Seçkin Yelmen, managing director and head of Sabancı Ventures, is one of the 100 leading corporate venturing professionals in our 2024 Powerlist.

GCV Powerlist 2024: Seçkin Yelmen

Seçkin Yelmen took the role of managing director and head of Sabancı Holdings’ corporate venture arm, Sabancı Ventures, in 2022. He also oversees CVC strategy across several investment vehicles of Sabancı Group companies.

“We strive to create a relationship where both parties benefit so that it can be sustainable”

Located in Istanbul, Sabancı Ventures was founded in 2020. The firm has an initial fund size of $30m and invests in mainly pre-series A to series A startups, focusing on climate tech, advanced materials, digitaltech and healthtech. Sabancı Ventures has directly invested in 13 companies including UK-based startups such as voice-based health management platform Albert Health and AI-driven customer engagement platform Segmentify. Total investments under Sabancı Group CVC strategy through a number of investment vehicles has reached $50m in more than 20 companies.

Over the past year, Sabancı Group made nine new CVC investments including five through its main investment vehicle, Sabancı Ventures.

Yelmen says climatetech, as well as commercial applications of generative AI are hot investment themes. “Our strategic priority areas include climate, advanced materials, digital and health technologies. We see gen AI as a revolutionary technology that cuts through all verticals that we explore,” he says.

Yelmen says successful collaborations between a CVC and a portfolio company require a strong and well-balanced relationship.

“We want a synergy and a value creation opportunity between the startup and Sabancı Group companies. Once the plan is figured out, we have regular meetings where we follow up on the progress of commercial collaboration,” he says. “We strive to create a relationship where both parties benefit so that it can be sustainable.”

A seasoned private equity professional, Yelmen started his career as an investment banker. Before joining Sabancı Group, he was CEO of Türkiye Development Fund, followed by a private equity career at ADM Capital.

Powerlist cover

The Global Corporate Venturing Powerlist represents the 100
individuals spearheading the future of the corporate venturing industry.

These individuals excel in terms of their venturing approach and structure, number and quality of portfolio companies and in their contributions to the corporate venturing profession.

See the full 2024 Powerlist here.