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Top 10 tips to take the best out of Startup Istanbul

The article is written by Mohammad Abu Musa, Etohum Ambassador at UAE.

Startup Istanbul is a must-attend event, without the right strategy you will end up spending hours and dollars without real added value to get out of the conference.

I am sharing some tips I found useful to get the best out of Startup Istanbul, where you can tap into important opportunities, useful connections, and have fun.

1. Start networking now

Many interesting speakers are joining the conference, start connecting now. Send quick email or tweet a few weeks ahead of time sharing how excited you are to hear his or her talk in the conference. On the conference day arrive 15 to 20 minutes before   the session start in hopes of catching the speaker before the session starts.

If it is a fellow attendee you are looking to meet, take the advantage of the speed networking where you have 90 seconds to connect with each person. So do not forget to bring lots of business cards.

 2. Prioritize, Prioritize, Prioritize

Before you arrive to the conference, make sure you understand your goals, sort them out, and share them with your team (if so). Make sure you are chasing your most important goals first by asking the basic question of why I am here?

 3. Take the advantage of the first day

Make sure you are there the first day prepared and ready, some speakers or attendees may not be able to attend the whole conference, or want to catch an early flight. So make sure you connect with them before they leave.

4. It is Istanbul: eat, drink, and enjoy

Take care of yourself, enjoy your time there. Have some Kabab, keep hydrated, get good night sleep and refresh with group activities. You do not want to consume yourself first day.

 5. It is about you, not them

Figure out what is the most important for you not anyone else, some most interesting deals, connections, or even friends are made during side chats or small sessions rather than big keynotes or major sessions. It is about your goals not what is trending on Twitter.

6. Do not run the office and the conference at the same time

Dedicate a couple of hours for the office if there are issues you have to handle during conference days. Keep your focus on your goals during the conference and leave distractions behind.

7. Make sure you are connected to your team

If you are attending the conference with a team, make sure you are connected to your team. You do not want to look up the number of your sales person when it is the time to make that sale. Before you leave make sure everyone is onboard on Slack channel, WhatsApp group, or Facebook messenger

8. Make the best out of the sessions you are attending

Prepare yourself for sessions you are going to attend, familiarize yourself with the session topic ahead of time, and review the sparks’ blog posts, or other writing and videos.  During these sessions you can contribute, share, and connect with others not only learn and watch.

9. Speared the good

Do not hesitate to share your experience with others; also on the other way do not hesitate to learn from others. If this is the first time attending Startup Istanbul, ask others about their experience and pitfalls to avoid also do not forget to ask about the best places to visit in Istanbul.

10. Accept your experience

It’s important to be prepared before you arrive, however sometimes opportunities come from unexpected places and unplanned activities. Remember to be spontaneous, have fun, and make the best out of Startup Istanbul.

Delicious Turkish Foods And Drinks You Should Try

Turkey is deservedly famous for its delicious cuisine, diversity of delectable dishes and unique drinks. Turkish kitchen is popular all around the world but every region of the country has its own unique recipes and special meals. The rich Turkish cuisine offers something for every taste and here you can find ten of the most emblematic foods and drinks which you should try during your visit in Turkey. Continue reading

Discover Istanbul: Famous Restaurants You Should Visit

There are many restaurants in Istanbul offering a sumptuous variety of cuisine from traditional Turkish to modern Japanese. Each restaurant below is great destination not only because of their delicious food, but also because of the authentic experience they offer.


Nusr-et is the best steakhouses in Istanbul. This restaurant can be described as meat lovers’ paradise thanks to its wide selection of delicious meat such as lamb T-bone, T-bone steak, lamb chops and other varieties of the red meat. The meats have specific names at Nusr-et like ‘lokum’ (Turkish delight) and ‘ceviz’ (walnut).


Sunset is located on the hills of Ulus and has one of the greatest views over Istanbul. The food at Sunset is very delicious mixture of international cuisine and Turkish dishes. It also has Sushi Bar where the food is cooked by Japanese chefs, trained in their homeland. If you are not a sushi person, you can order other appetizers including foie gras on mandarin brioche, octopus carpaccio or salmon tartar.


Mikla is a sleek and stylish restaurant located on the roof top floor of the the Marmara Pera hotel. Mika has a funky retro style with chrome 70’s and 50’s furniture and a stunning wooden rail-sleepers bar. With its outstanding food, breathtaking view towards Hagia Sophia and the Topkapi Palace, proper service and inspiring music, Mikla is one of the best restaurants in Istanbul.


If you are around Taksim Square and looking for a quick bite, you definitely should visit Bambi. It’s a humble establishment but famous with its freshly sliced döner kebab and freshly squeezed orange juice. It’s open 24/7 and prices are very acceptable.


If you are vegetarian you can still taste amazing dishes during your visit and Zencefil is one of the best 100% vegetarian restaurants in Istanbul. Zencefil is a lovely restaurant with colorful atmosphere. Its menu changes daily and for your non-vegetarian friends there is only one meat dish on it.

Discover Istanbul: Bars and Clubs You Should Visit

After a very tight programmed productive day and networking with hundreds of new people at Startup Istanbul event, it’s time to relieve your tiredness by diving to Istanbul’s vibrant night life.


Anjelique is a three-storey mansion that offers something exciting for everybody. It offers good food, rich menu and fascinating view. The night club is located on the top floor. There you will find good music, exotic cocktails and very dynamic atmosphere.


Blackk is special destination for Istanbul visitors, because it offers something for every taste: stylish lounge, club and Green Tavern. You will find 18th century Rococo style with nice touch of modernism in the restaurant, huge variety of cocktails in the club and unique view over the Bosphorus.


Reina is located by the Bosphorus and has been one of the best clubs in Istanbul since it opened its doors back in 2003. Reina can be described as a night life complex with its several bars, restaurants and dance floors. You will find different tastes from all over the world in Reina’s five restaurants. Reina is having entertainment concepts so often and hosting worldwide stars like Bon Jovi, Kylie Minogue and U2.

Al Jamal

If you are looking for something from Asia, Al Jamal can give you a night to remember with its Middle Eastern style food, harem-like concept, mixture of oriental and western music and great Bosphorus view. Don’t forget to wait until the magnificent belly dancing show starts.


Babylon has been the one of the most multi-purpose performance centers in Istanbul for more than 10 years. It features very large variety of music including jazz, reggae, electronic, pop, rock, etc. There is no food service in Babylon but they offer very rich cocktail menu.

Living Indigo

Living Indigo has 400m² clubbing space with capacity of 600 people. Indigo focuses on simplicity, but it has state of the art technologies, which allows spectacular light shows, dynamic visual experiences and very high quality of sound.


SuAda plays in a league of its own. SuAda is not located by the Bosphorus, but it’s situated on a private island. Located 165 meters away from the Kuruçeşme shore, SuAda is a three-storey mansion with night club, six restaurants and a pool.


360 is located in the penthouse of a 19th century apartment building and gets its name from 360 degrees amazing landscape views of the Bosphorus and the Marmara Sea. The club only comes alive on the weekends.

Discover Istanbul: Top 5 Museums You Should Visit

Istanbul is unforgettable and you should know how to make the most of your visit there. Levent, which is one of the main business districts and home of the tallest buildings in the city, might not be priority on your sightseeing agenda, since you are going to meet with 1000+ attendees, including leading startups, internet companies, executives, business angels and venture capitalists from Asia and Europe at Startup Istanbul 2015 event. The leading startup event of the region will be great experience by itself, but your personal wonderful memories are waiting for you in the city. Undoubtedly, Istanbul is one of the most visited cities in the world, because it has much to offer to its visitors.

History is lying on every corner of Istanbul, but if you like to understand better and enjoy to the fullest the colorful roots of the city, here is our list of the best museums.

Topkapı Palace

Topkapı Palace was the administrative center of the Ottoman Empire and home of the royal family for nearly four hundred years. The palace was built upon a 700.000 square-meters and now is hosting curious visitors from all around the world every day of the week except Tuesdays.

Pera Museum

Pera Museum was built in 1893 by architect Achille Manousos and after it’s restoration in 2005 it opened its doors as a museum once again. Mostly Anatolian weights and measurements, oriental paintings and Kutahya tiles are exhibited there. The museum’s most noted piece is Osman Hamdi’s legendary painting, the Tortoise Trainer.

Ataturk Museum

The house of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Turkish Republic, is open to visitors. The house, where he lived and planned the War of Independence, which took place in 1918-1919, is located in Şişli. There are vast displays of photographs of Ataturk throughout his life, as well as some of his clothes, belongings and paintings.

Archaeological Museum

This wonderful complex is built by architect Vallaury and influenced by the famous painter Osman Hamdi. The Archaeological Museum is hosting about 1500 pieces and offers to its visitors fascinating collections of artifacts and art, dating back to Greek, Roman and Anatolian times such as the Sarcophagus of Alexander the Great.

Modern Arts Museum

Despite its unique historical depth, Istanbul also has high quality and quantity of modern art to offer. The first modern arts museum in the city is located at renovated old docks area in Karaköy and is hosting exhibitions, photograph galleries and a sculpture courtyard.

Startup Istanbul 2015: You Should Be There!

Startup Istanbul is the leading startup event, which brings together founders, investors and executives from the region. It’s a grand gathering full of opportunities for the players of the new economy.

Startup Istanbul is hosting more than 1000 attendees every year and that’s a clear proof that Eurasia has a lot to offer when it comes to digital minded businesses, ventures, angel investing and startups with global ambitions.

You might be entrepreneur, angel investor, venture capitalist or executive: Startup Istanbul has something for all players of the new economy. One speech you hear from the stage, one hand shake at speed networking event or a spontaneous meeting at the party can change the future of your venture.

Startup Istanbul event is made of networking. All attendees will be ready for hours of networking with the best founders, executives, entrepreneurs and investors from all around the region. Make sure you bring a big pile of business cards with you, because you are going to meet with new people every 60 seconds at the speed networking event, which will be moderated by Ertugrul Belen, who is working very hard towards turning speed networking into even more effective networking experience.

More than 100 startups, 1000 attendees and 200 investors from 40 countries will be at Startup Istanbul 2015. We are hoping to see you among us and show you that the old saying is still valid: ‘Istanbul’s stone and earth are gold’.

Startup Istanbul 2015: Let’s Get Excited About The Entrepreneurship Event of The Year

Startup Istanbul, the leading startup event, which brings together founders, investors and executives in the region, will take place on 3-5 October 2015.

The Event

The event is an exclusive gathering of the leading startups, internet companies, angel investors and venture capitalists from Europe and Asia. Every year more than 100 startups, 200 investors and 1500 attendees come to Istanbul to join the event. Some of them are reaching their dreams: Last year’s winner of Startup Istanbul Challenge – connected2.me, received an investment from 500 Startups and relocated to Silicon Valley. Continue reading

Istanbul: Home of Grand Bazaar

The Grand Bazaar, built in the 15th century, can be called the oldest shopping mall in the world. It has 54.653 square meters covering area ans still ranks as one of the world’s biggest covered markets. Today, the bazaar has , 21 gates, 16 hans, 64 lanes, mosques, banks, a police station, restaurants, workshops and more than 3000 shops. It has also 5 main gates that you’ll use:

  1. Beyazıt Gate
  2. Çarsikapi (Beyazit tram stop)
  3. Nuruosmaniye Gate
  4. Mahmut Pasa Gate
  5. Örücüler Gate

Click on the map to see the details of Grand Bazaar:


The oldest building in the Grand Bazaar is the Cevahir or Ic Bedesten.  Bedesten means cloth seller’s market and it  is a typical example of classical Ottoman architecture. You can find whatever you want there, from cloth woven of silk to famous Turkish and Persian carpets. Depending on the season, about 250 thousand people visit the Bazaar everyday.

kapalicarsi istanbul-grand-bazaar-frank-kovalchek-flickr Ceiling-of-the-Grand-Bazaar 0cc2c8b6fe640699b385333d3d59330e

The Grand Bazaar is open between 09:00-19.00 every day of the week except on Sundays and public holidays.

What is this 500 Startups?

Marvin Liao, Venture Partner at 500 Startups, will be on Startup Istanbul stage. Join us to meet with the top investors on 30th of September

500 Startups is an early stage investment company and seed accelerator, founded by Dave McClure in 2010. They are based in Silicon Valley, but invest all over the world as they say ”Diversity is not just a strategy or tactic. It’s who we are.”

They invest primarily in consumer & SMB internet startups in the area of financial services & e-commerce, search/social/mobile platforms, personal & business productivity, education & language, family & healthcare and web infrastructure.

500 Startups had invested in over 500 companies such as Promolta, Udemy, Trustcloud, Uguru.me, Studysoup, Visual.ly, Canva, RidePal, Flyer,POP..etc.

Startup Istanbul starts with Speed Networking Event. Do not forget to bring your business cards!

You can watch the video of Marvin Liao’s speech at Startup Turkey  2014 below:

Nisantasi – Istanbul's Stylish Suburb

Lutfi Kirdar Congress Center where Startup Istanbul will be located, is within walking distance of Nisantasi, Beyoglu and Istiklal Street. 

Nisantasi is the luxury fashion district for shopping with its cafes, restaurants and chic boutiques. It hosts many high end department stores such as Beymen, Vakko, Hugo Boss, Tod’s, DKNY, Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Prada, Hermes, Gucci,Armani..etc. The combination of historical buildings and stylish haute couture stores give Nisantasi a very elegant style.

The main streets of Nisantasi are Valikonagi, Rumeli and Tesvikiye. You will find everything to suit your budget on these streets. If you want a relaxed start of the day, Machka Park is the escape for people living on this side of the city. You can do your morning exercise and then taste some local flavors in Park Cafes.

Nobel laureate Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk is also a resident of Nisantasi, and there are lots of foreign residents living in here.  If you come to Nisantasi, there is no chance to miss the local designers, so you can visit these famous Turkish Designers’ stores.

The Best of Turkish Designers

Arzu Kaprol: An important Turkish fashion designer who is praised for her fluid feminine style both in Turkey and France. Atiye Sokak No. 9, Nisantasi; P: (0212) 225 01 29

Hakan Yildirim: Known as Hakaan in the Fashion world, Hakan Yıldırım is famous for his architectural, oversized, and masculine tailoring that gives a woman just the right amount of edge she might need. Abdi Ipekçi Caddesi No. 23/5, Nisantasi; P: (0212) 248 46 80

Elif Cigizoglu: The famous designer is no stranger when it comes to dressing Turkish celebrities both on and off screen. Her night gowns have been seen in most famous Turkish TV shows. Tesvikiye Caddesi No. 178/3, Nisantasi; P: (0212) 296 00 12

Özlem Süer: Varying from avant-garde couture, to pret-a-porter, Süer designs elegant dresses for all kinds of occasions. Büyükçiftlik Sokak No. 12, Nisantasi; P: (0212) 240 57 38

The Guide Istanbul

25-pipa-nisantasi-ve-pipa-trio-da-yilbasi-partisi-251212105019 252460_600_2014_sevgi_ve_hosgoru_semti_nisantasi_1388107566 nisantasi600 nisantasi6001 FASHION'S NIGHT OUT ISTANBUL-NISANTASI ETKINLIGI Park-Samdan-Nisantasi-05