Every wildfire begins with a spark and every superhero has an origin story. Likewise, every single startup can call on a point in time that was their beginning, and every founder has a purpose that propels them forward in the face of obstacles.
Meet Dr Ozan Özerk, serial entrepreneur and Doctor of Medicine. He founded OpenPayd, the market-leading global payment and banking-as-a-service platform headquartered in London. Now with offices in the Netherlands, Bulgaria, Turkey, Singapore, Malta, Hong Kong, Brazil and the USA, OpenPayd is a well-known brand in the fintech industry.
Born in Nicosia, Cyprus in 1979, Dr Özerk’s family moved to Norway while he was still young. After completing his high school education at Nordstrand Videregående Skole, he joined the Norwegian Armed Forces and served as a Ranger from 1999 to 2000. Later, he served in the Norwegian Home Guard’s Rapid Response Unit.
Hailing from a family of scholars, his father a professor at the Department of Education in the University of Oslo and his mother a senior advisor at Statped who had specialized in children with learning disabilities, Dr Özerk studied medicine at the University of Oslo from 2000 to 2008 after his military tenure. After graduation, he completed his medical internship at Narvik Hospital, becoming a Medical Doctor.
Doctor Of Medicine To Serial Entrepreneur
Dr Ozan Özerk’s entrepreneurial career began in the late 1990s, but the real breakthrough came when he co-founded Norsk Ideutvikling in 2005.
Norsk Ideutvikling was an online media company famous for its social networking site Biip.no. Biip.no was an early version social media endeavour similar to Facebook which was widely popular in Norway, reaching virtually all of the target demographic. The company was later sold to a syndicate consisting of Egmont and TV2, backed by A-pressen and Telenor, for an estimated valuation of 100+ million krone in 2008. He stayed on till 2010 and held positions as an emergency room doctor in the cities of Narvik, Bærum, and Moss until 2015.
Dr Ozan Özerk made the shift to his current career in the fintech industry in 2015. The early years saw several small ventures that helped him discover and learn about the fintech industry, which led to the founding of OpenPayd, a well-known brand in the fintech space today.
Established as a technology-led platform that delivers simple solutions through easy access, OpenPayd is a leading global payment and banking-as-a-service platform that provides a range of banking and payment services to both financial and non-financial institutions. It brings together specialists from the banking, payments, and fintech sectors in order to disrupt corporate banking and payment service delivery.
Their products and services are provided through a single integration and can be used by businesses directly or as a white-label offering to their customers. They have had several notable successes, such as assisting innovative fintech in expanding worldwide.
Thoughts On Entrepreneurship
Dr Ozan Özerk has significant experience in FinTech, building a number of global businesses including the online trading platform EuroTrader, European Merchant Bank, InvestAlgo, SettleGo, and Ozan SuperApp. Therefore, he is no stranger to entrepreneurship.
He believes that the pillars of entrepreneurship are growth and innovation. “Playing it safe” is a motto that only large companies with big budgets can afford. Taking well-calculated risks for success is at the core of entrepreneurialism.
The key is to keep an eye on the markets for new opportunities. Entrepreneurship is about finding relevant opportunities and developing products or services to capitalize on them. Entrepreneurs specialize in niche-specific products and services, rather than broad business services. The advantage that entrepreneurs have over large corporations is their ability to react quickly to market opportunities when they discover them. He believes that in order to propel your business forward, you should consider finding out what the most successful entrepreneurs are doing.
Talking about how most entrepreneurs are chronically underfunded, he says “True entrepreneurs don’t live the lifestyle you see of influencers on YouTube or Instagram, with yachts and cocktails. Even those who have the financial means to do it. If you truly want to succeed you need to be determined and put in the work. There is no easy way, there are no shortcuts. If you cut corners, I promise you you’ll be more broke, isolated, and unhappy than before you started.”
His message to budding entrepreneurs is “Don’t give up, but learn from your mistakes and don’t believe that anyone is better than you. Talent matters, but hard work and perseverance is much more important.”
Click to read more of Dr Ozan Özerk Articles and publications from top journals.