Basak Taspinar Degim
Co-Founder of Armut

© Erdem Erol

Q: What drives you crazy?

A: Prejudice. People should be treated as equals and acknowledged for their actions and not only be seen as Adams and Eves of the world.

Don’t wait around for the pear to ripen

After eight years in the US, my husband and I decided to move back to Turkey and raise our son closer to the rest of our family. We arrived in Istanbul on a snowy Sunday, and that was the start of our challenging relocation story. Finding a mover and a painter was such a negative experience and I thought there should be an easier way to connect with them online. People I initially spoke with rejected the idea, saying it wouldn’t work in Turkey.

I was offered another great position and put my idea on hold for awhile, until our son got sick and spent two nights at the hospital. It was the wake up call for me that life is too short to postpone a dream. Once we came back home, I told my husband, “I’m quitting tomorrow to pursue this idea.” He said, “Okay, goodnight.” And to everyone’s surprise, I resigned from my job the next morning. It was a choice between regretting not trying and confronting a risk of failure. I certainly made the right choice and haven’t looked back since.

Armut means ‘pear’ and comes from an old Turkish saying about lazy people waiting for something to happen: ‘Hey pear, get ripe and fall into my mouth!’ Our mission is to use technology to make it easy to find local service providers online.

Basak Taspinar Degim, 37, studied civil engineering at Bogazici University, got her MBA from Koc, and earned an MSIMC from Loyola University, Chicago. After a brand management career mostly in the United States with Revlon, Nielsen, and Coca Cola, she quit her corporate career to found in 2011. It is now the leading local services marketplace in Turkey, with over 1.2 million monthly visitors and a customer satisfaction rate of 98%.

This article was published in ‘the Hundert Vol. 8 – Female Startup Founders Europe’, May 2016.