Turkish e-commerce firm Trendyol raises $1. 5 B from SoftBank

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- Trendyol, a Turkish e-commerce company backed by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. raised more than 1.5 billion in its latest funding round that included SoftBank Corp. and two Gulf fund managers.

The capital raise, co-led by SoftBank's Vision Fund 2 and General Atlantic, vaulted the Istanbul-based firm to a $16.5 billion valuation, according to an emailed statement from the company. The UAE Capital Authority, Abu Dhabi sovereign fund ADQ and the princeville capital joined the round. It marked SoftBank's first investment in Turkey.

The investment proceeds will help Trendyol's growth both within Turkey and internationally, said Demet Mutlu. 'In particular, Trendyol will continue to invest in the internal and supplier infrastructure, technology and logistics, advance digitalization of Turkish SMEs.

The e-commerce company has benefited from a surge in online buying in Turkey, which saw 66% growth last year, according to the trade ministry. Trendyol's gross merchandise value, a measure of the products sold on its platform, has increased in the last three years by around 20 times and will hit $10 billion this year, people familiar with the company said in April in March.

The company may sell shares in two years by public offering initial share the people said at the time.

'Trendyol seamlessly integrates e-commerce, payments and delivery, with deep industry expertise in sectors such as fashion, with a unique consumer offer we believe will be highly scalable across new markets and geographies, said Anthony Doeh, partner for SoftBank Investment Advisers, who manages Japanese conglomerate Vision Fund 2.

The funding round made Trendyol Turkey's only 'decacorn' with a valuation of more than $10 billion. The company hit $9.4 billion in value earlier this year when its top stakeholder, Alibaba, invested $350 million, according to the country's commercial registry.

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In the last year, Turkish firms have attracted more investment from investors in Turkey, pushing valuations higher. Hepsiburada, Trendyol's main rival in Turkey, was valued at $3.9 billion in its initial public offering of Nasdaq in July. Zynga Inc. bought game-maker Peak for $1.8 billion last year, and Getir, a quick grocery delivery app, was able to fetch a valuation of $7.6 billion in its latest investment round from private equity firms in June with a $1.8 billion valuation.

Trendyol is the sole financial adviser and placement agent for Citigroup Inc. in the transaction, according to the statement.

Mutlu, a Harvard Business School dropout, founded the company in 2010 with the purpose of reducing global competition. According to Euromonitor data, Trendyol is Turkey's largest e-commerce marketplace platform with 34% of the market value. Hepsiburada control 11% and n 11.com 8.3%, followed by EBay Inc.'s GittiGidiyor unit with 4.4%.