Emin Hitay, chairman of Hitay Holdings who is famous with his entrepreneurship and as a contemporary art collector prepares to make a series of energy investments in Indonesia. Hitay who set himself a goal of achieving turnover higher than 1 billion USD in 2016 says “I never have emotional ties with the businesses I found, I can sell all of my businesses.” Hitay who have founded more than 30 companies since he was 22 years old now utilizes the opportunities abroad.
He sold his shares in Iddaa for 80 million USD.
There are Teknoser, the biggest system integration and field services company of Turkey, DORinsight, the biggest online research company of Turkey, Napolyon, the database company, 2Nokta providing service for retail sector, Exim which offers solutions of security technologies, Bilyoner, the leading online sport and bet games platform of Turkey under the roof of Hitay Holdings. Hitay sold Planet for 26 million Euros and sold his 20 percent shares in İddaa to the Greek for 80 million USD..
Who is Emin Hitay?
Emin Hitay grew up in Istanbul. He was graduated from Kabataş Boys’ High School. Hitay who studied in Ege University, Faculty of Business Administration had private sector experience in Silkar Holdings after being employed in Ege University, Institute of Calculus for 3 years as public servant. He decided to become an ‘entrepreneur’ after those experiences. Being interested in textile trade and having performed the business of thread weaving for a while; Hitay transferred from textile sector which he continued to operate till 1988 to the sector of data processing. Emin Hitay realized Exim, his first investment in data processing in 1988 together with his partner and introduced the barcode system to Turkey. Emin Hitay who progresses on the way to become one of the leading enterprise capital companies of Turkey has had more than 30 enterprises. The most famous ones among these have been Planet, İddaa and Bilyoner. Hitay purchased the waterside residence in Bebek, belonging to ship owner Sadıkoğlu Family in 2006 for 20 million USD. Hitay who sold Planet for 26 million Euros made his most striking sale by selling his 20 percent shares in İddaa to the Greek for 80 million USD.
Emin Hitay defines himself as a “serial entrepreneur”. Having been in the business life since he was 22 years old; Hitay has more than 30 enterprises. Emin Hitay who was the first to bring barcode technology to Turkey, who added İddaa in the lives of football fans, who founded the leading system integration and the biggest online research company of Turkey shall make overseas investment as well in the near future. Setting a target turnover of 1 billion USD in 2016 Hitay Investment Holdings prepares to make geothermal investments in Indonesia. We interviewed with Hitay famous with his entrepreneurship and as a contemporary art collector in his waterside residence in Bebek.
* How did you start your business life? You are famous with your enterprises, what were you doing when you were at the bottom of the ladder?
I started to work when I was very young. I studied in Kabataş Boys’ High School in Istanbul, I was an average student. I got into Ege University, Faculty of Business Administration and went to Izmir. Indeed I did not plan to get my university education in Izmir but I did not study much hard in the last year of high school and I intended to take university entrance examination once more. But I could not, my plans failed. My father died suddenly. And I started to study in Izmir and work simultaneously. Route of my life changed when I was 18 years old. I founded my first business when I was 22 years old. Indeed I have 4-year experience in the public sector as well.
* What was your first job?
I lived with my aunt while I studied. My aunt always talked about failure of waters to reach upper floors. While I was researching the issue I suddenly found myself selling air pressure tanks. I had found a job… Computer was not in our lives at that period but while I was studying I was more interested in the sector of the future and Ege University, Institute of Calculus did not have a department of computer engineering; I started to work there as system operator. I became a public servant. I continued with my education at the same time. I was very successful in the university. I decided to turn back to Istanbul. Meanwhile I worked in Silkar Group for one year. Later I decided to be self employed.
I DID NOT HAVE MONEY TO FOUND A COMPANY
* Which company did you found for the first time?
I did not found a company, I had no money. My father worked in the textile market. I was acquainted with those businesses as well. I went to Sultanhamam, there I purchased thread from merchants and had the same woven. I was trading. Later I passed to production. I was working continuously in strict discipline with few means. I performed different works in textile. I worked as thread wholesales person. Works went well for a long time in the textile sector. I had one thing in my mind since my university period; that was technology. We founded Exim with my partner in 1988 while textile continued as well. I was very interested in data processing sector. I researched continuously. The systems we brought were all the first ones in Turkey. It responded requirements of big companies. But one learns through his mistakes.
HOLDING’S BUILDING AND HIS HOUSE ARE LIKE A MUSEUM
Emin Hitay was graduated from Kabataş Boys’ High School and Ege University, Faculty of Business Administration. Emin Hitay who is a member of Endeavor and TÜSİAD has a big contemporary art collection. Hitay who has collected works for approximately 20 years lives in Sadıkoğlu Waterside Residence in Bebek. Hitay’s holding building in Maslak and house are like a museum!
* How many enterprises did you have as a total?
More than 30…
* How many of them were successful?
I cannot say many. Some of the enterprises become waste. Some of them go averagely. I never have emotional ties. I can sell any of my enterprises. I always seek what is absent, what is needed and what we can do differently. For instance we put modern POS in practice in Turkey. Before that, we dealt with POS operated with wired lines as well…
* Everybody heard about you with İddaa…
Yes, because it was a successful business. Planet was a very good business as well. I had many mistakes too. I always recommend to look through how much money is invested and how much effort is spent rather than percentage of success. Where were you in 2000 and where are you today? You should look through this. The number of companies founded does not indicate that you are a good entrepreneur. I was not disappointed when the companies failed to receive good results. Persistence is significant for all businesses. I always had several businesses. I never keep all eggs in the same basket. You should not even invest in the same country.
* Do you have any enterprise abroad?
I do. I have been dealing with a business for 5 years. I went to Indonesia in 2006 with DEİK committee. We were together with Mehmet Ali Şahin. There were 60 individuals from the business world. I went to China from there. I received a proposal in that travel and became Honorary Consulate General of Indonesia. In 2013 they founded a consulate in Istanbul and I became Honorary Consulate General of Antalya. I researched business opportunities when I frequently traveled to Indonesia. Geothermal sources are very good and 5 percent of those sources are utilized. Their regulations were not sufficient. The country offers serious opportunities. I started to deal with this business in 2010. I have been going there 7-8 times a year since early 2011. I started to develop business and as a result I founded Hitay Energy company in Singapore. I founded 12 companies in Indonesia. We will start geothermal energy investments. Each license requires one company there. We received preliminary license for 9 businesses, we will select 3 of them and continue. Prices are expected to be clarified in August. American companies and state companies are highly interested in this issue there.
* 2016 shall be a hard time in Turkey and in the world. Aren’t you anxious, deliberate?
You should head towards correct fields of business. I anticipate growing in 2016. The issues which make all anxious are evident but you should never stop. Turnover of our company shall be higher than 1 billion 100 million liras in 2016. We targeted at this.
Prescription of the crisis is persisting and resisting
What kind of mistakes did you make?
Many. I think the significant point is being able to stand up after falling down. 1994-1995 were hard times. When 5th April decisions were taken, I was caught by that period as a foreign exchange debtor. I could not recover for 3-4 years in that period. This was a very good lesson for me. I was not affected by 2001 crisis. However those years were very hard as I told.
You have a crisis prescription…
I have; persisting and resisting… Never giving up… It is not correct to retire into one’s shell in the crisis; one should be alert, research and see the opportunities all the time. I founded Teknoser since I saw the opportunities. Today Teknoser is the leading company in its field. We operate in 68 provinces.
Target in Milli Piyango is minority shareholding
* You were interested in the privatization tender of Milli Piyango Administration. The tender shall be lodged once more. Will you participate again?
We are interested in Milli Piyango tender. It shall be lodged on 5th August. This will be the 3rd tender. There were 2 bids in the tender lodged in 2014. I was 10 percent partner to the first group, our partners failed to make the payment, the bond was wasted. The other group failed as well. It shall be lodged once more now. The exchange rate of that date was 2 liras and 12 kurush. Today it is approximately 2.96. Now the money you earn is in liras, when you proportionate between 2.12-2.97 the situation differs. Looking through Milli Piyango turnover of 2015, we observe that it has increased by 4 percent on TL basis. There are different figures now but calculations show that it decreased down to a figure lower than 2 billion. You want USD but earn liras. In the end it is lodged for the third time, the next tender should be successful. It is assignment of royalty for 10 years, this is leasing. It shall be assigned back to the state 10 years later. I want to be minority shareholder in Milli Piyango. We have negotiations as well.