera has reached the scope of a serious venture capital beyond individual angel investments so we thought it could be carried by a company like Logo, that would produce an additional value for Vispera while benefiting from its support in its own internationalization. Due to this potential, our dialogue with Vispera continued in parallel with the formation of our fund and the partnership was sealed right after.” Briefing on the investment criteria and targets, Güvensoy adds, “Actus Portfolio Management - Logo Ventures Fund made a 1.2 million dollar USD of investment in Vispera, which was founded with 10 million TL. Our target is to make three investments around one million dollars, and then after a certain amount of progress on the assessment of right ways of using our impact on these investments, moving towards a growth route. We are not angel investors and since our vision is to work with companies that have reached a certain technical depth, product maturity and primary turnover if possible, we can only continue with companies that have already reached that level by their own means, their own funding, angel investment level or other VC’s. As the result of this vision, only after following approximately three investments, we will take the effort of increasing the scale of this fund.
Vispera is a technology company providing its clients with fast, reliable, cost efficient solutions based on technologies that utilize image recognition and machine learning methods to replace currently applied, human based, error prone traditional methods in parallel with its goal of generating perfect in-store execution, tracking and auditing processes. Vispera has been founded in 2014 by Prof. Dr. Aytül Erçil and Dr. Ceyhun Burak Akgül with a 100% Turkish Capital. Due to the Image Recognition Service it has developed, it can recognize the products on the shelves including their locations and counts, and produce SKU level, actionable reports on stock availability, facing count, shelf share and planogram compliance. Each product that can be distinguished by human perception can be recognized by this service with 99% accuracy. Preeminent in compelling areas such as ice cream, Vispera also provides much successful results with products such as chocolate and biscuit reaching above 90% accuracy. It provides much faster, more feasible and cost efficient results compared with the manual applications’ reporting times reaching almost a month.
ABOUT ACTUS – LOGO VENTURES FUND
Turkey’s first corporate venture fund in its field within the scope of Venture Capital Investment Fund, Logo Ventures has been founded under the leadership of Actus Portfolio Management, association of the established Global Investment Holding and Logo Software, a pioneer in the Turkish software enterprise sector. Individual investors with significant experiences are also amongst the constituents of the fund.
Actus Portfolio Management A.Ş. – Logo Ventures venture capital investment fund is established by the partnership of Logo Yazılım Sanayi ve Ticaret A.Ş. with 20% share, Logo Teknoloji ve Yatırım A.Ş with 20% share, Actus Portföy Yönetimi A.Ş. with 20% share, and individual investors Cahit Güvensoy, Murat Erkurt, Orhan Ayanlar, Alper Akcan and Cenk Coşkuntürk with 40% share. The resource commitment of the upgradable establishment at the formation stage has been settled as 10 million TL.
Strategic investment provision is not necessary for Logo or other investors and the plan is to realize much needed second round investments in Turkey. The fund targets an average of one million USD investment capacity for each initiative.
Actus - Logo Ventures’ goal is to invest in companies which are currently at the incubation stage, active in the technology sector, developing a not yet proven technology or business model with a growth potential. The fund’s objective is to create long term value by supporting companies in reaching their growth targets through high risk venture capital investments such as loan, capital, loan-capital hybrid as well as through strategic support.
Actus - Logo Ventures made its first investment in this direction in Vispera, an innovative start-up that develops image recognition based technologies for the retail market. Actus - Logo Ventures made an investment in Vispera as a second round investor with a 10% partnership resulting from its 1.2 million USD investment in the company whose up-to-date value is defined as 12 million USD.
Translated from an article at finansgundem.com, 07.11.17