- 27 Feb, 23
Nevzat Aydin 101: The Visionary Behind Yemeksepeti’s Success
Nevzat Aydin is the co-founder and former CEO of Yemeksepeti.com, an online food ordering site established in 2001. He served as the CEO until November 1, 2021, and then left his position. In this article on Zatrun.com, you can find everything you need to know about Nevzat Aydin.
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Who is Nevzat Aydin?
Nevzat Aydin was born on March 8, 1976, in Istanbul, but his hometown is Trabzon. His mother was a teacher, and his father was a notary. Aydin started his education at Yalova Ataturk Elementary School and completed his high school education at Bursa Anatolian High School.
He returned to Istanbul for university and graduated from the Computer Engineering Department at Boğaziçi University in 1999. After graduation, Aydin went to the United States with a special scholarship given to Boğaziçi University graduates. He attended the MBA program in Business and Economics at the University of San Francisco.
While continuing his postgraduate studies in the western part of the United States, Nevzat Aydin had the chance to observe the start-up environment in Silicon Valley. He became interested in e-commerce and decided to return to Turkey with a unique model to start his business as soon as possible, leaving his master’s degree in business management unfinished six months before graduation.
In January 2001, Aydin launched Yemeksepeti.com, Turkey’s first online food ordering site, with Melih Odemis (CTO), Gokhan Akan (CFO), and Cem Nufusi (Sales Director). He spent $150,000 on the project with his partners, but the first few projects were not successful because internet usage was low in Turkey. Moreover, not everyone had a computer, and smartphones were not yet prevalent. As a result, the company did not make a profit in its first five years.
Nevzat Aydin and Yemeksepeti
Despite this, Yemeksepeti convinced users and restaurants of the potential of the business model’s ease of use. The ordering model started in Istanbul and then expanded to Ankara and Izmir. The company, which did not make a profit in its first five years, instantly signed agreements with 650 restaurants and had 70,000 users. During this period, Yemeksepeti’s revenue reached up to $5 million.
In 2004, when Yemeksepeti hit 100 orders on the first day, it received its first investment from the European Founders Fund, and it reached ten thousand orders. In 2010, the company began investing in mobile infrastructure, and in 2013, it started using an online credit card payment system for users.
On June 10, 2010, the company opened its first overseas restaurant site with the website izrestoran.co and began operating in Russia. At the end of the same month, the company started operating in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, with the Foodonclick brand. In April 2013, two more countries were added to this brand: Qatar and Oman. Continuing its development in the Middle East, Yemeksepeti opened new branches in Kuwait, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia.
For its first venture in the West, Yemeksepeti chose the neighbouring country of Greece. The company, which pursued an aggressive growth policy in 2013, invested in the Greek company Click Delivery in October and expanded to Europe. The following month, CEO Nevzat Aydın shared the following order figures for Yemeksepeti: 2.2 million registered members, more than 10,000 registered restaurants, and approximately 60,000 orders per day.
In 2012, the brand succeeded in receiving investment from General Atlantic, which was among the world’s top 10 investment funds. This was significant because it was General Atlantic’s first investment in Turkey. In 2014, the company launched yemek.com, a platform for food recipes. It also acquired a majority stake in the Jordanian company “iFood” to expand its operations in the Middle East.
In the mid-2000s, Yemeksepeti was named “Turkey’s Best Website” twice in a row at the Golden Spider Web Competition. In 2007, Nevzat Aydin was named an “Endeavor Entrepreneur” by Endeavor. Aydın was also one of 150 people invited to the entrepreneurship summit held by then-US President Barack Obama in 2010.
In May 2015, Delivery Hero, a global online food ordering platform based in Germany, acquired Yemeksepeti for $589 million, the largest valuation in Turkey’s internet history and a significant sale.
In the 2020s, Yemeksepeti’s membership exceeded 20 million. Founder and CEO Nevzat Aydin handed over the CEO position to Mert Baki on March 1, 2021. Currently, Yemeksepeti serves customers in all provinces of Turkey.