Back on March 5, the fourth cycle of the 12-week pre-acceleration program of the Armenia Startup Academy was launched and 20 startups, that have been selected, participated in 3-month Academy program tailored for high-tech startups and based on best international experiences and models.
On May 29, 15 startups graduated from the program and presented their pitches in front of interested investors, friends & the community.
In his welcome address, Hambardzum Kaghketsyan, co-founder of SmartGateVC and the Catalyst Foundation, referred to the startup founders of the fourth Demo Day of the Armenia Startup Academy, “A very important thing that you need to have from the program - you should never take “no” as an answer, but rather accept it as “not yet” and keep going forward despite all the challenges and failures along the way”.
“It’s a fantastic event, fantastic ecosystem. During the past few years EU in Armenia was reflecting on how to have youth getting opportunities in their hands and how to link the opportunities that existed as well as creating new ones, creating new ecosystem that is vibrant. It’s nice to see familiar faces and also how rich the ecosystem is becoming. I want to thank the organizers and GIZ and I think a lot has been achieved already.” said Gregory Tsouris, Deputy Head of Cooperation Section of EU Delegation to Armenia, in his welcome speech.
Davit Kartashyan, program expert at GIZ, mentioned, “One of the core directions of the EU-SMEDA project is to support the startup ecosystem in Armenia and for that we are partnering with Catalyst Foundation to implement different initiatives, one of which is Armenia Startup Academy. From our project side, I would like to thank Catalyst Foundation for the great work they are doing and also wish good luck to all the participants of the Academy, especially the ones that are going to pitch today.”
The Director of Educational programs and Partnerships of Armenia Startup Academy, Armine Galstyan, presented the main statistics and achievements of the Academy mentioning that the graduates have already received over €1 million of funding. She made highlights about the other initiatives of Catalyst Foundation, including the Hero House, Gate42 Quantum Computing research lab, Startup Boost Weekends, AI incubator, Science and Technology Convergence Conference, Entrepreneurial Assistance School and others.
The co-founder and CEO of Himnark, the graduate of Armenia Startup Academy first batch, and the CEO of Expper Technologies, the Academy third batch graduate startup, presented their achievements and the progress they had since their Demo Days on February 3, 2018 and January 19, 2019.
“Armenia Startup Academy was the first try for us to learn doing a startup and before starting this journey, I thought that doing startup is inner thing, I had a lot of experience in corporate area and the Academy helped me to understand what is doing startup and how to make the pitches.” said Ruben Osipyan, the co-founder and CEO of Himnark.
“Our company graduated from the third batch of the Academy and during the program we have learned a lot of new things, we developed our product, our business model, and today we are happy to be here to share our product with you.” said Karen Khachikyan, the co-founder and CEO of Expper Technologies.
About 15 graduate startups
3 Dzuk uses AI to create characters and artwork for personalized gift production and helps to increase the productivity of artists and designers in various fields. The company has already designed more than 1500 personalized gifts and created Aila, an AI algorithm that makes the process of art creation fast doing it in 13 minutes instead of 2 hours. Aila can be used by gaming, animation, visual effect studios and individual artists.
The global market for personalized gifts is $25 billion and for corporate gifts it is $22 billion, out of which $16 billion is spent on unwanted gifts.
Co-founder and Art Director has 13 years of experience as a senior illustrator in IT, Digital Publishing and Computer Gaming, the other co-founder has management experience in digital publishing and art departments, the AI specialist has experience as a game designer and developer, computer vision researcher and full stack web developer.
Apaga is a platform that allows customers and retailers to monetize recycling. By providing coupons in return of recycling, the company is not just incentivizing people to recycle but also creates a new sales channel for the partner retailers.
The total available market is $340 billion, which includes all upper middle-income countries. The MVP was launched in October 2018, the number of users increased from 40 to 420 with growth rate of 44.73%. The company already has $8,500 in revenue and is partnering with more than 40 retailers.
The co-founders of Apaga have 3 years’ in Recycling and Environmental Education, the CTO has 10 years of experience as a as software architect and team lead.
AppearMe is a real-time and on-demand platform for litigation support helping to find appearance/deposition attorneys, interpreters and court reporters within 60 seconds while finding/scheduling traditionally takes from 2 hours to 2 days.
The market opportunity in US is $5.61 billion annually. The company is self-funded, has 30 person team, 2,800 active users and revenue growing 20% every month for the last 8 months. The company plans to infuse $900,000 over a period of 6 months, acquire 25,000 users and became cash flow positive with $2.4 million annual revenue.
The co-founders have over 12 years of management and litigation experience.
ARD Music is an AI based smart music application that allows users to generate personalized soundtracks based on their daily activities and emotions.
The software prototype was finalized in January 2019, the closed alpha version was ready and the first sale was done in March. ARD Music has 66.7% retention rate among the users. The open beta version of the product will be released in September.
The founders have 12 years of combined experience in development and 3 years in AI and machine learning.
Beticle is an open stock market for sport that allows users to buy virtual stocks of favorite team or player and trade those like company stocks or cryptocurrency tokens. For easy decision making the company provides personalized AI assistant, which calculates the risks, analyzes actions and provides useful recommendations.
The online betting market is $38 billion with 10% annual growth. The B2B product will be launched in US and European market in September. By 2020 the company will enter B2C market in US.
The founders have more than 8 years of combined experience in software engineering. They have been working at BetConstruct Development Office for more than 4 years as AI and ML team leader, technical project manager, math sports modeler and engineer.
Cerebrus is an ML-powered analytics cloud platform for small and medium enterprises. It allows the business owners to understand how the business performs now, how it will perform in the nearest future, and how the business owner needs to act to achieve the data-driven sustainable growth of the business.
The target market is 1 million SMBs in the US and the potential annual revenue is $60 billion. The company has the first customer in the waitlist and is planning to launch MVP in August 2019.
The founders have 13 years of combined experience in Product Management, Software Development, and Data Science.