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From the Stanford of Turkey to Global Tech Dreams

Osman Koc's journey from a small district in Turkey to becoming a global tech entrepreneur illustrates his unwavering determination and innovative spirit in overcoming challenges and seizing opportunities in the tech world.

Osman Koc's rise from a modest upbringing in Denizli, Turkey, to founding UserGuiding, a thriving tech company, is a story of relentless ambition and strategic navigation through the tech world's ups and downs.

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Foundation of a Tech Visionary

Born in a small Turkish district with no prior family involvement in tech, Osman's journey seemed unlikely to lead to Silicon Valley. His educational path, however, set him on a different trajectory. Attending Boğaziçi University, a prestigious institution known as the "Stanford of Turkey," Osman's exposure to technology and entrepreneurship began to take shape. It was here that he encountered stories of successful alumni and global business leaders, sparking his interest in tech and setting the stage for his future endeavors.

Osman Graduating from High School

Building Through Failure

Osman's professional turning point came during his final year at university, where a project required him to build a business from scratch. This experience was so influential that it landed him a job that sent him to Silicon Valley for further education and networking. Upon returning, fueled by inspiration and practical insights, Osman and his co-founder Muhammet faced several failed ventures before realizing the necessity of complete dedication to their entrepreneurial dreams. This realization led them to establish UserGuiding, a company focused on simplifying product adoption for B2B SaaS companies—a niche they identified as crucial and underserved.

Osman working alone at his desk

Challenges and Persistence

Starting a tech business outside the major global hubs came with its set of challenges, particularly in Turkey where fundraising was notoriously difficult. Despite these obstacles and moments of doubt—where the closure of their business seemed imminent—Osman and Muhammet persisted. Their commitment to the vision of UserGuiding carried them through, turning potential failures into lessons and eventually success. With only minimal seed funding, they have leveraged the local talent pool and continue to focus on building a solid product that addresses a genuine market need.

Moving to London

Recently, Osman relocated to London after securing a global talent visa, marking a new phase of personal growth and business expansion. This move is driven by his desire to better understand and integrate into the UK's tech ecosystem, which he views as pivotal for taking UserGuiding to the next level. Osman's story is a testament to the power of global ambition combined with local resources, and he continues to seek out opportunities for learning and collaboration in the dynamic tech landscape.

Osman walking in London

A Continuous Journey of Growth

Osman Koc's entrepreneurial path teaches that with enough resilience, even those from the most humble beginnings can reach global tech success. His ongoing journey underscores the importance of adaptability, lifelong learning, and the invaluable support of a strong network.

Osman's story isn't just about building a successful business—it's about inspiring others to pursue their dreams regardless of their origins, using every setback as a stepping stone towards greater achievements.

00:00:00:02 - 00:00:21:17

Osman Koc

You should understand when you fail. For example, in UserGuiding story be said almost five times. Okay, it's the end of the game. Game is over. We are all done with this business.

00:00:21:19 - 00:00:47:19

Osman Koc

My name is Osman. I'm 31 years old. I was born in a very small district of Denizli in Turkey. I am the co-founder and CEO of UserGuiding. I was born and raised in a very small place. I started my education in Konya. I graduated from one of Turkey's top science high school and one of its best universities.

00:00:47:22 - 00:01:00:10

Osman Koc

And, yeah, I had no idea about global businesses, and nobody in my family had worked in tech before.

00:01:00:12 - 00:01:12:05

Osman Koc

I love trying new stuff. I love seeing new places, meeting new people, listening to their stories, telling my story to new people. I love that.

00:01:12:07 - 00:01:24:05

Alex Theuma

And I'm delighted to be joined today by Osman Koc, the CEO, and co-founder of UserGuiding. I fondly remember smoking some honey flavored cigars with you.

00:01:24:06 - 00:01:30:04

Osman Koc

Yes. We we did.

00:01:30:06 - 00:02:00:14

Osman Koc

I had no idea about tech businesses, global businesses until I went to Boğaziçi University. Boğaziçi University is one of Turkey's top universities, and it is known for producing the most number of Entrepreneurs in Turkey, if you can call it Stanford of Turkey. When I got my first classes in Boğaziçi University, my interest in tech businesses increased a lot.

00:02:00:16 - 00:02:32:17

Osman Koc

There were a lot of alumni gatherings, and in these meetings I can I could find chances to meet some very successful entrepreneurs, global executives running very, very successful businesses. And these stories I heard from these alumni really inspired me. In my final year in university, there was a Bachelor of Arts degree project. We were trying to build a real business from scratch in five months.

00:02:32:19 - 00:03:02:14

Osman Koc

I couldn't emphasize how much I enjoy it. From day one, I found my first full time job due to my contributions and interest in this project. This company sent me to Stanford University and Silicon Valley to get some classes to meet some local investors there. After this, Silicon Valley travel being an entrepreneur was only choice I have had.

00:03:02:16 - 00:03:06:12

Osman Koc

How did UserGuiding begin to kind of evolve into the landscape?

00:03:06:12 - 00:03:28:03

Osman Koc

Yeah, actually, UserGuiding is our second company. Before UserGuiding, Muhammet and I, my business co-founder, tried a few business, but they all failed quickly and we noticed that until we. Unless we devoted ourselves completely, yeah, we wouldn't succeed as entrepreneurs.

00:03:28:05 - 00:04:01:09

Osman Koc

So we left our jobs to start our own company. We founded a startup studio called YNOT Partners. We helped almost ten entrepreneurs to build their first products, and we also helped them to acquire their first customers. Onboarding and product adoption was one of the biggest challenges in in this process, but honestly, we were not aware how big problem was until we went to San Francisco.

00:04:01:11 - 00:04:53:24

Osman Koc

We noticed that almost every product company is having similar issues, is having similar challenges of its product adoption. Then we decided to build that affordable, accessible product adoption company for for B2B SaaS companies. In user guiding story. We we said almost five times okay it's the end of the game the game is over. Yeah we we are all done with this business but whenever I and Muhammet lost some motivation, the other guy convinced the other one they're the only small challenges they had on the small obstacles you are feeling.

00:04:53:24 - 00:05:34:01

Osman Koc

And these obstacles, this, this mess, these problems are the natural part of your journey actually. That's why I always suggest our our early stage founders our first time entrepreneurs to stick in the game. I think Turkey's a great country to hire, so we get some support from advisors, but it has its own challenges. Fundraising is very hard in Turkey and yeah, it is the biggest challenge that we were having in our early stage days.

00:05:34:03 - 00:06:03:13

Osman Koc

But if you are in Turkey and if you are serving globally, I think Turkey is a great country because the talent pool is unlimited. Actually, there are many great universities in Turkey to educate the education languages. English, and yeah, you can find very accessible and affordable talent from these universities.

00:06:03:15 - 00:06:30:22

Osman Koc

I stayed in the United States for almost two years, but there is 11 hour time difference between Turkey and United States. And yeah, living in Europe and United States was one of my dreams because I love travel and but this time difference becoming very hard. UK was one of the my top choices and I got my global talent visa three months ago.

00:06:30:23 - 00:06:59:08

Osman Koc

And yeah, I recently moved to London. Having had to work day and night to achieve this goal? I am also very excited to meet new investors, to meet new founders that can I can listen to their stories. I think it will be very helpful for for me to understand the UK’s tech ecosystem and how we can accelerate UserGuiding. UserGuiding Grow.

00:06:59:10 - 00:07:24:00

Osman Koc

It is it is not possible to succeed alone. You need great co-founders. You need great people in your team. You need to great investors you need great clients, you need great partners, and to find these people you should try a lot. Actually, we never hesitate to work with anybody if somebody works with UserGuiding, Yeah, let’s let's try.

00:07:24:00 - 00:07:30:18

Osman Koc

Actually, that's how we can how we can work together. Let’s let's look at what we can accomplish together.