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    a roadmap for life

    Meet the Turkish e-⁠resident co-founders of Roadmape, an AI-powered product strategy and roadmapping software

    Merve Cankız Çoruh has always dreamed of a life in the startup world and in international business. "My passion has always been to contribute to something impactful and valuable, with minimal bureaucracy," she said. "This is what drew me to the tech startup scene right at the beginning of my career."

    Indeed, as soon as she had her degree in industrial engineering, Merve went to work for a Sequoia-backed Turkish unicorn where she gained experience in growing and marketing a software-as-a-service offering business to business. While working as a product manager in another startup, she met Samet Ozkale and decided to create a company called Producter. Their firm's eponymous platform was designed to fill a gap in the product management space.

    But last year, Producters founders decided to pivot and unveil another new platform, called Roadmape, which offers an AI-powered product strategy and roadmapping software, allowing companies to collaborate on product roadmaps and to customize them based on their needs.

    They had already become e-⁠residents, then relocated to Estonia by that time.

    "We moved to Tallinn because we are more focused on European markets," said Merve. Estonia was not unknown to Roadmape's founders before the move. They knew about Pipedrive, a Tallinn-based SaaS company that is one of multiple Estonian firms to achieve unicorn status.

    "We applied, were granted e-Residency, and incorporated in Estonia," she said. They picked up their e-⁠Residency kits at the Estonian embassy in Ankara. By becoming e-⁠residents and opening and operating an Estonian company, Roadmape's cofounders were also able to access the country's ecosystem of digital services, which have been fine-tuned to support new ventures.

    "Everything related to startups and running a business in Estonia is easy, everything is digitized," she said. "That is one of the reasons we preferred to establish our company here."

    Merve added that e-Residency has been helpful in terms of establishing a company in a European country where her firm can work with Stripe, the online payment system, and access the European market easier.

    There are some similarities with Türkiye, she acknowledged. The former has about 80 times more people than Estonia does, but both are situated at the crossroads of Europe, where West meets East. "Türkiye is in between Asia and Europe, and Estonia is in between the Nordics and Eastern Europe," Merve said.

    In some ways, she slid nicely into Tallinn's international startup community after arrival. Roadmape participates in the local product managers community, which meets monthly for breakfast or evening drinks.

    "I can reach out to anyone here, because it's a tight knit community and people are used to startups," she said.

    In the meantime, Roadmape has been developing interest in its platform among product communities around the world. It formally introduced its offering in December and has seen interest since. "We were able to get more than 1,350 people on our waiting list when we launched, because we had this network of product managers already in place," Merve noted.

    Watch Roadmape's pivot story, featuring Merve and her co-founder Samet:

    To create Roadmape, its founders interviewed more than 100 product managers in person, and collected survey responses from more than 400 product managers. Merve said that outdated and messy roadmap documents plague companies, leading to bad decision making. "This is really important, because roadmaps are like the north star, and when you lose your sense of direction, you can make mistakes, damaging the company, and starting off a chain reaction."

    One bad decision, and sales are affected, customer success plummets, and it affects other company decisions. "This is why we built the most customizable product strategy and roadmapping software," she said. Roadmape's target users are product managers, but they will also interact with sales, customer service, and marketing teams to help tweak their roadmaps.

    Currently, the company has seven full-time employees, including the cofounders and e-⁠residents Merve and Samet. A preseed round allowed them to set up shop in Tallinn. By moving to Tallinn, they have been able to acquire customers from all over Europe, including the UK.

    It is early days for Roadmape though. The first version of the product launched in the last week of December, and the company onboarded its first users in early January.

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