Murat Aktihanoglu is a New York-based venture capitalist who significantly contributed to building New York as the hub of startups like today’s Silicon Valley. Coming from program engineering background, Aktihanoglu has participated in multiple projects from Fortune 500 companies, such as AT&T, Sony, Panasonic and Logitech and wrote a book on location-aware applications. In addition, he successfully launched a number of startups such as Centrl, a location-aware social platform. Currently, Aktihanoglu focuses on leading Entrepreneurs Roundtable with other NY-based venture capitalists.
Entrepreneurs Roundtable is a monthly meeting of entrepreneurs, investors and venture capitalists that holds startup pitching to investors and mentoring sessions. After spending 2 years in Japan in 2003 for Sony Playstation related project, he returned to New York to meet up with other NY-based entrepreneurs. At that point, the startup environment in New York was not as active compared to those in Boston or Silicon Valley. But, as entrepreneurs in NY continued to casually meet up, more and more people joined the meetings. Although the meeting was not an official organization yet, an idea of startup pitch deck was brought up seeing that numerous influential figures also joined the meeting.
Although the meeting was more of a casual social gathering rather than an official event, first few startup pitch decks with investors and mentoring session with senior entrepreneurs received very positive feedbacks. Consequently, Entrepreneurs Roundtable (ER) was formed to host official startup events.
As ER’s managing director, Aktihanoglu then began to vitalize New York’s startup environment. Since then, New York has been developed as one of the largest startup hubs like Silicon Valley in the last few years. Considering that New York was already the heart of U.S. economy with Wall Street, NY-based startups continue to grow at a fast pace. Undoubtedly, ER and related individuals’ influence drove such growth. Beginning with New York’s grand success, he is expanding geographic coverage by hosting startup events in other cities around the world with growth potential, such as Turkey, South Korea, Japan and Norway.
Having once said in an interview that starting new business suits him better than managing a business, Aktihanoglu actively goes out of his way to help build successful startups in many different ways. For instance, his blog, muratak.com, is filled with useful information for those who are interested in starting IT-related business. From giving pitch know-hows to sharing first-hand experience on hosting local startup events, Aktihanoglu actively pursues his passion and support for startups as a seasoned entrepreneur.
Thanks to Yong Hyun for the original article