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.
Creatr is a collaboration space for filmmakers and marketplace for film studios. It aims at creating the biggest database of filmmaking students.
The company has 400 users and acquired first customer in May 2019. The founders are planning to launch the MVP in August, have the final product in December. The global industry is $286 billion and CIS market is $5 billion, which is the first target market for the startup.
The founders are experienced in filmmaking, web development, sales and marketing. Each of them has shot at least one movie and knows the challenges that filmmakers face as well as the need for the solution they provide.
FinAssist is a platform with loan application mechanism that helps people apply for a loan to many financial institutions simultaneously, get personalized loan offers and easily choose the one that fits their needs the best. The company decreases the loan application processing time by 80% helping the borrowers make faster and more conscious choices.
Their first target is the Mortgage loans, which are going to be tested in Armenia. For the Armenian market, the founders have already negotiated and made initial agreements with 10 banks and 10 credit organizations. The SAM for the company is estimated to be $100 million.
The co-founder and CEO has more than 10 years of banking and project management experience, the co-founder and CMO has experience in marketing, PR and the CTO is a senior developer experienced in various sectors.
MLabel is an online platform to simplify and accelerate labeling process using machine learning. It is aimed at accelerating dataset creation with ML. The solution decreases the usual 9-11 hours spent on image annotation and image review to around 1 hour.
Data preparation market size is $1.55 billion as of 2019 and is estimated to reach $3.20 billion in 2023. The MVP of the startup was finalized in May 2019.
The founders have 3 years of experience in machine learning, web development and operations.
LiveBoard is an interactive whiteboard app for visual collaboration for tutors and distributed teams. The total addressable market in US is around $500 million to $1 billion. The app already has 400,000 installs and 35,000 monthly active users. A number of educational institutions adopted LiveBoard, among which is Stanford University.
The founders invested $100,000 in the startup. The application was launched in the beginning of 2016 and by the end of 2018 the company acquired paying users.
The founders have 37 years of combined experience in engineering, software development and product design. Two of the co-founders started a consulting company together, which is operating till now as a software development company.
Lucky Carrot is a peer-to-peer employee recognition and reward system, which helps companies improve their employee engagement and culture.
The total available market of employees worldwide is 3 billion, out of which the attainable market for the startup is around 100 million, which are employees in technology sector. The beta version of the product was launched in November 2018 and 10 companies are using it as of May 2019. The founders plan to have 30 companies using Lucky Carrot in July, 70 companies in Armenia and Estonia in September.
The founders have more than 15 years of combined experience in product development, quality assurance and full stack web development.
MemTalk is an AI powered meeting manager that helps meeting owners to identify key decisions of the meeting and share with participants.
The company plans to launch MVP in August, which will be an iOS app allowing to record, highlight, share and integrate calendar, and in May 2020 the founders plan to have the first version of decisions’ extractor from voice recording trained on 1 company data. The potential annual revenue for the company is estimated to be $22.4 billion.
The founders have 6 years of experience in product management, 15 years in design and 2 years of experience in machine learning.
Nuki is alarm application using AI, which wakes up the user with the most suitable melody or song depending on the users' data and sleep stage.
The target market of Nuki includes smart watches holders. The number of smart watches sold in 2018 was 71 million and the number of smart watch holders is predicted to reach 640 million in 2020, which is potential market for the product.
The founder and CEO is experienced in Android and blockchain development.
RendChain is a platform as a service that focuses on getting rid of routine problems regarding video rendering cloud computing and shortens the computing/storage pipeline to just a simple upload-then-download system.
The closed beta was ready in May 2019, the founders are planning to launch open beta, do the integration with PAAS and SAAS and creation of RendChain community during Summer 2019. The market opportunity is $360 monthly revenue from each personal computer.
The founders have 10 years of experience in rendering, 7 years in programming, and 5 years in distribution networks.
Virtlo is a mobile app that lets people discover nearby places and deals faster just by looking around with phone’s camera and is a platform for companies to promote their deals or events to the app users.
The market size is more than 15 million retail and HORECA businesses. The iOS app was launched in January 2019, during the 5 months it helped to explore 110 countries and recorded 25% user retention. The Android app launch is planned in June 2019. In a year, the founders aim to have 100,000 monthly users and 1,000 subscribed businesses,
The founders have 20 years experience in IT development and entrepreneurship, 25 years experience in business management and business development, 10 years experience in software development. Together the founders have already developed solutions for companies like Schindler, Sixt, Marriott, Unicef, BNP Paribas, Veolia.
Congratulations to the Armenia Startup Academy Spring 2019 Batch!
About the Armenia Startup Academy
The Armenia Startup Academy is a Catalyst Foundation project implemented in the framework of the Support to SME Development in Armenia (EU-SMEDA) Project, which is co-funded by the European Union and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by the German Development Cooperation GIZ through the Private Sector Development in South Caucasus Programme, within the EU4Business and EU4Innovation initiatives.
Throughout the 4 cycles of the innovative 3-month program 72 startups and 188 entrepreneurs were involved. They had the chance to benefit from more than 450 one-on-one meetings, 145 sessions, workshops, breakfasts and dinners delivered by a network of 70+ high profile professionals and mentors spanning from Australia to Silicon Valley. The program graduates raised over €1 million of funding from different financing sources including angel and venture funding, EU-STEP, EU-IMG and other grants.