Demet Mutlu, the founder of Turkey’s largest fashion e-commerce platform, dropped out of Harvard Business School’s MBA programme in 2009 to launch Trendyol. Since then, the site has raised over $50 million in external funding from venture capitalists including Tiger Global and Silicon Valley venture capitalist firm KPCB, and Mutlu was the first Turkish entrepreneur to receive investment from KPCB. Her business acumen has garnered her international recognition — Mutlu attended the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos whilst still in her 20s and in 2016 was named a Young Global Leader by the WEF, along with Mark Zuckerberg and Marissa Mayer.
Born in New York and raised in London, Istanbul and Rome, Mutlu studied at New York University, where she graduated with the highest GPA in the economics department. She spent time working in brand management for companies such as Altria, Procter & Gamble and Reckitt Benckiser, before beginning an MBA at Harvard Business School in 2008. After discovering Turkey’s online shopping potential, Mutlu dropped out of Harvard to start Trendyol, bootstrapping $300,000 of her own funds to launch the fashion portal.
Trendyol the site offers a selection of international and domestic Turkish fashion and accessory brands, only a month after launching, the site had attracted 100,000 customers and by late 2011 boasted more than 4 million customers. In 2016, Mutlu expects sales to almost double to 1 billion lira (about $350 million).
An advocate for Turkish start-ups, Mutlu has invested in Peak Games and is part of the Young Global Leaders World Economic Forum.