Born in 1979 in Adana, Turkey, Onur Haytac first visited Florida when he was 14 years old. It was a family vacation to Disney World in Orlando. So impressed with how clean and beautiful the state was, Haytac knew he wanted to return one day.
After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in economics from Dokuz Eylül University in Izmir, Turkey, Haytac moved to Cape Coral, Florida, where his uncle was living. It was his intention to learn to speak English proficiently and study for the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) so that he could obtain a master’s degree in accounting from an American university—preferably one in Florida.
Both of Haytac’s parents were CPAs, as was his sister (she is now a CFO for one of the largest energy companies in the world). At one point, he believed he was destined to become one as well. Except, while applying to graduate school, he decided he no longer wanted to be an accountant. In fact, as he states, “I didn’t even like
If there was one thing he knew and loved, it was computers. “They have always intrigued me,” he relays. “I never tired of building, selling, or playing with [them].” Haytac learned Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) was offering a Bachelor of Computer Information Systems, so he enrolled for two years. He then gained entrance to FGCU’s graduate studies program, earning a Master of Science in information systems and analytics in 2004.
While a student, Haytac took freelancing jobs related to computer software issues. He couldn’t help himself, saying, “I have always liked to troubleshoot, fix, and solve problems.”
A 10 p.m. phone call while studying for final exams one evening placed Haytac on the on-ramp to a freeway of possibilities. The owner of a Subway franchise, located in the Golden Gate area, required his computer software expertise immediately. Not wanting to give up precious study time, Haytac requested the system be delivered to his apartment. It was, and by 2 a.m., Haytac had solved the issue.
Haytac soon discovered that Subway franchise owners—30,000 globally—were using an antiquated and expensive operating system. That summer (in 2004), Haytac founded Benseron Information Technologies, Inc., to provide point-of-sale (POS) software system solutions to the restaurant community. Haytac visited a manufacturing business that built POS systems in Asia and purchased two—at half the cost of those available at that time.
“Within a year,” he recalls, “we were in 1,000 Subway locations throughout the country.” How did he find this manufacturing plant? “I’m fearless,” he smiles. “I’ll just get up and go and meet people and figure it out.” Since that summer, Haytac has logged millions of airline miles in his quest to seek solutions.
An intrepid and intuitive software designer, Haytac successfully carved out a leading spot in the nation’s restaurant technology market. Locally, Haytac has acquired numerous POS clients, all with whom he continues to provide on-site customer service. By the time Haytac was a mere 24 years of age, he was operating a million-dollar business—all funded on his own dime.
One day, the founder of a global pizza restaurant chain was a guest on Haytac’s boat. Discussions about the restaurant industry ensued, and the owner disclosed that he had issues with his company’s POS system. Within three months, Haytac wrote the code for a global database to circumvent the problems the company was experiencing. The pizza chain never purchased Haytac’s creation, but as it was Haytac’s intellectual property, he began peddling the flagship software product to other food service businesses.
In 2016 Haytac founded Linga rOS, as a separate point-of-sale company from Benseron. Linga, as it is commonly referred to, is a cloud-based operating system for restaurant businesses of all sizes anywhere in the world. “Linga means divine energy in Sanskrit,” says Haytac. The creation of this new company was partially spurred by a 10-day hospitalization Haytac had earlier endured following a bout of food poisoning contracted on an overseas trip. “My immune system completely shut down,” he says.
During his hospital stay and while convalescing for three months at home, he questioned why he was working so hard. “There is no end to money, and there is always more money to be made,” he admits. From that moment on, he changed his entrepreneurial mindset from merely making money to helping others make money. “I switched my focus to something bigger than me.” He claims he now “gets his energy from helping others achieve success.”
Today, Linga has become an industry-leading POS and payment solutions company serving more than one million users worldwide. To achieve this success, Haytac maintained a 16- to 18-hour workday and endured an incessant travel schedule.
Fortuitously, PNC Bank—one of the largest banks in the country by assets—came calling, providing an opportunity for Haytac to inject some balance into his life. On September 26, 2022, PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. officially announced it acquired Linga. Although they would retain Haytac, the sole owner, as CEO, it was an opportunity for Haytac to become part of a larger team and delegate work. He jokes, “I sold the company so I could sleep longer.”
Although his schedule still involves copious travel, Haytac has made his health a priority. He meditates, exercises, follows a strict ketogenic diet, and takes a daily cold plunge. With his active and curious mind, Haytac is forever exploring new avenues to optimize brain power. In addition to seeking inventive ways to incorporate software solutions into diverse markets, he is well-read on myriad topics, from plant medicine and psychotropic drugs to architecture.
Following the successful sale of his company, Haytac was able to indulge a passion he has long harbored: owning a Ferrari. “Cars motivate entrepreneurs,” he declares. “Ferraris epitomize passion and are aesthetically beautiful; they have power. Who doesn’t want to earn enough money to own one?” he asks.
Haytac is now a fully certified competitor in the Ferrari Challenge Series, North America, where owners are given the opportunity to become involved with the racing circuit on an amateur level. Dagney Wysong, marketing manager, Ferrari of Naples, describes her role as “bringing people into racing and getting them to interact with the [Ferrari] brand.” She relays that “each entrant, or driver, is not only the owner of the car, but the actual participant.” At present, Wysong reports there are two certified drivers in Southwest Florida. Haytac is one of them.
Haytac has discovered that competing in top-level sprint races is one of the only things that quiets his active mind, admitting: “My brain doesn’t slow down much.” To prepare for each race, he explains, requires “a great deal of simulator time, and includes two practice days on the field—usually on a weekend—and one race day,” adding, “It takes lots of physical and mental prep.” His car is garaged in Indiana and gets shipped to racing locations around the nation. Last year’s schedule included seven rounds taking racers from Texas to Quebec, Canada to California (and points between). Each season concludes with the Finali Mondiali, the Ferrari Challenge World Finals, held in a different country each year.
Prominently and repeatedly placed on Haytac’s racing Ferrari is a logo for 2L Foundation. It stands for light and love and is the name of the nonprofit organization Haytac founded to improve the lives of children. A devoted member of the Young President’s Organization (YPO), Haytac was first exposed to the prevalence of human trafficking when a speaker addressed the local YPO chapter and shared sobering news. The Florida Department of Health reports that Florida ranks as the third-highest trafficking destination in the country.
“I got involved because I want to bring awareness to this issue. I have nothing to lose. It’s the giant in the corner,” says Haytac, who decided to align his charitable organization with both Operation Underground Railroad (OUR), a nonprofit headquartered in Anaheim, California, fighting child sex trafficking and sexual exploitation and Path 2 Freedom, a local nonprofit that provides resources and programming to child survivors of human trafficking. Although he admits this may be one problem he will not quickly solve or ever resolve completely, he is empowered by bringing attention to the issue and realizing he can potentially help so many children.
Through hard work and ingenuity, Haytac achieved the quintessential American dream at a young age. His inquisitive, thoughtful, and gracious nature has him striving for peak performance on a purpose-driven journey through life—one that will no doubt drive him to great destinations.
Riding in Style
As a businessman who engages in frequent international travel, Haytac believes no matter one’s idea of fashion, it is necessary to always look good and be presentable. “Fashion is a type of communication,” he says. “Individuals express their individuality through fashion, so it is important to add unique elements into outfits that reflect your personality and stand out in a crowd.”
NI: How do you describe your personal style?
Haytac: It is a blend of classic, elegant, and casual sophistication—a balance between refined aesthetics and comfortable versatility.
What are your go-to pieces?
I like mixing sports coats with relaxed pieces like jeans and loafers. Pocket squares add flair and attention to detail.
What labels do you love?
Stefano Ricci, Cacharel, Armani, Ted Baker, Tom Ford, Sandro Paris, Kenzo, Burberry, and Dutch men’s suit and fashion brand Suitsupply.
And your favorite for shoes?
Stefano Ricci, Ted Baker, Berluti, and Velasca Milano.
Do you have a favorite color?
What will you never be caught dead wearing?
Clothes with big logos of the brand.
What fashion trend would you like to cancel?
Oversize pants and shirts.