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New term kick-off for Hackquarters Pioneers: Learn, Engage, Deliver and Graduate

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As we started our program on 18th of November with HackCon4 and our new 125 Pioneers, we’re happy to announce our quarterly plans for Class of 19. We’ll have 3 quarters till September 2019: Learn, Engage and Deliver.

LEARN

Meetups: In the first 3 months, our focus is on learning the most important things in the entrepreneurship. So, Pioneers will be attending meetups and they’ll be learning from Omegas of the program via Online Meetups, Hacker Meetups, Women Entrepreneurship Panels and through events in their schools. We built peer groups to make every Pioneer involved in what they want to do better.

Read, Watch, Attend: Thanks to Hackquarters’ rich resources, we have lots of content to deliver. Pioneers will have biweekly newsletters that have articles, videos, book and event recommendations.

Internships: We all know working in a startup environment is the best choice to learn about the ecosystem. Our omegas are willing to provide internships for Pioneers who want to work as an intern in a startup. And also, StartupHR helps us to find cool internships for all Pioneers.

Bootcamp: Last year we organized a bootcamp just after our second HackCon. We also recorded all the courses that we’ve done on that day so that everyone could benefit from it (You can find those videos on Hackquarters YouTube channel). We will be doing another bootcamp this year in February, after HackCon5. There are limited seats, so only 10 Alpha Pioneers and 5 Beta Pioneers will be able to attend the bootcamp physically.

Starting this new batch, Pioneers will have to complete some tasks in order to graduate from the program. In the first quarter, Pioneers need to meet with 5 other Pioneers, chosen randomly. They should follow all the content we provide, join meetups as possible as they can, ALWAYS use Slack for communication and give feedbacks about online courses that we’ve recorded at Pioneers Bootcamp’18, so they might have a chance to attend Pioneers Bootcamp’19.

ENGAGE

The second quarter is more likely to be engaged in startups and innovative corporations like Google, Iyzico, Scotty, Yemeksepeti, Insider etc. We’ll be visiting successful startups and corporations as peer groups (Hacker, Hipster, Hustler) every month to see different company cultures, meet with people relevant to everyone’s peers and solve business cases in the company. Pioneers need to join these trips and cooperate with other peers as well when delivering an innovative project to companies we visit. In the second quarter, they still should be following content from Hackquarters and try to land internships at startups. Since our last quarter is all about creating a startup, they need to attend Product Development sessions that is a part of Hacker Meetups and they should look for proper teammates. Together with StartupHR team, we will be organizing “Meet your co-founder” events to accelerate the process.

DELIVER

This is probably the most challenging part of our program. After learning crazy new stuff and engaging in successful companies for 6 months, now it’s time to deliver a product. Unfortunately, only Pioneers who completed our “to do list” in previous quarters will have the chance to be included in our last quarter.

As always, we will try to provide as many resources as we can to all Pioneers, but this time we will need their involvement in return. We will track how much learned from this program and studied in these topics for themselves. After that, 5 teams will have the chance to attend last quarter. Their main goal will be selling their product or service. Then according to their earnings, we’ll be giving out rewards like cloud credits, mentorship support after the program and $1000 cash more if they earn $1000.

GRADUATE?

Best of 2018 by Hackquarters: What we achieved in 2018

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It was a great year for Hackquarters. When you read a company blog, you would think that “Well, you will say this anyway, even if it was a bad year for yourselves”. But the thing is it was really a year full of great events that we organized, helped to organize or attended. You will find our events in 2018 in this article, which made us proud like a peacock. Events are ordered by date. You can click on either title or the related photo


Aksigorta Startup Challenge

10 startups working on insurtech, digital health and technology presented their work to the jury from Aksigorta executives. 3 startups, including Vivoo, Drivebuddy, and Sigorta.io, have been given awards for their success.


Grants4Apps by Bayer

Bayer Türk professionals and Hackquarters team chose 6 startups for Grants4Apps Turkey, including Yubi, Tion, Digime3D, Vivoo, Pons, and PatiBuddy. Bayer Grants4Apps is a global program that offers support to startups and companies that are developing innovative solutions in health and care.


HackCon2

The first day of HackCon 2 started with the welcoming speech by Kaan Akin, Hackquarters CEO& Founder. After the intro, Omegas joined Kaan on stage to share their experience with the Pioneers. Among the questions discussed during the panel were tricks to build a powerful team, and lessons learned.


Blockchain event at Yıldız Teknopark

Kaan Akın was on stage for “Blockchain” event at Yıldız Technical University. Hackquarters team were mentoring for all startups within Yıldız Teknopark in STARVISE program.


Global Pitch

Hackquarters got invited as members of the jury for the biggest online pitching competition in the world. Hundreds of startups from all around the world applied for the event and after initial elimination, finalists presented their projects online to the jury. The competition was focused on various topics such as sustainability, renewable energy, data, e-governments, smart cities etc.


MediaMarkt Startup Challenge

With MediaMarkt Startup Challenge, MediaMarkt Turkey was looking for technologies to improve their processes in retailtech. 3 winners, which includes Buybuddy, Udentify and Pacer,  have been awarded with great prizes from MediaMarkt executives. Winner of the challenge, Buybuddy, got the chance to present their product at Retailtech Hub 2018.


Investment in Turkish Startups Summit (in Berlin)

Hackquarters was in Berlin for Investment in Turkish Startups Summit. We helped Istanbul Startup Angels, Turkish Technology Team and ISPAT organize the event and Kaan Akın was one of the speakers at the summit.


Red Bull Amaphiko Connect

We visited various universities all around Turkey with our friends from startup ecosystem and thanks to Red Bull. Red Bull Amaphiko is an entrepreneurship project which focuses on social impact.


Workup by Isbank

Workup is an acceleration program which is open to all startups from early stage to seed-funded startups. As you can get from the name, the main supporter of the program is Isbank, while Hackquarters is responsible for the content of the program and overall management, with the valuable help of Kolektif House.


Kaan Akın is live on Bloomberg HT

Hackquarters founder Kaan Akın was live as a guest for Girişimcilik Dünyası (World of Entrepreneurship) on Bloomberg HT.


Kässbohrer: 125 years of Innovation (in Ulm)

Mainly focusing on mobility, professionals from all over the world had the chance to witness future of automotive and logistics industry. Hackquarters team attended the event with our friends from TIRSAN. Entrepreneurs from startups which are selected to present in front of that audience also talked about their startups and gave valuable messages to entrepreneurs.


HackCon3

We had breakfast together and talked briefly about what we were doing from the beginning and what is next. During the gathering, we realized that our community has expanded more than we expected. We’ve organized really cool events, inspiring high school and university students since September 2017.


Hackquarters is in WIRED UK Magazine

WiredUK has published the article about top 100 startups in Europe, which includes 10 Turkish startups, with the help of Hackquarters founder Kaan Akın.


Kaan Akın is live on CNN Türk

Hackquarters founder, Kaan Akın , was live on CNN Türk, talking about the biggest free startup event in the world, Take Off Istanbul Startup Summit.


Take Off Istanbul Startup Summit

Take Off Istanbul Startup Summit was the biggest free startup festival in the world. Thanks to our friends at Turkey Technology Team and Invest in Turkey, we were prepared for hordes of startups arriving at Istanbul. We have received more than 2000 applications for Take Off Istanbul Startup Summit, from more than 80 different countries, all around the world. The event took place within Teknofest Istanbul Aerospace and Technology Festival, which is also a one of a kind event in its own category. For that reason, Teknofest and Take Off took place in Istanbul’s new, huge airport, which is set for official opening on Republic Day, October 29th.


NEM Meetup #1

Hackquarters organized the first official NEM Meetup in Istanbul. Even if we did not have much time for registrations and preparations and we hosted fewer people than we wanted, our first event with NEM was a success according to feedback from our audience. We hosted our event in Kolektif House Maslak, which is a great co-working space and “natural habitat” to startups and entrepreneurs.


Kaan Akın presented Hackquarters in the 2018 YTILI Fellowship

Hackquarters was one of 10 startups, who presented comprise the 2018 cohort of the Young Transatlantic Innovation Leadership Initiative (YTILI) Fellowship, a program run by the U.S. Department of State. With support from the U.S. German Marshall Fund, YTILI brings European entrepreneurs across the Atlantic and connects them with mentors and leadership training.


Gitex Future Stars (in Dubai)

Our friends at NEM Dubai Office invited us to Dubai to take part in Gitex Future Stars. We gladly accepted the invitation. Gitex Future Stars is probably one of the biggest startup related events in the MENA region. There were a few startup competitions and lots of awards to be given to entrepreneurs.


Google Assistant: Build Actions for Your Community (in İzmir)

Recently, we were very happy to collaborate on Google for their “Build Actions for Your Community” events in Turkey, which currently focuses on Google Assistant. Hackquarters team joined the event in EBILTEM (Ege University Science, Technology and Research Center), İzmir. Along with our team, GDG İzmir team and our friends from Google and our friends (Berkay Yavuz, Aziz Akgül, Çağın Torkut, Muhammet Enginar and Engin Dogusoy) joined us as mentors in the event.


HackCon4

We got together for our 4th HackCon at Kolektif House Maslak. A warm “Welcome Home” speech was made by Kaan Akın, explaining what we’ve accomplished before, our aim for the future and what we expect from our new batch of Pioneers. As Pioneers, we love talking on Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning, Digital Transformation, and IoT/Smart Machines. We will try to provide more resources and feed our new Pioneers with great information on those topics.

You can still apply for new batch of Workup by Isbank

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One of Hackquarters’ main partners is İş Bankası (Isbank) of Turkey, for our collaboration on Workup by Isbank project. Workup is an acceleration program which is open to all startups from early stage to seed-funded startups. As you can get from the name, the main supporter of the program is Isbank, while Hackquarters is responsible for the content of the program and overall management, with the valuable help of Kolektif House.

Workup by Isbank provides countless opportunities for accepted startups, such as mentoring and technical consulting support for business idea development, lean entrepreneurial methods, research and customer development, team building and management, law, finance and accounting, marketing and presentation techniques, sales and marketing training to your technology-driven startup.

Last 2 years, we had more than 40 startups accepted to the program. Our 3rd batch is almost done, with 13 startups are getting ready for the upcoming demo day for their graduation. And the most exciting part is that we are ready for the next batch of startups!

After the demo day, we will start the selection process of the 4th batch. So if you are interested in countless opportunities that Workup by Isbank can provide for your startup, you can always visit the website and apply. Applications for the program is always open, but you need to apply soon, to be considered for the next batch.

You can visit Workup webpage to get much more info.

HackCon4: Pioneers are all in for blockchain, AI, digital transformation, IOT and more

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Last Sunday, on 18th Nov, we got together for our 4th HackCon at Kolektif House Maslak. A warm “Welcome Home” speech was made by Kaan Akın, explaining what we’ve accomplished before, our aim for the future and what we expect from our new batch of Pioneers. While telling you more about what we did at HackCon, I’ll also explain our community processes and some info for our new Pioneers who couldn’t attend HackCon.

As Pioneers, we love talking on Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning, Digital Transformation, and IoT/Smart Machines. We will try to provide more resources and feed our new Pioneers with great information on those topics.

Then I took the stage for our second session, which was about events and activities we are planning at Hackquarters Pioneers for this new term. You can also find more info about this topic in our previous blog.

Last year, we received more than 2500 applications for our events and Pioneers program, and we accepted 120 new Pioneers into our family. We organized more than 40 meetups at 15 universities and 8 different cities. For this year we received more than 3000 applications for our events and Pioneers program. We have handpicked 105 new Pioneers into our family from 32 universities, 5 high schools and from 20 different cities all across Turkey. We are so proud to be growing rapidly.

Pizza for everyone!

After sharing our future plans with our beloved Pioneers, we had a networking session. We would love to thank StartupHR team for helping us to create such a fun environment for our attendees and Pizza Locale for providing delicious pizzas for everyone.

Next session was given by Kaan Akın about “Growing Tech in a Developing World”. We’ve got inspired by knowing more about the stories of leading tech companies and important facts about well-known startups.

Omegas took over the stage after Kaan’s presentation. Berke Uygun from Doktorderki, Emrah Yiğit from Pepapp, Elif Aleyna Duman from Hangi Üniversite Hangi Bölüm, Emirhan Erdoğan from Appyist and TurkishKit, Sezer Ulutaş from Appcent, Mehmet Taş from Blockpays, Berkay Şamiloğlu from Tion and Nizamettin Sami Harputlu from StartupHR were the panelists of our session, which was moderated by Kaan Akın. We would like to thank all our friends for being with us for the day and sharing their unique experiences.

The last presentation was from our education partner; TurkishKit. Emirhan Erdoğan talked about what TurkishKit is doing recently, how their community works and how we’ll be working together in our new term at Pioneers. They’ve already helped us on organizing our upcoming Hacker Meetups and our partnership with Bahçeşehir University. We would like to thank them for their participation at HackCon and their wonderful contribution to Pioneers.

What is next for Hackquarters Pioneers?

HackCon4 was our first step into the new term of Hackquarters Pioneers. In Hackquarters Pioneers, we have different groups called Alpha, Beta and Omega. If you know about a product’s creating cycle, you may be heard these words before. Alpha members are fresh newbies, who are in the beginning of all process, and trying to gain more knowledge to become “beta”. Beta members are the ones who had internships in startups or volunteered in organizing our events, so they’ve gained experience. Aleyna, Göktuğ, Sena, Metin and Emre are Betas of Pioneers 2019. Omegas are the last ring of the chain, the ones finally turned an idea into a startup. They help Alphas and Betas to complete the same process successfully. To be clear, the reason behind dividing our community is not creating a hierarchical community, it is actually creating a cycle which everyone could learn from the other.

Hackquarters Pioneers will be meeting every month as physical and online both. Physical meetings are for mostly hanging outs, knowing each other better. Online meetings are for catching up the Pioneers learning process well and knowing people from other cities as well without a necessity to have them in İstanbul.

We’re planning to add new online courses to Teachable which is our education platform for teaching entrepreneurship. We suggested to new Pioneers also watch, learn and take some notes. Then, they should give us feedbacks if there is any missing points or if they want to add new topics with the others. So we’ll manage to create new online courses and select 15 lucky Pioneers from whom gives us feedbacks, to attend courses as offline.

Through online channels we’ll be creating online meet ups, using Youtube more efficiently and promote our offline events to be reached from any other cities. Slack and WhatsApp groups have been made, our Slack channel has reached 250+ people from entrepreneurs, Pioneers and investors. Pioneers will be benefiting from networking, education and other needs for their entrepreneurship path. I strongly suggest every Pioneer to keep eyes out on every mailings and follow Hackquarters’ social media accounts carefully.

You’ll see Pioneers are raising on LinkedIn and Angel.co since they already started adding themselves into that platforms. Because we are trying to take them more into the ecosystem and they’ll learn how to use efficiently these two platforms, when they have to find true customers for their startups.

You can look at HackCon’s posts from #hackcon on Instagram. I can’t wait to create crazier stuff with Pioneers!

10 Food startups was at Impact Hub Istanbul for EIT Food

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Our followers on social media are always the ones, that get the news related to Hackquarters, first. As you are aware, Hackquarters founder, Kaan, was attending an event last week that we announced on our social media channels. The event was organized by EIT Food, which is a consortium of 50 partners with the ambition to create a future-proof & effective food sector through a connected food system. EIT Food is supported by EIT, which stands for European Institute of Innovation and Technology. The event was hosted by Impact Hub Istanbul.

Here are competing Turkish startups for EIT Food;

Batır

Batır is a company focusing on creating healthy, all-natural, nutritious snacks, which is easy to carry and packaged for daily consumption. Batır is using mostly local ingredients in their products.

Can Hydroponics

Can Hydroponics grow micro-greens using local and natural seeds without any additives, hormones, GMOs or fertilizers. Rather than using plastic pots, they are using waxed fabrics and water. Some of their products have up to 200 times more nutritional values than their traditional counterparts.

HAD

HAD (or Human Architectural Development) is a startup focusing on rooftop agriculture. They help communities produce soil from kitchen waste. They also help those communities with agricultural ecosystem by helping breed bees, worms or chicken. With those actions, they are hoping to contribute lower carbon emissions in cities.

Hyggefisk

Hyggefisk aims to provide nature-friendly, healthy, sustainable and low-budget alternatives to luxurious animal-origin food, by using vegetable alternatives. They are already working with some hotels and restaurants with their vegetable-based caviars.

MUMO Wrap

MUMO Wrap is a health alternative to traditional fridge bags, plastic or aliminum foil. It’s made of fabric coated with wax, pine resin and coconut oil. Their product is reusable, healtier than its alternatives and keeps food fresh for longer.

Naturansa

Naturansa‘s name is based on latin words Natura (natural) and Ansa (cycle). Based on their name, team is working on sustainable, modern and ecological food and food systems with scientific and technological research. They are working with black soldier flies (BSF, Hermetia illucens) and they are feeding flies with food waste. Feeding with natural products, BSF also provides “the cycle” with edible larvae and natural fertilizer.

Nu Snacks

Nu Snacks products are hoping to help people with health snacks without any gluten or sugar. They have raw bar, granola and nutbutter products currently on market.

Shaman’s Secret

Shaman’s Secret has been founded by Beril, who grow up within a family, interested in nature and natural products. She decided to turn their home-made kombucha into a product. Their products vary such as kombucha starter’s kit and dried kombucha cultivation kit.

HAUS

HAUS produces healthy, dried food with a special technique called “freeze dry”. Their technique sucks out 98% of humidity from food such as cheese, olives, okra, and thus keeps in nutritional values of their products. Their food not only keeps its shape and nutritional values, but also has long years of shelf life. (Editor’s note: I tried it. They are awesome)

Tarlamvar

Tarlamvar is working closely with farmers all across Turkey. They are removing middle-man, and lets customers reach out to farmers, who grow all-natural products. Customers “adopt” trees or farms and they get their products delivered to their homes, directly from the farmer.

Pioneers are gathering once more for HackCon4

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Hackquartes Pioneers is a young, growing and enthusiastic community which supports university and high school students to reach guidance, advice and experiences they need about entrepreneurship. Starting this term, we have 100 new Pioneers to bring into the startup ecosystem from over 1000 applications. Our Pioneers are spread among 20 cities, 32 universities and 5 high schools! We’ll meet with our new recruits for HackCon4 on November 18th, at Kolektif House Maslak.

HackCon4 is going to start with Kaan Akın’s speech and my presentation about Hackquarters Pioneers’ future. Namık Kural will take the stage to share his story as an investor. With delicious food from Pizza Locale, great drinks from Lipton and help of Startup HR, we will have some free, networking time with our Pioneers and other attendants. As an extra info: StartupHR is also founded by two Pioneers.

After networking and lunch break, our beloved Omegas will take the stage: Berke Uygun & Emrah Yiğit from Doktorderki, Sonat Kaymaz from Scorp, Berkay Şamiloğlu from Tion, Serkan Dinçer from Coimex, Mehmet Taş from Blockpays and Sezer Ulutaş from Appcent. They’ll share their unique experiences and they are also going to evaluate 2 minutes long Pioneer pitches.

For this new term, as we will be starting our new partnerships with Ecodation and TurkishKit.

Ecodation is a smart education platform with a great team of mentors from various expertise such as app development, business and more. They will be telling more about themselves and their future plans at HackCon4. For our new term, Ecodation will be helping our Pioneers with their self-development and they will also be looking for new brand ambassadors among our Pioneers.

TurkishKit is a community which provides quality educations for the curious Pioneers who want to learn more about software and design. They are mainly focused on technical and practical education. They will be telling more about the development ecosystem and how Hackquarters and TurkishKit will collaborate in our upcoming Hacker Meetups. (You can see our upcoming events on Hackquarters Eventbrite page).

As Hackquarters Pioneers we aim to focus on learning smart, applicable and practical things instead of just talking about theoretical information. So with our partners, Omegas and mentors around us, we’ll be organizing crazy things as many different cities as we can. HackCon is always a huge excitement for us and now it is a starting point of the new era of Pioneers.

Our next step is moving our community to global and making meetups in other countries too. Keep following us on social media for more updates!

You can get more info about previous HackCon events from these 2 blogs (HackCon2 and HackCon3) and from the video below;

Lord of the Rings: The story of an entrepreneur

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(If you did not watch or read the Lord of the Rings trilogy, things I will mention in my blog will make no sense to you. Also, come on… You didn’t watch that masterpiece yet? You need to. Otherwise, you will get spoilers. *SPOILER ALERT*)

In a previous blog that I wrote, I mentioned “3 Idiots” as my favorite movie of all time (and now I remember that we deleted that part). But for me, that’s because the Lord of the Rings trilogy is in a completely different class than movies. I probably watched complete trilogy more than 5 times; and every time I watch the extended version, I notice something new.

There are lots of myths about the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Some say that J.R.R. Tolkien got influenced by Norse mythology, some say he got ideas from Epic of Gilgamesh and some even say that he got influenced by early nomadic Turkic tribes while creating orcs. But today, we will assume that he foresaw entrepreneurs and their problems.

The main characters and their roles in your startup

I think almost all of the main characters in the Lord of the Rings can be applied to a startup in various ways. I will tell about them in detail and what you can learn from them in the following paragraphs.

Samwise Gamgee = The Founder
Frodo Baggins = Your Product
The One Ring = Your Growth Strategy
Merry and Pippin = Your Team
Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli = the Accelerator Team
Gandalf = the Mentor
Lord Elrond = the Investor
Sauron = the Corporate
Gollum = Your main competitor

It starts to make sense now. Right? There are a lot of side characters that you encounter on your way to success, but we will talk about them later.

Main Characters

Gollum, the Fuckup Story

You might be asking “Why are you starting with Gollum?”. The reason is that Gollum and ring bearers before him are all bad examples. Gollum came across the One Ring by chance and for that power, he even killed a friend for the love of this Ring.

Gollum has been carrying the ring for ages before he lost the ring. He fell in love with the idea of power that the Ring provided, he didn’t even notice that it is killing him from the inside. One Ring gave him an eternal life, but he was just surviving.
Gollum still had a good side of him, before he was Smeagol. But he lost all of it during the time he carried the Ring. He can be helpful to you, but not to be trusted. You need to stay on your feet during your own journey. He lead Sam and Frodo to a secret path, but that path might lead to Shelob.

Lesson to learn: Do not fall in love with an idea. Fall in love with your business. Learn from the mistakes of other startups who failed while trying what you are trying to do.

Samwise, Frodo and the Ring

If you ask people about the main character of the Lord of the Rings, you will see that most people think that Frodo Baggins is the lead character. But if you ask the real fans of the series, you will probably hear that Samwise Gamgee is “the one”. And also as a fan, I can relate to that.

Story of a founder.

Samwise was the founder of the startup to solve a problem. The problem is that One Ring needs to be destroyed, to give the power back to free folks of Middle-Earth. There is a lot of potential in Frodo, but he is yet to discover. He needs to destroy the Ring with Frodo so that Frodo can be free of his chains. The One Ring is Frodo’s burden, and Samwise needs to carry this burden to lead Frodo to success. Sam needs to carry Frodo to Mount Doom to get rid of the One Ring. Sam takes a leap of faith while in cornfields outside of Shire, as he gets as far away as his home he has ever been.

As you can see from the whole paragraph above, I’m not very fond of Frodo. Frodo is a useless pile of shit without Sam’s guidance. Sam needs to shape Frodo as a character. And one-time he gets so bored of his bad trips that he abandons Frodo, only to save him from death later on.

As the founder (Samwise) of a startup, you need a product (Frodo) and a growth strategy (the One Ring). Your growth strategy is not always a pretty thing. It might help you grow, help you get more people around you, but it is not necessarily the main thing you want out of your product.

I don’t want to name any startups, yet I can use them as an example. One of our beloved startups are trying to create a platform for their customers to use, which aims to be an autonomous system them fulfill their needs. But while they are growing, they are working just like an agency and they are completing tasks for their customers that their platform is supposed to do. That’s their growth strategy. But when they reach enough customers and show people that “their platform can do that”, they will abandon their “working as an agency” strategy and move people onto their platform. They are looking for the day that Frodo throws the ring into the fires of Mount Doom.

Lesson to learn: Your growth strategy is not necessarily a thing you want to do at the end of the day. But if it will move you to the top, you need to go for it.

The Team: Merry and Pippin

Merriadoc Brandybuck and Peregrin Took are overlooked characters in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. They are friends to Frodo and Samwise, but they were not supposed to join the journey of the One Ring. Their paths have crossed with Sam and Frodo and the situation made them form a team. Another interesting fact is that in LotR lore, Merry was aware of the One Ring, way before Frodo and Sam started their journey. Merry saw Bilbo use the ring once and then read Bilbo’s journal to learn more about the ring, But he kept this information to himself, probably thinking that no one would believe him.

In the movies, Merry and Pippin were the ones who took care of Frodo, Samwise and the Ring at the beginning. While Ringwraiths were following them in the woods, Merry and Pippin got them out of a sticky situation. Merry and Pippin was not parted with Frodo along the way, even in the council that formed the Fellowship of the Ring. They even brought down Saruman without help from anyone but Ents, that they convinced that Saruman is hurting their forest.

They have fuckup stories as well, of course. You remember the fire atop Weathertop? Because of their foolishness, Ringwraiths found their place, but thanks to Aragorn, they got out alive. And the reason they got alive was that Aragorn convinced Arwen to help them.

They fought for Frodo till the very end and they did everything they can for Frodo. Did they cause problems? Definitely.

Lesson to learn: Pick guys who believe in you and can give everything they have on your way to success. They don’t need to be superstars at the beginning but have the potential to be one. It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.

Gandalf, the Mentor

Gandalf is the superstar of Middle-Earth. He has a mighty beard, a cool-looking staff. He can talk to butterflies and call-in giant badass eagles. But he has experience that no other mortal can provide, and that’s his main thing in the movies. You would love to have someone like Gandalf in your team.

Rather than taking the Ring for himself, he brings together Sam and Frodo for this opportunity (or burden). He believes that together, they can destroy the Ring, but he is also aware that they will need help along the way. He helps form the Fellowship of the Ring, which can lead the quest to success. Gandalf helps the team of Hobbits meet with “big guys”.

At the end, Sam and Frodo needs to take the journey. Even if they got a lot of help, and certainly would fail without it, they got to Mount Doom by themselves.

Lesson to learn: You need experience on your way to success. A mentor can talk the talk, yet you have to walk the walk.

Lord Elrond, the Investor

After first funding from Lord Elrond.

Lord Elrond is also one of the overlooked characters in Lord of the Rings. He is the Lord of Rivendell, home of the Elves, and he believes in Sam and Frodo. The reason why is that he believes with his investment in them, they can defeat Sauron by destroying the Ring. So he calls his friends (I know, I know. Dwarves) for aid in this quest. As he also wants to destroy Sauron, he gives a shot to the Fellowship of the Ring. He knows it is not easy to defeat Sauron on a battlefield. That’s why he also doesn’t want the ring in Rivendell. He doesn’t want to piss off Sauron (for now).

In the past, he was in a team which reached the top of Mount Doom and was so close to destroying Sauron for good. Yet his team was not up to the task and rather than following his instincts and experience, he let it slip.

Lesson to Learn: An investor can help you meet with right people and those people can guide you to your success. He may have valuable experience and power that you can use on your quest.

The Fellowship of the Ring: Accelerator

Basically the life of an entrepreneur.

We all know that Frodo and Samwise would lose the ring easily to Sauron if the Fellowship wasn’t there. Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, and Boromir are warriors that can help the Hobbits overcome obstacles on their way. They came across Aragorn while he was still known as Strider in Prancing Pony Inn. Even if they were not very keen on joining him, Aragorn helped them stay alive with his experience.

Except for Boromir, they are all selfless guys who just want Middle Earth to be a better place, so they help Sam and Frodo on their quest. Boromir, on the other hand, wants the power for himself. He thinks that the power of One Ring will be much more helpful for his personal goals.

Lesson to Learn: An Accelerator can put your team and your business on the right path. They also work as one of your team and help you reach your goals faster. (I’m talking about Hackquarters, of course. The article is on our blog. Have you really thought that I would not include Hackquarters in some way?)

Sauron and his Entourage: Big Bad Corporation

Sauron is our bad guy in the movie. He created the One Ring in secret and by distributing his other rings to leaders of Middle-Earth, he became the most powerful guy of his time. He just gave the leaders of Men, Elves, and Dwarves the sense of power and made them his slaves. He lost some of his power as he lost the Ring, yet still controls a lot of power from his prime. Sauron wants back the power, so he sends all of his forces against the people of Middle-Earth, hoping to get the One Ring back.

The One Ring is also dependant on Sauron, which is a pretty bad thing on Sam and Frodo’s quest. But they need to resist his power and use it only when they need it the most.

#JusticeForSaruman #GandalfTheTraitor

Sauron sends his lawyers, accountants, marketing and PR guys after Frodo and Sam. Those Ringwraiths also have day jobs. Do you really think that running a place like Mordor is easy? Of course, Sauron has guys like Ringwraiths to do his bidding. Those poor guys followed Arwen to their Doom so that they can use it as a PR campaign against the Elves. Don’t you remember the news after that river incident: “Ringwraith lives matter”. Also, do not forget barbarian Ents destroying Saruman’s R&D center.

Lesson to learn: Disruptive is a word that startups use a lot. Being disruptive helps you make enemies on your way. You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain (What? I love Batman trilogy, too)

Other Characters

Theoden, the Lord that may be of help

Theoden is the Lord of Rohan, who got mindwashed by Saruman to do his bidding. The Fellowship of the Ring (or at least the ones who are left) help him break free of Saruman’s chains. In the end, Theoden helps in the Battle of Minas Tirith, to return the favor for the Fellowship’s help at Helm’s Deep. In the end, he helped them stay alive longer, but if he wasn’t there at Minas Tirith, Aragorn would’ve swept the remaining Sauron forces with Army of the Dead anyway.

Lesson to Learn: Some people may be helpful on your way, but they have their own agenda. Even if they can be of help, they are not necessarily helping you directly. Try to get as much help from them as possible.

Galadriel, the potential Investor

Galadriel is Lady of the Woods. She was a potential investor for the Fellowship as their paths crossed. Galadriel thought about getting the ring for herself, but at the end, she decides that rather than taking it for herself, letting Frodo keep the ring was for the best. She even blessed Frodo with the Light of Eärendil, which helped Sam and Frodo overcome Shelob.

Lesson to Learn: Don’t be shy of meeting people with power. Even if they don’t directly invest to your cause, they may be of help.

Tom Bombadil the “Who?”

Blockchain is…

As a fan of the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy, I’m not very familiar with Tom Bombadil. I’ve read about him, as fans of the books were talking about him a lot. But I agree with Peter Jackson on not including him into the movies. Peter Jackson justified his omission of Bombadil from the film The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring by pointing out that he did little to advance the story, having nothing to do with the Ring storyline, and serving little purpose when it came to getting the hobbits to Rivendell, and putting together the Fellowship.

Tom Bombadil is the “blockchain” of Middle-Earth. Everyone knows about him, they think that he is a crazy but lovable guy. But they don’t know what to do with him.

Lesson to Learn: Don’t include technologies and features to your startup, just because they sound sexy.

Hackquarters invites you to Seedstars MENA Summit

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Seedstars is one of those lovely partners that we love to collaborate with. As you can remember, they held their Seedstars Istanbul event within Take Off Istanbul Startup Summit with us. Our CEO, Kaan Akın, is also a mentor and ambassador to Seedstars.

Our generous friends at Seedstars recently invited us to Beirut, Lebanon for their Seedstars MENA Summit event. They also want our friends, like yourself, to attend the event in Beirut. So, if you happen to be in Beirut, or you can travel there for the event, we would love to provide free entrance to Seedstars MENA Summit. You can email gokhan[at]hackquarters.co for your free passes for the event. And after we send back your “secret code” for the free pass, you can claim it here.

About the Seedstars MENA Summit

The Seedstars MENA Regional Summit, hosted under the Patronage of the Prime Minister’s Office and taking place in Beirut, Lebanon, on November 29, 2018, aims at bridging the gap between ecosystems and connecting regional stakeholders in order to promote and foster entrepreneurship and technology in emerging markets as a way to impact people’s lives. An event with the purpose to shape the future of MENA!

The event marks the end of Seedstars’ tour across 15 vibrant ecosystems in the Middle East and North Africa, and all winners from across the region will be joining us in Beirut!

Seedstars is bringing together active investors, top corporates, digital government actors, tech and business media, and of course, ambitious entrepreneurs from the Middle East, North Africa, Europe, and the US, to share insights and gain key learnings, foster collaboration and investment opportunities, enable valuable connections both regionally and globally, and inspire attendees to believe in the potential of innovation in MENA.

An intensive and exciting program has been tailored for the regional winners and for all attendees, from a bootcamp, mentorship sessions, to a hackathon, leading up to the regional conference. The Summit will end with the conference and will include an investor forum, disruptive panels, networking sessions, engaging workshops, inspirational talks from top entrepreneurs, and pitches from rockstar Seedstars winners.

Hackquarters attended GITEX Future Stars ’18 in Dubai

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As you are all aware, we recently organized the First Official NEM Istanbul Meetup, thanks to our friends in NEM Dubai office. We are currently on the planning phase of our upcoming events with NEM. As our ties grow stronger with NEM community, our friends invited us to Dubai to take part in Gitex Future Stars. We gladly accepted the invitation.

Gitex Future Stars is probably one of the biggest startup related events in the MENA region. There were a few startup competitions and lots of awards to be given to entrepreneurs. Our hall was filled with startups from various different verticals, such as software, space tech, health tech, artificial intelligence, and blockchain. Thanks to NEM, our booth was in blockchain part of GFS (Gitex Future Stars).

Great Opportunity for All Startups who target MENA

Not only startups, but there were a lot of startup accelerator programs, investors were there from various regions such as India, USA, Dubai and more. Entrepreneurs found the chance to arrange meetings with investors within dedicated areas for such meetings. Competitions such as Supernova Challenge also gave startups to pitch their ideas in front of potential investors.

As for Hackquarters, it was a very efficient and fun event. We had the chance to meet new startups and corporations from all around the globe which we hope to collaborate in the coming months. We also had the chance to meet a lot of new people from NEM team and great startups within the NEM blockchain ecosystem.

Familiar Faces in Dubai

It was also great to see some startups from our Take Off Istanbul Startup Summit event in Dubai. As most of you are aware, as Hackquarters, we hosted more than 200 startups from all around the world in Istanbul for our event. We also had the chance to meet some new Turkish corporations and startups that we came across in Dubai.

Taking part in GFS and having our own booth was a great experience, and thanks to our friends at NEM Dubai office, we had the chance to meet a lot of new people from the blockchain industry. Hopefully, we will be attending Gitex again next year. Until then, don’t forget to follow our social media channels for the latest news from the startup scene and Hackquarters.

FINAL CALL: You can Apply for Pioneers program until 10th of October

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We have extended our final application date to 10th of October. You can find application link at the end of the article.

If you’re hearing about Hackquarters Pioneers for the first time; let me explain it briefly. Hackquarters Pioneers is a community which helps young entrepreneurs to build the future they want by learning, experiencing and creating with startups. So till today, we made 40+ events at 14 different locations and we still keep doing it. Our main purpose for creating different types of events at several cities in Turkey is spreading entrepreneurship to very brilliant youngsters. So now, we add new ones to the schedule and I would like to share them with you.

Hacker Meetups

Lately, we started something new for us: Hacker Meetups. First one was at Bahcesehir University. And now we make it as a meetup series. There is going to be 8 meetups in İstanbul and once in other cities with different topics explaining what is product management cycle from hackers view. CTOs and mostly some cool software engineers will be our speakers during these events. All hackers are invited, of course.

Partnerships with Brands

New partnerships are coming and they are all about challenges, hackathons, and ideathons. Google is one of them, we firstly start Build Actions for Your Community series for Google Home & Assistant in İzmir on 20th of October. Next station will be in İstanbul during DevFest at Uniq İstanbul. Please follow Hackquarters Eventbrite account for registration.

Girl Entrepreneurship

Did you know that only 25% of enterprises owned by women in Turkey? Between all those events, this is the most important one for me to work on. Panels with our dearest women entrepreneurs from different backgrounds have been inspiring. Let’s encourage our powerful, intelligent girls to be more involved in the entrepreneurship ecosystem and to create great startups. If you are one of the women entrepreneurs who want to inspire young women, please message me via [email protected]

Online Meetups & Activities

Online meetups are welcomed! We’ll be doing an online meetup with a rockstar entrepreneur very soon. The same concept with offline Pioneers Meetups and also other cool topics will be on the agenda.

Online is cool. That’s why we changed something about our conferences and we recorded online courses with various topics. We mostly will be uploading conferences to our youtube channel and if you ask, we’ll increase that number. For conferences as online; I know some of you couldn’t able to attend our events because there wasn’t one at your city or dates didn’t fit your schedule. Now you don’t have one of these problems because we turned it online.

Our Slack channel is also public. You can join from this link. Omegas are invited too! You can approach them via Slack, ask questions and find proper opportunities for yourself.

We are not a totally closed community to the public, we share anything that can help you to understand entrepreneurship better. And if you want to be involved in the organization process of other activities in your school, you can just contact me via [email protected]

So you are always welcomed to attend and organize any Hackquarters Pioneers events or projects in your city. You can also apply for being a Pioneer. That’s how you can benefit from every opportunity Pioneers presents to you.

We now extend our applications till 10th of October. So hurry up and apply for being a Pioneer!