“Today is the day to meet fresh blood in our ecosystem… It is our strong belief that technology entrepreneurship is the driving force of our nation. Today we live a dream that came true - we are in a new Armenia. We believe this happened thanks to the community of progressive people from tech and youth. There is more to come and we'll make it happen together,” said Ashot Arzumanyan, co-founder of SmartGateVC and the Catalyst Foundation in his welcome address to guests of the second Demo Day of the Armenia Startup Academy.
The Demo Day took place on May 30, 2018 at the American University of Armenia. Throughout last 8 month the Academy went through 2 cycles of the 12 week pre-acceleration program. 35 startups and 90 entrepreneurs were involved. They benefited 100s of sessions, one-on-meetings and workshops delivered by the network of high profile professionals spanning from Silicon Valley to Europe and Australia. Forbes 30 under 30, managing partner of a Silicon Valley VC, European Accelerator CEO, YC alum and many others were among speakers and mentors. 17 startups were accepted for the 2nd batch program, and 13 of them graduated: Forgefiction, Adv Portal, Luman, Quest Tour, Growflex, IoCars, ForestBerg, Cardy, ERP Smart System, Winenet, Cookmenu, Hellosim.
Hoa-Binh Adjemian, Head of the Cooperation Section of the EU Delegation to Armenia, emphasized the scope and impact of European support to the Armenian startup ecosystem. “EU stands by your side… by people in IT, and you will transform this country to a vibrant democracy,” said Hoa-Binh.
“It’s a pleasure to partner with the Catalyst Foundation for they are open and willing to collaborate with others,” said Peer Priewich, Technical Adviser at EU4Business SMEDA Project, who pointed out the significant positive dynamics of the Armenian startup ecosystem.
Hambardzum Kaghketsyan, co-founder of SmartGateVC and the Catalyst Foundation, made some highlights about the initiatives of the Foundation, including the Hero House, Armenia Startup Academy, Yerevan Machine Learning Excellence Center, Yerevan Quantum Computing Group, YLedger Consortium of Blockchain Developers and others.
The founders of Breedge, Embry and Earlyone (graduates from previous batch) shared their progress since graduation.
“Participating in the Academy programme was game-changing: we started to do practical customer development and finally we understood the real value of doing our startup... the academy provided us the knowledge and practical experience that we needed. In addition, academy connected us with the network of valuable people who are always willing to help and partner… Anytime and any aspect of your business: there is always someone to rely on in Hero House,” said Sargis Karapetyan, the cofounder and CEO of Embry.
Afterwards, the 13 founders of Spring 2018 batch demoed their products. Armen Ter-Grigoryan, the CEO of HelloSIM was pitching remotely, as the company is setting up their presence in Belarus these days.
About graduated startups
ForgeFiction - a blockchain technology based platform which passes the process of book creation from individual’s hands to community, bringing the talent of masses into a single creation.
Adv Portal - a web based open marketplace to choose a location and order ad poster and banner with just few clicks.
Luman - a Smart toy for kids, connected to mobile app, empowered by personalized educational program.
Quest tour - a game helping young people to discover countries and learn through the treasure-hunt game experience.
Growflex - Portable aquaponics system, with high production scale efficiency, able to grow leafy greens organically in unused space of house owners of big cities.
Holotec - an AR enabled game backed by blockchain technology which allows earning real world rewards and cryptocurrency while walking.
IoCars - a kit which allows remote autostart of cars by using a mobile app.
ForestBerg – a system designed to prevent unauthorized logging by detecting and locating chainsaw sound sources.
Cardy – a business networking tool, which enables exchanging digital business cards with people around you.
ERP Smart System - a comprehensive implementation service of ERP and CRM systems for companies.
Winenet - entrepreneur developing a platform for the infrequent wine drinkers, that finds themselves tarrying down the supermarket for the perfect wine.
Cookmenu – an application, making cooking easier than ever: search and find recipes according to the content of fridge.
HelloSIM - an international SIM card provider, which guarantees access to mobile and data roaming in more than 200 countries with cheapest prices.
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.