Armenian Startup Ecosystem | VCs, Angels and Startup Programs
The words Venture Capital, Startup Accelerator, Incubator, and Startups become more and more popular in Armenia due to the development and promising results of the Armenian startup ecosystem.
Before presenting some of the major players in the market, let us tell you more about the differences of these entities.
What is a Startup?
1. Venture Capital
A Venture Capital or a VC is a type of private equity that investors give to those startups believed to have a long-lasting growth potential. Rather than individual investors, winning venture capital usually involves a whole firm – board members and professional investors. Their money comes from a variety of sources – corporations and individuals, private and public pension funds, foundations, etc. Venture capital usually deals with very large amounts of money – rather than seed funding, it can be multi-million deals.
VCs often require a controlling interest in your startup.
2. Angel Investors
Angel investors make a large amount of their own investment in an early stage startup. In return, they receive equity or convertible debt. Angel investors may have greater risk compared to banks or venture capitalists. But, at the same time, angel investors are not beholden to banks or institutions. Thus, they can invest their money as they see good.
To sum up, Angel investors focus on early-stage businesses, while VCs are willing to invest in startups when they show really compelling promise and growth potential.
3. Startup Accelerators and Incubators
The names are pleasingly self-descriptive.
Accelerators “accelerate” growth of an existing startup, while incubators “incubate” disruptive ideas to build out a business model and company. Both startup accelerators and incubator programs help young and promising startups with mentorship and sometimes finance.
Armenian Startup Ecosystem
During the last few years, the Armenian Startup ecosystem has played a prominent role in the development and growth of the local tech scene. Internationally recognized VCs, Startup Accelerators, and successful products born and developed in Armenia create a new dynamic vibe. Let’s see who are the major players in the market supporting local startups and helping them enter the international markets.
One of the most successful VCs in Armenia is HIVE Ventures, which, founded in 2014, aims to help the Armenian tech startups worldwide. Besides providing venture capital, Hive helps with mentorship and networking with tech leaders and founders based in Silicon Valley. Working with Hive Ventures is an excellent opportunity for Armenian startup products to succeed not only locally but also enter the global market.
Some of those successful startups who have worked with Hive Ventures are Krisp, Armacad, Abaka, and CodeSignal.
Granatus Ventures offers investments, networks, and expertise to startups from all over the world. With the help of Granatus, startups can enter the European, Asian, Russian, and North American markets. The team of Granatus Ventures values the startup passion and commitment. They think that the startup should have a realistic business model and financial projections and innovative thinking to succeed.
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SmartGateVC is a Bay Area and Armenia based pre-seed venture capital fund backed by Tim Draper and a network of investors and entrepreneurs. The key focus areas supported and promoted by the team is deep tech: AI, ML, Iot
Startups that have successfully collaborated with SmartGateVC team are Krisp, Podcastle AI, Embry, ForgeFiction.
Aybuben ventures core mission is to scale Armenian IT businesses worldwide, providing them with capital, expertise, exclusive market knowledge and worldwide network of interested partners and clients. Alexander Smbatyan, founding partner of Aybuben Ventures, said: “Our mission is to support Armenian entrepreneurs in the most rapidly growing tech industries with a core focus on artificial intelligence, machine learning and virtual reality.”
Business Angel Network of Armenia (BANA) is a network of investors, entrepreneurs and executives from Armenia and abroad interested in making investments in startup companies. In addition to capital, the members bring their expertise, experience and network to influence the success of the startups they invest in.
Foundation for Armenian Science and Technology (FAST) is a comprehensive platform to foster the technological and scientific breakthrough to Armenia by reviving the country’s strong science, technology, engineering, and mathematics traditions.
FAST is building an ecosystem of innovation to help Armenian scientists and technologists to success on the global stage. With a focus on entrepreneurial endeavors, FAST empowers innovators to bring cutting-edge, commercially viable, and globally competitive solutions to life.
Yerevan Startup Grind is a branch of the international community of startups, founders, innovators, and creators. Startup Grind educates, supports, and connects startups and entrepreneurs with various conferences and events. Yerevan Startup Grind partners with companies and platforms like ISTC (Innovation Solutions & Technology Center), Granatus Ventures and EU4Business.
Entrepreneurship and Production Innovation Center or more famous as EPIC is a startup incubator in American University of Armenia. EPIC offers mentorhsip to AUA students, alumni, and local entrepreneurs.
The platform has a one-of-a-kind prototyping lab. EPIC labs have 3D printers, scanners, CNC milling and vacuum casting machines and other facilities that allow entrepreneurs to work on new innovative products in a professional environment.
Epic has already helped dozens of startups, including Evi, Eventor, Hooop, and Styliish.
One of the largest technology business incubators and IT development agencies working in Armenia is the Enterprise Incubator Foundation. The EIF’s interests cover Information and Communication Technology, legal and educational reforms, startup funding and development of the local workforce. Their ultimate goal is to achieve ICT excellence by promoting Armenian startups, increasing competitiveness and conquering the global market.
Some successful startups that got EIF guidance: Chessify, Himnark, HireBee, Pixomatic, and Expper
We have shared the names of only some of the major players of the market. Thus, more and more heroes will be presented and featured very soon.
The Armenian startup ecosystem plays a vital role in the development of country’s tech scene. We are going to share the amazing results of local startup programs to motivate techies to come up with new game-changing products.
To sum up, if you have a good product idea, check these startup programs, find the people who share your interests and start turning ideas into cool startups.