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Hepsiburada Finishes Off US IPO As It Eyes Super-App Future 



Hepsiburada may not be a household name here in the U.S., but as of its IPO on the Nasdaq on Thursday (July 1), the company now carries a $1.9 billion valuation from the first-of-its-kind listing by a Turkish firm. With the funds now in hand, the massive online shopping platform is looking to expand its menu of offerings for consumers with services like travel booking and money transfers.

“We are aiming to use the proceeds to expand our services, not only in our home market of Turkey, but also in nearby and high-potential markets,” Founder and Chairwoman Hanzade Doğan Boyner told media shortly before the company’s shares started trading in New York. “There are strong markets in the Middle East, North Africa and Eastern Europe.”

The firm enters the markets after a powerful year. Pushed by the pandemic and the sudden surge in demand for eCommerce channels, Hepsiburada more than doubled its revenue during the lockdown, as online shopping swelled to account for roughly 10 percent of the Turkish retail market. Even with that growth spurt, Turkey is well behind the U.K. and the U.S., where online commerce rose to north of 20 percent commerce in total during the same time period. As Doğan Boyner noted, it’s a sign that the market still has much room to expand in the post-pandemic period.

The History of Hepsiburada

The company’s founder is one of the four daughters of Turkish billionaire Aydin Dogan. The firm is one of many Turkish startups to achieve unicorn status (a valuation above $1 billion) following a national surge of digitization that has elevated the value of eCommerce companies, mobile game developers and delivery app makers within the last year. Trendyol, Hepsiburada’s top rival in the Turkish eCommerce segment, was valued at $9.4 billion when Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd. increased its stake earlier this year.

Founded in 1998, Hepsiburada (which translates to “everything is here”) operates a massive logistics platform spread across Turkey, in combination with an eCommerce site with roughly 43 million products available, many of which can be received within two hours of ordering.

The firm’s stated ambition, however, is to develop the eCommerce platform into something more like a “super-app” that can offer everything from groceries to flights to payment services through its Hepsipay platform, which has a built-in installment offering. Apart from fast delivery, wide selection and payments choice, Hepsiburada is also known for frictionless returns.

A Busy Path Forward

Hepsiburada has grown quickly over the last several years — about 50 percent year on year for the last five years — but in the year of the pandemic, the firm doubled in size. And while Thursday’s listing was a strong start, Doğan Boyner told TechCrunch that she doesn’t put much stock (no pun intended) into the big numbers that make the headlines.

“Today’s valuation is not very important for me. It’s not where you start, it’s where you go. I’m not selling any shares, and this is primarily for growth funding. This is just the beginning. You know, the market is still low penetration, and we have an exciting journey ahead of us. I want the stock to perform well for my investors, but what the value is today is irrelevant for me,” she noted in an interview with TechCrunch.

The goal is to grow into a market where they believe eCommerce penetration will double by 2025 as Turkey pushes past the eCommerce inflection point. With the funds raised by this IPO, Doğan Boyner said the firm plans to accelerate its growth and continue to execute its vision in Turkey and beyond.

“Almost 20 years ago, I started with eCommerce, and from day one, we built it with new features and new services,” said Doğan Boyner. “Today, we manage a fully integrated ecosystem, from last-mile delivery to payment to groceries. Hepsiburada is the super app that makes our customers’ lives easier.”

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