We talked to Yakup Sezer of insha on how to offer an innovative & fully digital account based on the principles and this is what he had to say.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Yakup Sezer: My family and I are doing well under the current circumstances. Fortunately, we are all healthy and well. I am grateful and happy that my life has been mostly every day despite Covid-19.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded insha.
Yakup Sezer: In 2009, I founded Acikinovasyon, a technology and innovation startup, the first open innovation platform and innovation agency in Turkey. I managed many projects for 57 local and global macro-scale companies. I turned this innovation startup into an agency that provided innovation management consultancy solutions, innovation training services, and international innovation events for over 60 innovation projects in 4 years with my devoted and ambitious team. We also developed Turkey’s first idea management software and implemented it in several companies.
Then, I left my company and started as Strategy and Corporate Performance Management Vice Manager at Albaraka, reporting directly to the CEO and Head of Strategy and Corporate Performance Management. I took part in directing strategy projects in the transformation program. I was involved in strategy development projects with the help of my project management experience.
I was Head of Business Excellence and Innovation, managing innovation, business excellence, organizational development, agile projects, and open banking, coordinator of Albaraka Garaj.
I’m now CEO of insha and insha Ventures, which started its operation in Turkey and Germany, fintech venture builder with our outstanding financial technology knowledge and extensive market experience. We’re disrupting finance with love.
How does insha innovate?
Yakup Sezer: insha offers a digital account that puts moral values first. With a range of innovative products integrated into its app, insha is for everyone who cares about what happens with their money. Based on strong moral principles, insha offers tools that help its customers achieve their saving goals, gain insights into spending behavior, transfer money abroad for little cost, and donate easily to charities of their choice. With offices in Berlin and Istanbul, insha has regulations by EU authorities and has backing by AlBaraka Türk.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Yakup Sezer: Of course, the pandemic has also affected us in one way or another. Like so many other companies, we have shifted into the home office. Our significant advantage is that we offer a purely digital product, which is now more critical than ever. Also, we announced a seed investment round of €2.5 million in October. The lead investor was the Turkish payment service provider Param. We will use the money for our European expansion, further develop our products, and strengthen the team at its headquarters in Berlin and Istanbul.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Yakup Sezer: Fortunately, we did not make hard cuts. We are lucky to be on a new path with our digital products, spared from the pandemic. We have had to change our plans here and there for 2020, but in general, we are still on the path we set out to take before the pandemic broke out.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and insha in the future?
Yakup Sezer: I am an entrepreneur at heart. Therefore, I am used to working long and hard. Stress is my daily companion, so to speak – in both a positive and negative sense. But I’m also a family man. That’sThat’s why I can still switch off best in the company of my loved ones.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Yakup Sezer: Companies such as N26, Fidor, Tomorrow, Monzo, or Revolut could are competitors. However, with insha, we want to go one step further and achieve something different. insha offers the users a digital account that doesn’t contradict their moral values. The app helps them achieve their saving goals, offers complete control over all expenditures, and a banking approach exclusively linked to the real economy. insha follows sustainable banking principles, guaranteeing that reinvesting deposits is not done in morally questionable companies, such as weapon manufacturers. I am convinced that we can shape the future of online banking with our product.
Your final thoughts?
Yakup Sezer: A year like 2020 leaves traces for all. Each of us is affected by Covid-19 in one way or another. The most important thing, however, is not to lose hope for a better tomorrow. This motto not only drives our daily work here at insha, but it also applies to our outlook for the coming year. I, therefore, wish all readers of startup.info a healthy and successful start to 2021.
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