On May 12, 8:00 PM EVN time (GMT+4), Armenia Startup Academy held the Demo Day of the fifth batch of startups remotely on account of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak. EFSE Entrepreneurship Academy and SmartGateVC had joined the forces to run Batch 5 of Armenia Startup Academy under the European Union's EU4Business initiative.
The Demo Day of Batch 5 was organized in this digital format for the first time and was streamed via Facebook and YouTube channels. The fifth cohort reflected a diverse range of startups in the areas of healthtech, media and communications, childcare, smart homes, sharing economies, etc. Nearly 40% of them are led by female founders. 8 of the startups were pitching their ideas to the public for the first time.
In his opening remarks, Ashot Arzumanyan, Partner at SmartGateVC said: “We are inspired to see a new wave of entrepreneurs joining the startup community of Armenia. This is possible thanks to the continuous support of the European Union and the proactive involvement of the community of local and international mentors.”
“Good luck to the participants at the Demo Day! They have worked hard to get here. Especially in difficult times like these, EFSE believes in nourishing the roots of entrepreneurship through programs that connect good ideas to the resources they need.” mentioned Markus Aschendorf, Chairperson of the EFSE Development Facility.
“I think it is very important to see so many talented, creative, smart young people who try to live their dreams,” said Andrea Wiktorin, Ambassador of the EU Delegation to Armenia, “I am convinced that the investors will see how creative people are here in Armenia and that they will find an opportunity to get into business.”
Following the welcome address, Anna Tantushyan, Program Manager of the Armenia Startup Academy, introduced the program as well as other initiatives by Hero House - an innovation hub established in 2017, namely Science and Technology Convergence Conference (STCC), Artificial Intelligence Incubator (AI Incubator), Startup Boost Weekends (SBW), and Entrepreneurial Assistants School (EA School). Afterwards, two alumni from previous batches, Gevorg Soghomonian, CEO & Co-Founder at AimHub (Fall 2017 Batch graduate) and Alexander Adamyan, CEO & Co-Founder at RetentionForce (Fall 2018 Batch graduate), shared their progress and post-program achievements.
During the event, the online audience could ask questions in the Facebook and Youtube event live chats as well as via Twitter. Interested people and investors can still contact the founders directly via LinkedIn - founders’ contacts are listed on the webpage alongside startup descriptions.
The companies of this fifth batch are seeing noticeable progress: some have acquired their first users or onboarded more customers, while others have tested the validity of their ideas and chosen verticals to focus on. The teams have also gained knowledge and skills in market analysis, fundraising, sales, marketing, business model generation, pitching and more.
“The program has been very insightful, interactive and motivating. It provides many valuable connections to learn from and discuss ideas as well as support and guidance on every step. I feel much better equipped in terms of knowledge and understanding of how my work can be made better.” - said Vahan Simonyan, Founder of Monitor Sync, Batch 5 startup.
“Our journey with the Armenian Startup Academy starting from the selection process to the final demo was a mission – oriented to equip us with industry knowledge and connections that drive new opportunities between startups and the broader ecosystem of corporates and investors, - said Sargis Budaghyan, Founder of FennecReads, Batch 5 startup, - The entire team at ASA has been committed to our success, and the program was definitely a mindset change for us.”
Throughout the 12-weeks of the pre-accelerator, the participants had passed through a tailor-made development program based on individual diagnoses of each startup’s needs. The program involved knowledge-sharing weekly sessions, individual work with high-profile mentors, customer development, milestone tracking and pitching practices. The program aims to help the participants to refine and validate their strategies, and get support for expanding in international markets. Participation to the program has been free for all qualifying companies due to support from EU partners.
Graduates of Armenia Startup Academy Batch 5
iBala is an AI-based software with high accuracy cry detection algorithm, also including voice conversion and other sounds detection algorithms. It can send alerts when a cry is detected, calm the child with a customizable voice, and provide daily statistics of the child’s cry, cough, laugh and other sounds. The technology can be integrated in smart toys, baby monitoring cameras, smart cribs or babysitting apps. It can also be provided in a stand-alone subscription-based application.
The market of smart toys, baby monitoring cameras and smart cribs in the U.S. worths over $10B and is growing by 15% annually. The prototype of the cry detection app is now complete. Cough and laugh detection components will be added by the middle of 2020.
The team is composed of three seasoned tech professionals and ML engineers, some of them with 20 years of experience holding PhDs in Math, and two Machine Learning specialists with 6 years of experience.
Dowork AI’s pre-trained deep neural network analyzes teams’ communication on different channels and predicts project’s success probability based on requirements, meeting notes, pull requests and task status updates.
The company is targeting IT outsourcing and product companies, the market of which is worth $17.5B globally and $3.5B in the US. The MVP, which will be a project estimation tool for developers, is going to be launched by the middle of April.
One of the founders has over 15 years of experience in technology and over 5 years of experience in entrepreneurship including co-founding another startup. The other co-founder’s experience includes over 15 years in technology and over 5 years in management.
DermAI is an AI-based mobile application that identifies allergy type and dermatological issues using a database of medically-approved images. The application is analyzing the disease case prior to the need to visit doctors and providing easier and more efficient access to quality and convenient healthcare.
The potential market of digital healthcare solutions in the U.S. is worth $18B. The customer segments are doctors and people with allergy issues, as well as hospitals and international development organizations. The company is planning to start a referral program and do a pilot project locally by June 2020.
The Founding CEO has 6 years of consultancy experience in the healthcare industry. The team involves a Machine Learning specialist and a software engineer with almost 10 years of cumulative experience as well as a Medical Specialist.
GOTCHA is a computer-vision based technology that analyses facial muscular actions, identifies human facial behavior, detects hidden emotions, and unmasks possible deception cases.
The global deception technology market is forecasted to reach $2.09B by 2021 with a CAGR of 15.32%. The company is targeting three types of organizations - Human Resources, Gambling, and Credit Organizations. The MVP is already released and currently is being tested for making improvements.
The founders have experience in Business Administration, Sales and Marketing, Finance and Audit as well as ISO. One of the founders holds 7 certificates given by PaulEkmanGroup regarding Emotion Recognition.
Monitor Sync by HAFFO is a cloud-based solution which allows to design, schedule and display media content on remote monitors from the web, is based on the technology of Tunnelin, a web-based solution, which lets accessing Windows, Mac and Linux running Machines remotely, creating network tunnels to services running on machines such as HTTPS, RDP, VNC, SSH and accessing them over the internet․ Tunnelin provides a single place to manage all internet services and currently has 14 users. Along with Monitor Sync, the company is also exploring other application areas of Tunnelin.
The team has over 30 years of cumulative experience in Technical Math and over 10 years of experience in technology development.
FennecReads is a location-based hard copy book sharing and borrowing social platform.
The company is targeting a $7B+ worth market for book publishing in the US. The MVP was launched for the population of Yerevan. They have already established a partnership with the American University of Armenia that has agreed to share books and are in negotiations with Zangak bookstore. By the end of 2020, partnership with the University of Edinburgh and other UK-based universities will be established as well as universities, libraries, and social communities in the US.
The co-founders have 8 years of experience in product management, 15 years of experience in technology development, and 8 years in design.
uniQ is a platform that crowdsources personalized captions from freelance copywriters and helps users increase engagement.
The company is targeting small businesses, micro-influencers and SMM specialists and has a potential $6.2B market in the US. The public Beta version is already launched. They have 6 paying customers, 20 users and 30 writers. The final product is planned to be launched in May 2020.
The founding team is experienced in content writing and SMM, as well as has business management knowledge.