“A unicorn IT Company has not existed in Turkey, yet. Yes, it can come out, but not tomorrow, it needs to be phased.”
The route from consulting to the product and then to the cloud business, today FIT provides solutions to legal obligations such as electronic invoices, e- book and e-archive invoices. They define themselves as a FinTech company. They develop products both in Turkish and English. In addition to legal obligations, they also develop products that will bring added-value to their customers such as electronic control products that can report more than five hundred controls in 30 seconds.
By purchasing all the rights of the FIT SAP Electronic Book product, SAP Germany sold it to more than three hundred international companies in their product portfolio around the world.
FIT got an investment from Dutch-based REVO Capital two years ago. Previous investments in Turkey were usually made to the internet or consulting companies which were targeting the local customer potential. The importance of FIT investment is to increase the value of the product-based business.
FIT cooperates with partners in the USA, Portugal and England.
I had a nice interview with Ahmet Bilgen, the Chairman of FIT.
It provides critical advantages for the operational and total ownership as buying the hardware is not enough. It requires severe labor and competence to keep the system up and running and to maintain. You should be able to fix a disaster. As a technology infrastructure, we use both SAP and Oracle cloud solutions and technology infrastructures professionally. For the cloud infrastructure, we work with data centers in Turkey. We keep our cloud system and provide private cloud services to our customers. Today, more than sixty companies are using our services.
There is a serious cyber security worry in cloud solutions. How do you deal with that?
Yes, unfortunately, no one can say hundred percent “I am safe.” We are implementing common industry standards to our systems even by taking services from the specialist companies if necessary. Our teams are taking precautions, and we have not experienced any problems like data loss or attack until now.
You also have distributors.
We offered financial solutions with e-transformation concept in 2009. We have approximately 6.000 customers including 1.000 large-scale clients. As we cannot go everywhere, we started the franchise system to grow that potential and today we have nearly 50 distributers. We also do collaborations. One of them is Türkkep.
You say that your products are nature-friendly.
Yes, besides facilitating the life of business organization in commercial life, our products are nature-friendly. With the electronic book application, taxpayers who print one and a half million page book in a month are now entirely using electronics. It is necessary to widespread paperless office implementations in Turkey. Think about cutting the tree in Brazil, turning it into paper, its transportation by ship or truck, coming to your table, logistic systems, office electricity, toner, all these kind of expenses and carbon consumption. We provide solutions for all these things.
You are releasing new product related to supplier financing.
With subsidiary products, we started to move further into FinTech area. We are establishing a company for supplier financing. We are developing a platform for the companies, which need financial support. It will enable them to cover their financial needs within 1- 2 days or even in hours instead of spending 3-4 weeks with banks and factoring companies. On that platform, we bring financiers, customers, and suppliers together. We plan to create a large business volume in Turkey.
Do you think a unicorn comes out of Turkey and what are the plans of FIT?
First of all, it is necessary to consider the conditions of the country. A unicorn IT Company has not existed in Turkey, yet. Yes, it can come out, but not tomorrow, it needs to be phased.
Where is the technology going? What will we talk on in ten years?
I think we’ll talk about entirely different things. For instance artificial intelligence, which is open to endless interpretation. There will be devices that will support people with robot technology. There will be paranormal techniques in the industries related to the development of the people and their needs. If we want to give an example from today, Facebook searched for a translation program for their search engine but any translation program that they had found in the world was insufficient for them because there is a Facebook language. For example, users write ‘how r u?’ instead of ‘how are you?’ Then Facebook invented their translation program that works with FB jargon. But a company will always need accounting and reporting system to survive.
You are also investing in Startups. What do you recommend to youngsters?
Yes, for example, we supported the Paraşüt, which sells the pre-accountancy program. It’s a product that will meet all the pre-accounting needs of a lawyer or a startup company. Youngsters should firstly be in the position to do their job in the best way. Then they have to determine a road map, for example, they should say themselves ‘I can work for two years in this job, and then I can attempt something like that, or I can continue my professional life in that area.’ There is no rule that everyone who establishes a Startup will make money or be happy. Entrepreneurship gives pleasure in some way, but there are also many challenges in it. In the USA only 2-3 of the 1.000 entrepreneurs can succeed. The end of month bills must be calculated, how the salaries will be paid. I think the important point is that they need to be specialized in a subject. They need to have unique skills that will support and secure them in their hard times.
Thank you very much.
Please feel free to watch the interview I have achieved with Ahmet Bilgen, the Chairman of FIT at the following video in Turkish.