Since founding online Turkish e-tailer Trendyol in June 2009, entrepreneur Demet Mutlu has raised over $50 million in external funding from venture capitalists Tiger Global and KPCB. The first Turkish entrepreneur to receive an investment from KPCB, Mutlu has become internationally recognised for her business acumen and in 2011 was listed in Fortune magazine’s list of ‘Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs’.
Following her graduation from New York City University, where she obtained the highest GPA in the economics department, Mutlu undertook a number of brand management positions with companies such as Altria, Proctor & Gamble and Reckitt Benckiser before pursuing an MBA at Harvard Business School in 2008. Inspired to start Trendyol after a family holiday in Turkey, Mutlu dropped out of the MBA programme, bootstrapping $300,000 of her own funds to launch the fashion portal.
Built on the same flash sale format as Gilt and Vente-Privée, the site offers a selection of international and domestic Turkish fashion and accessory brands through ‘boutiques’ that hold sales for a limited number of days. In June 2011 Mutlu launched her own in-house label Milla, the designs of which are voted on by Facebook fans, before the most popular ones are put into production. The site currently counts over 5.8 million members.
An advocate for Turkish start-ups, Mutlu has invested in Peak Games and is part of the Global Shaper programme of the World Economic Forum.