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August 28, 2023

Colendi Makes Historic Strides: Türkiye's First Digital Deposit Bank Approved

Türkiye's fintech pioneer transforms into first digital deposit bank, aiming to reach 50 million customers

In a groundbreaking feat for Türkiye's fintech landscape, Colendi has emerged as a vanguard, gaining the coveted nod from the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BRSA) to pioneer the country's maiden digital deposit bank. With a history that intertwines smart acquisitions, strategic partnerships, and an unwavering growth trajectory, Colendi's ascent is rewriting the narrative of accessible and innovative banking.

From the corridors of London's blockchain realm to Türkiye's fintech zenith, Colendi's journey is one of audacity. The acquisition of SETL, the blockchain settlements and payments provider, served as a springboard, propelling Colendi to amass an impressive 18 million customers. As it graced the spotlight as a fintech trailblazer, notable collaborations with industry giants like Migros, Türkiye's leading multi-format grocery retailer, and Turkcell, the nation's largest telecom operator, solidified its stature.

In the wake of regulatory blessings, Colendi's arsenal now comprises a portfolio of licenses spanning e-money, asset management, capital markets, and insurance brokerage. These milestones were etched over the past 24 months, serving as building blocks for the momentous achievement of securing Türkiye's inaugural digital deposit bank.

Founded in 2021, Colendi's meteoric rise is underscored by staggering growth figures. Its payment wing has witnessed a surge of over 40 times, while the credit arm scaled up by more than 10 times. These leaps translate into a remarkable $300 million in financial transactions involving over 1.5 million credit users. In an industry-first feat, Colendi stands as the pioneering brokerage firm enabling Turkish Lira-based trading of international stocks, commodities, precious metals, and local stocks.

Empowered by the coveted banking license, Colendi now gazes upon a horizon of serving 50 million customers across the region. The ability to receive deposits and extend loans from its balance sheet within a secure regulatory cocoon opens avenues for transformative impact.

Bülent Tekmen, CEO and co-founder of Colendi, encapsulates the moment's significance. "We are thrilled to obtain authorization for the establishment of a digital deposit bank, ushering in a new era of accessible banking for our platforms and users," Tekmen asserts, painting a portrait of innovation intertwined with inclusivity.

With backing from esteemed names like Re-Pie Asset Management, StartupFon, Boğaziçi Ventures, Aslanoba Capital, Next Ventures, and Deniz Devrim Cengiz, Colendi's journey is a tale of strategic prowess. A Series A investment round that raised $30 million solidified its standing, catapulting the firm's total disclosed funding to $70.5 million and underpinning a valuation of $750 million.

The story of Colendi is one that transcends numbers—it's about redefining boundaries, breaking molds, and sculpting Türkiye's fintech landscape in a manner that's accessible, innovative, and impactful. As the journey continues, this milestone will resonate far beyond the financial realm, shaping the future contours of Türkiye's digital banking narrative.

Neil Hodgson Coyle
Neil Hodgson-Coyle
Editorial chief at TechNews180
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