- Tech Insights
• Individual past experience and success
First Drop Ventures is an early-stage venture studio that provides strategic guidance, operational support, technology infrastructure, and pre-seed capital. All of the partners of First Drop Ventures come from an entrepreneurial background. Esra Pelitozu has over 20 years of experience focused on strategy, finance, and international development. She held several positions in the corporate world, in international development, and in her entrepreneurial businesses. Her business partner, John Yanyali, has been an entrepreneur who jumped into the business world by investing in the agriculture, education, construction, and technology industries. He then expanded into the Smart Industry, with a focus on the energy, finance, infrastructure, transportation, and security industries. Her other partner, Emin Yilmaz has founded and been running a leading fintech company and has been an investor in other fintech startups.
“Our mission is to provide the fundamental resources to startups whether its capital, know-how or network connections to grow with the startups FROM THE FIRST DROP ON.”
Over the years, the partners developed a very knowledgeable and comprehensive technical team and a network of valuable professionals, with whom they enjoy working together. So, they formed an advisory team of 16 professionals from various backgrounds who provide strategic and industry-specific guidance to portfolio companies.
• Companies past experience and success
First Drop Ventures is a new venture studio that established its roots in Santa Monica, CA. The company focuses on funding and guiding founders to establish their corporate structure, key team, business model, and operations. The venture studio assists in developing a prototype product and getting the first customers as well as preparing founders to raise the next round of capital. In a very short amount of time, First Drop Ventures added three fintech companies, one ed-tech, and one smart-city startup to their portfolio. The partners’ earlier involvements in Juicebot and Smart Teller are testaments to the company's expertise in startup development. JuiceBot is the first robotic self-service vending machine that dispenses fresh cold-pressed juices founded with the mission to eliminate plastic packaging and transform the distribution system for beverages. Since then the food-tech company has turned the idea into a product, became post-revenue, and raised over $4 million in funding. Smart Teller was another self-service kiosk offering a wide range of government services such as identity cards, drivers' licenses, residence permit card issuing, verification, and renewal. The startup gained the support of the UAE's Smart Government initiative and grew its presence in over 100 locations.
• About companies and individuals visionary thoughts & mission
A passion the partners share that brought them together is their core values as individuals. They agree that businesses need to concentrate on more than just profitability and instead think about diversity and sustainability. The partners' drive to put the planet and people before profits motivate them to find new startups that can help change the world. First Drop Ventures believes that startups have a higher chance of success if they can take as many guided steps as possible from the beginning. The venture studios' mission is to provide the core resources to startups including the capital, know-how, or network connections to grow the startups FROM THE FIRST DROP ON. First Drop Ventures firmly believes that to be successful, the next generation of companies must be ethical, environmentally responsible, and committed to human development from the very start. The company's startup selection criteria are guided by the United Nation's Sustainability Goals. The startups who contribute to at least three of these goals have a higher chance of acceptance to the venture studio's portfolio.
• Advice to the future leaders who want to make it big in the market
Founders tend to have idealistic goals, which can be great in driving innovation, but it is important to remember that companies also need to be realistic and consider market dynamics. Startups should set up a model that not only relies on investment but also takes into account profitability and scalability.
• Kindly elaborate on any upcoming projects/plan benefit your customers
First Drop Ventures believes that focusing on its areas of expertise will lead to a better partnership and a higher rate of success with its founders. Thus it focuses increasingly on innovative technology solutions. One of the portfolio companies the venture studio is very excited about is Globy, a comprehensive fintech platform enabling direct carrier billing where end-users can pay for services and subscriptions via their mobile phone bills. Globy is aimed at serving both underbanked and unbankable customers while offering merchants another payment alternative. The venture studio also recently added Bebbing, an ed-tech startup, to their portfolio. Bebbing is an online language school aiming to teach new languages while adding the social aspect of speaking a language and First Drop Ventures is excited to grow the startup’s presence internationally.
• An approach that has transformed the way organizations progress?
First Drop Ventures believe in sharing their expertise, as well as technical and operational resources through a hands-on approach from the earliest stages to remove barriers and risks for startups and to allow them to set a strong foundation for success. The company sees an opportunity at idea-stage funding and pre-market fit and positioned itself as both an investor and a strategic partner. The team identifies the product-market fit early on and dedicate necessary resources such as funding, key players, and experience to capitalize on it. IE
Co-Founder & Managing Partner of First Drop Ventures
First Drop Ventures is an early-stage venture studio based in Santa Monica, CA providing strategic guidance and operational support, technology infrastructure and development, and pre-seed capital.