The Story of Our Smart Exit: Why should anyone invest in a startup?

Güçlü Talu

Co-founder @ Smartup Network

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Because you believe in the founder!

In 2016, Smartup Network was two years old and had already made a number of unsuccessful investments in startup products. Although the founders we worked with were experienced in their fields and the products were needless to say at the cutting edge of development - because they were built by Smartup Network:), it always came down to the budget, the energy and time being consumed before the product reached significant monetizations stage and the entrepreneur moving on with his life.

That's how we decided to invest in Starhlete, a digital environment that enables football coaches and players to provide constructive feedback to one another, founded by Can Gökçen, who was the head of Product Management at Smartup Network.  Why did we decide to invest in Starhlete? That goes back to how Can became the Head of Product Management at our company. 

Can reached Smartup Network asking us to build his startup product, like all our entrepreneur partners. We always believe that it is the founder who should know about the business flows of his product the best so an entrepreneur who can build mockups for his product is an entrepreneur we want to work with. Most entrepreneurs can not. Can did and he did it at least as good as any other member of our product management team! So we offered him a job at Smartup Network and ended up working with for four years and building 20+ startup products all across the globe.

What our unsuccessful exit attempts had shown us that our main focus should have been how much we believe in the founder more than anything else. So going through this journey with Can who was one of the best ammbassadors of the Smartup approach to startups was a perfect opportunity to test Smartup Network's value proposal. It is now fair to say that our value proposal is confirmed since Starthlete was fully acquired by the Louisina based sports analytics group, , in 2021 and Smartup Network cashed out its equity in full.


Smartup Network is a team of entrepreneurs that have experience in building, raising funds and selling startups. Our mission is to support entrepreneurs with bright ideas who don't have the proper team to turn their ideas into products. Our three main areas of expertise are:

We build their products for entrepreneurs whether they are at idea stage or post-MVP stage.

Product Management
We work alongside entrepreneurs to find the ideal product user experience for their target markets.

Finding Investment
Once our entrepreneurs' products begin showing traction, we get them in contact with the right investors.

So far, we have had the opportunity to build startup 35 products in 16 countries, for entrepreneurs from all over the world including San Francisco, Seattle, Amsterdam, Berlin, Dusseldorf, Copenhagen, Dubai, Johannesburg, Accra, Quito and Istanbul. You can find some of the latest successes of our entrepreneurs' apps through this link. Smartup Network partners with well known startup hubs all over the world. Including but not limited to, Switzerland based Seedstars, which supports startups in developing countries, Boston New Technology Group in the United States and Impact Hub Istanbul, the world-renowned startup hub for social entrepreneurs. Startup experts from all over the world such as. Trivago founder and CEO Rolf Schrömgens and Sina Afra, who was named One of Top 100 Most Influential Tech People in the world by Wired Magazine. Our goal is to support as many entrepreneurs as possible realize their dreams.

Smartup Network
Technical Partner For Your Startup