Chief Investment Officer
In this advancing world, where everything is fast-paced given the prowess of technology and changing consumer trends and business demands, Chief Investment Officers (CIOs) have a responsibility to oversee the strategic investments that affect the growth of an organization’s resources. Irtek Uraz, CIO of RUBIBRANDS - a Hyper-Growth Marketplaces Focused E-Commerce Brands Investment Company, truly emphasizes his role at the company. Read on for CEO Insights Asia magazine’s one-on-one interaction with him!
Please give a brief account of your professional background and experiences. What is the motivation that fuels your daily routines?
By pedigree, I hold three master’s degrees in computer science, Earth sciences, and an MBA. My professional career started in management consulting, which allowed me to feed my curiosity across different industries and geographies at Booz&Company. As I focused on investment strategy projects, the Private Equity industry was the natural next step. I joined Dubai Based NBK Capital Partners, focusing on executing high-value transactions, sourcing investment opportunities, and managing portfolio companies. To capitalize on the Turkish market opportunity, I joined Unlu&Co, Turkey's most prominent investment bank, as a senior director establishing the firm's technology sector coverage. When the opportunity to build a business investing in high-growth e-commerce assets arose, I launched RUBIBRANDS with my co-founders – raising $23 million in seed investment, reported by CB Insights as the highest seed investment globally in Retail Technologies at the time.
My daily life is screening new investment ideas, finding ways to create value and deal-making. Each investment we make, although looking like the untrained eye, has details that vary from each other. I believe in long-term relationships with our investment parties. I pay extra attention to ensure that incentives for all parties involved are aligned. Knowing we are building a global house of brands motivates me daily, as we make a meaningful impact on our investments, employees, and partners.
How would you define RUBIBRANDS as an organization and its current position in the market?
RUBIBRANDS is a hyper-growth marketplace focused e-Commerce brands investment company that challenges the traditional roll-up playbook. Our approach is to acquire predominantly Amazon brands sourced from CEEMEA, using Turkey as a central logistics hub to overcome margin-eroding Asian supply chain problems. We invest in larger, more established, highly profitable brands, partnering with their founders to help them accelerate their businesses and transform them into global brands. Our current position in the market is unique, as we are the first e-commerce roll-up company to launch out of Istanbul, Turkey, and we are well-positioned to capitalize on the hyper-growth marketplaces and create significant value for our investors. I want to add that we have a team full of experts who drive the company against our goals, which is indispensable for the success of any organization.
Tell us about your flagship offerings and what value additions customers can expect from your offerings.
Our flagship offerings are our portfolio of e-commerce brands we acquire and invest in. Our value proposition to customers lies in our ability to transform these brands into global ones by leveraging our expertise in cash management, finance and accounting and tax processes, supply chain and logistics processes, personnel management, sales, product management, and marketing. We are focused on providing exceptional customer experiences and delivering high-quality products at competitive prices. We constantly seek ways to improve our offerings and add value for our customers.
As the CIO, what are the significant factors you consider while developing investment strategies and policies to contribute to the business strategy?
As the CIO, I am responsible to my co-founders, our investors, our brand creators, and my colleagues at RUBIBRANDS, who are also stakeholders of the company. To maximize the return on investment for all these parties, I ensure our investment strategies support our long-term goals and the company's vision. Tools we developed for risk tolerance assessment and diversification provide a good balance between risk and return and a resilient portfolio. We constantly analyze macroeconomic and industry trends, competitive dynamics, market demand and customer preferences, and financial and operational performance. We adjust our investment strategies and policies to ensure we are well-positioned to create long-term value for all our stakeholders.
Tell us about your leadership approach and your guidelines or methodologies to lead your team.
My leadership approach is centered around being a transformational and visionary leader. I believe in setting clear goals and expectations and empowering my team to take ownership of their work and contribute to our collective success. We strongly emphasize data-driven decision-making and continuous improvement, and we prioritize communication, transparency, and accountability in all aspects of our work.
What is the future destination you are heading towards?
I envision RUBIBRANDS as a leading player in the e-Commerce roll-up space, with a strong presence in the global marketplaces. RUBIBRANDS has a unique advantage because we acquire top brands shielded from FBA aggregator competition and supply chain bottlenecks. We prefer investing in larger, more established, highly profitable brands and partnering with the founders. This allows for a non-disruptive know-how transfer and continuous product innovation. Our goal is to become the leading roll-up business in the region, reaching 25 brands, 12 million units shipped, and a $110 million annual revenue in the next 12 months. RUBIBRANDS is currently finalizing an extended seed round & having series A discussions with reputable international equity and debt investors. Meanwhile, we continue to build our pipeline focusing on Turkey & Europe-sourced brands with FX revenues by new brand acquisitions.
In light of your strong experience within the industry, what advice would you give to budding industry leaders?
I advise budding industry leaders to prioritize developing a deep understanding of the market and their industry while also keeping an eye on global trends and emerging technologies. It is also crucial to build a strong team with diverse skill sets and experiences that can bring different perspectives. Additionally, I advise staying agile and adaptable in a fast-paced and constantly evolving industry while maintaining a long-term focus on creating sustainable growth and value for all stakeholders involved. Lastly, I emphasize the importance of maintaining high ethical standards and conducting business with integrity and transparency.
Irtek Uraz, CIO, RUBIBRANDS
Bringing over 15 years of global experience in Investment Banking, Private Equity, and Management Consulting, Irtek Uraz is a strong professional. Currently, as the Founder & Chief Investment Officer of RUBIBRANDS, he is responsible for its investment operations and investor relations.
• Hobbies: Tennis, Skiing, Building my own Servers
• Favorite Cuisine: Thai
• Favorite Book: Competition Demystified by Bruce C. Greenwald
• Favorite Travel Destination: Sailing around the Aegean Islands.
Awards & Recognition:
• AmCham (American Chamber of Commerce) Turkey – E-Commerce Champion 2022
• CB Insights (Largest Seed Funding in Q2- 2022, Retail Tech)