Baybars Altuntaş

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Baybars Altuntaş
Baybars Altuntaş.jpg
Born (1969-10-27) October 27, 1969 (age 50)
Istanbul, Turkey
Alma materBoğaziçi University
OrganizationDeulcom International

Baybars Altuntaş (born October 27, 1969) is a Turkish entrepreneur, angel investor, speaker and author based in Istanbul. He founded Deulcom International,[1] a vocational training school in Turkey in 1992 and currently serves as the president of the executive committee of the company. He has been a Dragon on Dragons' Den in Turkey,[2]. He is currently a jury member on the new Turkish entrepreneurship program Do You Have a Business Idea?,[3] and is the current host of the Turkish version of The Weakest Link, En Zayıf Halka[4]

In 2011, he wrote Off the Bus, Into a BMW (Otobüsten İndim BMW'ye Bindim), the story of his life and his rise to success in the business world.[5] The book has been reprinted 24 times in Turkey. It was translated into Albanian in 2012[6] and translated into English in 2014.[7] He was recognized by EBAN - The European Trade Association of Business Angels as the 2013’s Best Individual in Europe Globally Engaging with Entrepreneurial Ecosystem.[8]

Early life and education[edit]

Altuntaş was born in Istanbul, Turkey on October 27, 1970 to Engin Altuntaş, a career army officer, and school teacher Meral Altuntaş. He lived with his grandparents in Edirne for the first few years of his life and moved to Istanbul to live with his parents when his younger brother was born. For the first five years of elementary school, Baybars’ class teacher was his mother. Because of her reputation as a good teacher, the principal would give her the best classes and the best students. As the teacher’s son, Baybars was expected to set the bar for his classmates. He was expected to work harder and perform at a higher level than the other students so that he could get into a good high school.

His strongest subject was math. In his second year of high school he was assigned a project that was well beyond the standard curriculum: displaying quadratic equations with two unknowns on the coordinate axis. The teacher was so impressed with the finished project that he personally delivered it to the prestigious Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK).

During his high school years he worked part-time at a carpet shop, earning a bonus on every carpet he sold, and he also sold postcards to tourists to earn spending money.[9] Immediately after graduation, he started working as an office clerk in a travel agency. Not long after starting that job, he won admission to the prestigious university in Turkey, Boğaziçi University. As a university student, he worked part-time at a travel agency that organized tours for children, and on the weekends he gave private lessons in math, German and English He graduated with a degree in English Language Teaching in 1997[10] by which time he had already founded a highly successful company, gotten married and had a year-old daughter, Alara, who he brought to his graduation ceremony.

His life story was featured on TRT – Turkish Radio and Television Broadcast, Bloomberg HT[11] in Turkey and RTV Klan TV in Albania.[12]


Altuntaş currently serves as the president of Links Angel BAN Business Angels Network,[13] an organization he founded in 2012. He is also the founder and currently CEO of the Links Angel BAN Partners,[14] a consulting chain for SMEs in Turkey. He is the Vice President of EBAN (The European Trade Association for Early Stage Market Players and Business Angels) in Brussels.[15] He is the Chairman of EBAN Institute.[16] He is the Coordinator of European Business Angels Week (EBAW).[17] He is the Ambassador of the World Entrepreneurship Forum to Turkey and the Balkan Countries.[18] He is a sought-after speaker on entrepreneurship and has represented Turkey in many international forums, including the Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship at the White House in Washington, DC in 2010. Among the 150 delegates, Altuntaş was the only one to have a private meeting with President Obama.[19] He was subsequently interviewed by CNN International.[20]


In 1992, while Altuntaş was a university student, he invested $400 to launch Deulcom International, the first private vocational training institution in Turkey. Only nine months after the foundation of the company, the institution had three branches and 4000 graduates from his courses for travel agency staff. With the money earned from Deulcom, he purchased a BMW, which later inspired the title of his first book Off the Bus, Into a BMW. Altuntaş is now the President of the Deulcom Executive Committee and his wife is the CEO of Deulcom International. Deulcom offers 4 different business models: Deulcom International, Deulcom Institute, Deulcom Kids, Deulcom Abroad.

Links Angel BAN[22][edit]

Altuntaş is the president of Links Angel BAN, a business angel network founded to invest in start-ups. Among the founders is Aktifbank, one of the few banks in the world to invest in early stage start-ups. Links Angel BAN members are some of the best-known business angels in Turkey and Europe. Once a month they come together to listen to the pitchings of entrepreneurs at the Aktifbank headquarters. Altuntaş makes personal angel investments on the Links Angel BAN platform.

Links Angel BAN partners[23][edit]

Altuntaş is the Founder and Executive Committee Chairman of Links Angel BAN partners, the largest consulting chain in Turkey for entrepreneurs and companies at all stages, from start-up to growth and maturity.

Angel Investor[edit]

Altuntaş is a serial entrepreneur and angel investor, making his own personal investments on two platforms: Dragons’ Den and Links Angel BAN. He is a Certified Angel Investor by the Treasury Department of the Turkish Government.


In 2010, Altuntaş joined the panel of Dragons’ Den judges, making him a celebrity throughout Turkey and the neighboring countries.[24] Since Bloomberg HT broadcasts Dragons’ Den in numerous countries with significant numbers of Turkish speakers (Germany, Austria, France, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Greece, Bulgaria, Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Tunisia, Egypt), he also became a celebrity in those countries.

Writing and publishing[edit]


After his appearance on Dragons’ Den, publishing houses started calling him with proposals for his autobiography. His first book was Off the Bus, Into a BMW,[25] which, after the first year, was translated into Albanian[26] and became a bestseller in Albania. His second book was The God Particle in Success.[27] He is also a co-author of Planet Entrepreneur, published by Wiley in the US.[28] The global version of the Off the Bus, Into a BMW in English is published by Balboa Publications.[29]


Altuntaş writes on entrepreneurship for the Para Dergisi,[30] a weekly economy magazine in Turkey. He has also contributed to Migrant Woman[31] and Middle East Business Magazine & News.[32]

Social responsibility activities[edit]

Ambassador of the World Entrepreneurship Forum, France[33][edit]

Founded cooperatively by the EMLYON Business School, KPMG France, the Singaporean institutions ACE and Nanyang Technological University, two French institutions, the City of Lyon and the Lyon Chamber of Commerce and Zhejiang University in China, the World Entrepreneurship Forum is the first global think tank dedicated to entrepreneurs, creators of wealth and social justice. Since 2008, 350 members from 76 countries have met to tackle the world’s most pressing issues with entrepreneurial solutions. In these times of economic crises throughout much of the world, and when existing models have shown their limitations, entrepreneurship has emerged as a genuine solution, helping boost recovery. Selected for their entrepreneurial achievements and their commitment to society in their own country, the membership of the Forum comprises 80% entrepreneurs (business or social entrepreneurs) and 20% policymakers, experts and academics. This community of entrepreneurs from five continents is a unique concept and a showcase for entrepreneurial solutions to the great challenges of our times. Altuntaş is the Ambassador of the World Entrepreneurship Forum to Turkey and the Balkan countries.[34][35]

Vice President of the European Business Angels Network (EBAN), Belgium[36][edit]

EBAN, based in Brussels, is the pan-European representative for the early-stage investor community, gathering over 100 member organizations from 28 countries and representing over 20 thousand business angels in Europe. Founded by the European Union and the Association of Regional Development Agencies (EURADA), members include the federations of business angel networks, early stage venture capital funds, business angels, and other market stakeholders. Altuntaş is the vice president of EBAN[37] as well as the Chairman of the EBAN Institute. He is also the coordinator of the European Business Angels Week (EBAW).

President of the Business Angels Association of (TBAA), Turkey[38][edit]

Baybars Altuntaş is the President of the Business Angels Association of Turkey (TBAA), whose aim is to ease the way for entrepreneurs planning start-ups to access both domestic and international financial sources. The TBAA represents Turkey at the World Business Angels Association[39] in the UK

Board Member of the World Business Angels Association (WBAA), UK[40][edit]

The World Business Angels Association was founded by 12 leaders of federations of business angel networks around the world. The aim was to create the first international community of business angel networks and leaders for the promotion of innovation and entrepreneurship by financing high growth companies with the support of business angels worldwide. This initiative was put forward by representatives of business angel networks across the world who attended the Business Angels Leaders Forum in Estoril, Portugal on October 10, 2007. The initial meeting took place under the auspices of the EU Portuguese Presidency, and was co-organized by the Portuguese Business Angels Federation (FNABA), the European Business Angels Network (EBAN) and the US-based Angel Capital Association (ACA). This event represented a turning point for the development of the business angel community, since it laid the ground for the current World Business Angel Association (WBAA), which officially started its activities in 2009. Baybars Altuntaş represents Turkey on the Board of the WBAA.[41]

Coordinator of the European Business Angels Week (EBAW), Belgium[42][edit]

EBAN is organizing the European Business Angels Week which will feature angel and early stage investment related events from all across Europe. EBAN members and other partner organizations, during the week of 18th to 24 November every year, run angel investing related awareness events to increase global knowledge about the role and relevance of business angels in the promotion of growth. A great focus lays in the identification of a new generation of angel investors either emerging from successful business executives or by conversion from successful founding entrepreneurs. Altuntaş is the Coordinator of the European Business Angels Week.

Chairman of the EBAN Institute, Belgium[43][edit]

Set up by EBAN at the end of 2010, the EBAN Institute aims to professionalize and establish a standard level for the operations of the early stage sector actors. The objective of the EBAN Institute is to build the capacity of intermediaries currently working in the early stage investing asset class and therefore to improve performance including the quality of services near investors and entrepreneurs.

The EBAN Institute delivers short workshops usually taking place during EBAN’s annual events and which approach different topics. Recently, EBAN has provided trainings on Investment Readiness, BAN Management, Early Stage Fund management, Co-Investment Funds, Impact Investment, Deal terms, Digital Media Sector. Altuntaş is the Chairman of the EBAN Institute.

Charitable activities[edit]


Every year Baybars Altuntaş selects 20 students from 20 different universities worldwide as apprentices. Participation is free of charge. Altuntaş assigns tasks whose main goal is to lead the apprentice to make money using the idle capacity of Altuntaş. He teaches his students how to convert the idle capacity into cash not only in theory, but in actual practice. At the end of the year the apprentice who generates the most profit is awarded an internship in one of the Baybars Altuntaş companies.

Conferences for University Students[edit]

Baybars Altuntaş is a role model for university students in that his fortune stems from the entrepreneurial activities he conducted while studying at university. At this point, over 50 thousand students have attended his conferences on entrepreneurship at more than one hundred universities, all free of charge in Germany,[44] Albania,[45][46][47] Cyprus[48][49][50] and Turkey[51][52][53][54][55][56][57][58][59]

Entrepreneurship Ambassador Program[edit]

Baybars Altuntaş has a global program to foster the entrepreneurship eco-systems of individual countries. He appoints Baybars Altuntaş Ambassadors of Entrepreneurship to various countries throughout the world. The main objective of this ambassadorship program is to foster the entrepreneurship eco-system to create jobs, wealth, and stronger economies, with know-how transfer from Altuntaş to the appointed Ambassador. The first Baybars Altuntaş Ambassador of Entrepreneurship, Edmond Qenani, was appointed to Albania. The second one was Panda Wan to China. Ambassadors are appointed for a maximum of two years. Ambassadors are expected to set up Baybars Altuntas Think Tank Clubs For Future Entrepreneurship in their countries.


Apprenticeship Program[edit]

While the apprenticeship program is offered free of charge to university students, a paid apprenticeship program is available to university graduates who are already running their own businesses. These apprentices have an opportunity to attend board meetings, conferences, and other events with Altuntaş. To address demand issues, the fee was increased by 50% to $15,000 for the second cohort, the number of apprentices was decreased to three, down from five, and the duration was reduced to three months instead of the original six .

While Altuntaş has taken some criticism about the steep fees and also for inviting his apprentices to accompany him everywhere he goes, including TV studios and formal meetings, the program remains popular, with over 1000 applications per session, and the apprentices who complete the program praise the program for the benefits it offers.

Coffee Break, Dinner, and Lunch with Entrepreneurs[edit]

Twice a year Altuntaş listens to and answers questions of entrepreneurs who want to expand their business. He charges $1000 for a 60-minute lunch, $2000 for a two-hour dinner, and $250 for a 30-minute coffee break. Entrepreneurs ask their questions face-to-face in a 5-star hotel.

He disagrees with those who criticize charging for these events. He maintains that without a high fee for such consulting events, it would be impossible to accommodate the thousands of applications he would receive.

Dragons' Den Investments[edit]

Altuntaş was often criticized for the size of the share he asked in making deals with entrepreneurs in the Dragons' Den. He normally required 60% of the company.

His position was that he had developed a unique motivational system for entrepreneurs. He did not negotiate with them based on proposed sales and profit targets. If he agreed with their propositions and if the entrepreneurs were able to reach their goals in the first year, he returned 10% of the shares to the entrepreneur without charge. He repeated this every year until his own share was reduced to 20%. If the entrepreneur failed to reach the agreed goal or if it was clear that the business was not going well, he retained the 60% so as to help absorb the loss. He did not want the struggling entrepreneur to be further burdened with the majority of the loss. This system supported the entrepreneur in case the business failed, and at the same time it motivated entrepreneurs to achieve their goals.


  • 2014 Best individual in Europe Globally Engaging the Early Stage Investment within the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem, Belgium:[60]
  • 2010 The Businessman of the Year, Ekovitrin, Turkey:[61]
  • 2010 The Businessman of the Year, Girne American University, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus:[62]

Jury memberships[edit]

Baybars Altuntaş is a regular jury member for the European Business Awards,[63] one of the most important awarding bodies of Europe. Judges are invited to participate in the European Business Awards based on their experience, business acumen and expertise. Each panel includes different nationalities and the judges are well-versed in the cultural aspects of each of the finalists’ countries. The judges are fully independent and receive no personal or financial benefit from their participation, other than first-hand experience of finalists’ success stories and the opportunity to influence, encourage and promote the highest standards of business.

Besides the European Business Awards, he was the jury member of entrepreneurship competitions,[64][65][66] global venture events,[67][68][69] and university students’ business plan competitions.[70][71]


  • Off the Bus to BMW (Otobüsten İndim BMW'ye Bindim) (2011) ISBN 9786054607662
  • Basarida Tanri Parcacigi (2012) ISBN 978-6054607655
  • Planet Entrepreneur: The World Entrepreneurship Forum's Guide to Business Success Around the World chapter titled Hello Entrepreneurs, Goodbye Borders[72] (2013) ISBN 978-1118789520


  1. ^
  2. ^ Dragons’ Den Turkey Archived 2016-12-02 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Do You Have a Business Idea TV Show
  4. ^ En Zayıf Halka 19. bölüm (14/11/2015) - Baybars Altuntaş Ile En Zayıf Halka.
  5. ^ His book Off the Bus! Into a BMW! Turkish version
  6. ^ His book Off the Bus! Into a BMW! Albanian version
  7. ^ His book Off the Bus! Into a Supercar! English and global version
  8. ^ EBAN Awards "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-02-20. Retrieved 2014-03-04.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^
  10. ^ He graduated from Boğaziçi University’
  11. ^ His life story on Bloomberg HT
  12. ^ His life story on Klan TV in Albania
  13. ^ Links Angel BAN
  14. ^ Links Angel BAN Partners[permanent dead link]
  15. ^ EBAN Archived 2014-08-19 at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ EBAN Institute Archived 2014-08-21 at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ EBAW European Business Angels Week
  18. ^ World Entrepreneurship Forum Archived 2014-10-28 at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ His meeting with President Obama Archived 2014-10-28 at the Wayback Machine
  20. ^ CNN International interview with him
  21. ^ Deulcom
  22. ^ Links Angel BAN
  23. ^ Links Angel BAN Partners[permanent dead link]
  24. ^ Dragons’ Den Turkey Archived 2016-12-02 at the Wayback Machine
  25. ^ His book Off the Bus! Into a BMW! English and global version
  26. ^ His book Off the Bus! Into a BMW! Albanian version
  27. ^ His book God Particle in Success
  28. ^ Co-author of the Planet Entrepreneur
  29. ^ His book Off the Bus! Into a BMW! English and global
  30. ^ His weekly articles for the Para Dergisi,506@300.html
  31. ^ His monthly articles for the Migrant Woman, Ask the Dragon:
  32. ^ His monthly articles for the Middle East Business News What Makes an Entrepreneur?:
  33. ^ World Entrepreneurship Forum
  34. ^ Press Release about the appointment by World Entrepreneurship Forumş-appointed-Ambassador-of-the-World-Entrepreneurship-Forum-to-Turkey-and-Balkan-Regions[permanent dead link]
  35. ^ News about the appointment by World Entrepreneurship Forum
  36. ^ EBAN
  37. ^ EBAN "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-03-12. Retrieved 2014-03-04.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  38. ^ TBAA – Business Angels Association of Turkey Archived 2014-11-01 at the Wayback Machine
  39. ^ WBAA – World Business Angels Association
  40. ^ Turkey as the Board Member of World Business Angels Association
  41. ^ WBAA – World Business Angels Association
  42. ^ EBAW – European Business Angels Week
  43. ^ EBAN Institute Archived 2014-08-21 at the Wayback Machine
  44. ^ Cologne University, 10 October 2012, Cologne, Germany
  45. ^ Luarasi University, 25 April 2013, Tirana, Albania
  46. ^ Tirana University, 25 April 2013, Tirana, Albania
  47. ^ Epoka University, 25 April 2013, Tirana, Albania
  48. ^ Eastern Mediterranean University, 12 March 2010, Famagusta, Cyprus
  49. ^ Eastern Mediterranean University, 17 May 2011, Famagusta, Cyprus
  50. ^ Girne American University, 14 November 2012, Kyrenia, Cyprus
  51. ^ Gebze High Technology University, 24 November 2010, Gebze, Turkey
  52. ^ Gazi University, 29 April 2011, Ankara, Turkey
  53. ^ Ankara University, 18 April 2011, Ankara, Turkey
  54. ^ Sutcu Imam University, 20 May 2011, Kahramanmaras, Turkey
  55. ^ Bogazici University, 25 February 1998, Istanbul, Turkey
  56. ^ Marmara University, 19 December 1998, Istanbul, Turkey
  57. ^ Onsekizmart University, 2 April 2001, Canakkale, Turkey
  58. ^ Bahcesehir University, 23 March 2011, Istanbul, Turkey
  59. ^ Marmara University, 8 March 2011, Istanbul, Turkey
  60. ^ EBAN Awards "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-02-20. Retrieved 2014-03-04.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  61. ^ Awarded the best Businessman of Turkey Archived 2014-11-01 at the Wayback Machine
  62. ^ Awarded the best Businessman in Northern Cyprus
  63. ^ Jury member of European Business Awardsş
  64. ^ TOYP – Ten Outstanding Young Persons, 2011, Turkey
  65. ^ TOYP – Ten Outstanding Young Persons, 2012, Turkey Archived 2014-11-01 at the Wayback Machine
  66. ^ Turkish Economy Bank- TEB, Business Idea Competition, 2010
  67. ^ Albania, Balkan Ventures Forum; 14 November 2013, 12:30pm – 13:15pm, Sheraton Hotel, Tirana[permanent dead link]
  68. ^ Ireland, Startup Bootcamp; 16 May 2012, 5:15pm – 5:35pm, Tech Hub of Barrow Street, Dublin
  69. ^ Ireland, EBAN Congress; 20 May 2014, 9:50am – 10:35am, Dublin Castle, Dublin
  70. ^ Girne American University, 27 June 2014, Kyrenia, Cyprus
  71. ^ Bilkent University, 10 December 2011, Ankara, Turkey
  72. ^ "The One Unifying Force That Can Save the Planet". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 18 October 2013.

External links[edit]