New generation of startups showcased new technological solutions!
New startup bids to become the most favorite one for the people who feel uneasy at the kitchen and for the gourmets who prefer a variety of tasty meals every day. This application is called Cookmenu, a new venture offering various recipes with the ingredients you have at home.
''This is substantial assistance, especially for the women who are unable to cook anything in the kitchen. This application is for those who are getting married and can’t cook except, for example, fried potatoes. So, we suggest all of them use our application,'' said Narine Manukyan, the founder of Cookmenu.
Cookmenu was one of the 13 startups showcasing their products on May 30 at the American University of Armenia. 13 innovative technological solutions and apps on helping to organise the daily tasks and routine to successful networking were developed by the graduates of the Armenia Startup Academy, a project aimed to shape the newly formed companies and deliver sophisticated products to the local and international markets.
Armenia Startup Academy is the brainchild of the Catalyst foundation initiated by the founders of SmartGateVC and supported by EU4Business SMEDA project. The Academy was launched in October last year and is located in so-called Herohouse with “We push hero teams to the next level’’ ambitious slogan mentioned in the Academy’s official website.
The learning process in the Academy consists of three modules: initially, they zero in on startup diagnosis to find out ups and downs of the would-be companies. After that, they focus on market selection and strategy launch parts. Then, it is time for the preparation to market validation. The geography of mentors of the Academy is quite wide including European Union countries, Silicon Valley gurus from the U.S., and professionals even from Australia. Until now 36 startups have participated in the classes of the Academy while only 25 have succeeded to graduate.
“Four companies have already received funding, 7 of them are actively fundraising, and 8 of them will be ready for massive fundraising in 6 to 9 months,” said Hambardzum Kaghketsyan, the co-founder of Catalyst foundation.
The 13 teams were trained by the mentors and professionals of Armenia Startup Academy for 12 weeks since February. This is the group of the second batch of Armenia Startup Academy.
“Now we see the new generation of entrepreneurs who show their projects. Obviously, we have a very long way to go but their strong will to give it a try and move forward is the most motivating. We think it is very normal that some people will not succeed with their current projects but we know they will succeed in other projects as we see they have potential and this is what inspires us to work with them,” said Ashot Arzumanyan, the other co-founder of the Catalyst Foundation.
Armenia Startup Academy is supported by the European Union through its “Support to SME Development in Armenia” (EU-SMEDA) project, co-funded by Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by German Development Cooperation GIZ through the Private Sector Development in South Caucasus Programme. SMEDA is part of the EU4Business and EU4Innovation initiatives of the European Union.
“This program is very important for EU for many different reasons; because we believe in IT ecosystem, we believe that Armenia has an added value in technology. The most critical part of the IT development is ideation and pre-acceleration stage where people have to get together and stand between technology, market, and mentorship is the key to the success,” said Hoa-Binh Adjemian, the head of cooperation for the EU Delegation to Armenia.
According to Adjemian, European Union empowers agriculture, tourism, public finance management, and other crucial fields for the development of Armenia. However, they pay more attention to IT rather than other fields.
“IT is an important field, agriculture is an important field but the future of Armenia is not in agriculture, the future of Armenia lays in high-tech because of geographical location, because it is a landlocked country and because it has a potential of good mind and creativity. So, we believe that IT, creative industry are things that can be exported outside of Armenia independent of closed borders on the East and the West,” Adjemian said.
The significant evolvement of Armenian IT sector has been obvious also for Peer Priewich, EU- SMEDA's technical advisor. According to him, “Armenia has tremendous technology talent.’’ He highlighted that there are many gifted people in the field which was impressive for the Germans as well when 15 startups displayed their capacities during the visit to Berlin.
“Armenian startup ecosystem is very young. First startups are just a couple of years old and now this new generation represented their startups also today. They are still quite young and each year the system is growing. So, we consider this as an area where some work and improvement is needed but we are certain that in a couple of years there will be a lot of knowledge accumulated and there will be a lot of successful Armenian startups,” Priewich said.
One of the startups pitched on the stage is LuMan, the initiative of a vibrant team interested in child development. They want to produce a toy for children functioning with a mobile application. Parents can choose classes for their child in the application, put the phone on the face of the toy, and then LuMan will “communicate” with the child.
“The project will be developed by special games. LuMan will teach children through games. It will teach them, for example, what is the environment and how you should care about it,” said Viktoria Khechumyan, the founder of LuMan. According to Khechumyan, the team will develop the product in a way that the toy will be able to recognize the voice of its little friend and “talk” to him. The toy is designed for 3-6-years-old kids.
The other eye-catching product is Cardy. It uplifts the business communication and networking into another level. This is an application for the people who are shy enough for small talks in the events, do not know the people surrounding, and have no clue about their businesses. The application will help to fade out the awkward situation and take the most out of the opportunity given for a career growth or a potential successful deal.
''Cardy will show who you are surrounded with and easily connect you with them,'' said Mihran Sahakyan, the co-founder of Cardy.
And here is the full list of all projects with short descriptions:
LuMan – a Smart toy for kids, connected to the mobile app, empowered by the personalized educational program.
Cardy – a business networking tool, which enables exchanging digital business cards with people around you.
Cook menu – an application, making cooking easier than ever: search and find recipes according to the content of fridge.
Quest Tour – a game helping young people to discover countries and learn through the treasure-hunt game experience.
Winnet - entrepreneur developing a platform for the infrequent wine drinkers, that which finds themselves tarrying down the supermarket for the perfect wine.
Io Cars – a kit which allows remote autostart of cars by using a mobile app.
Chessmood – is an online store for chess enthusiasts, created by chess trainer with 10 years of experience.
ForestBerg – a system designed to prevent unauthorized logging by detecting and locating chainsaw sound sources.
AdvPortal – a web-based open marketplace to choose a location and order ad poster and banner with just a few clicks.
ForgeFiction– a blockchain technology-based platform which passes the process of book creation from individual’s hands to the community, bringing the talent of masses into a single creation.
Holotec – an AR-enabled game backed by blockchain technology which allows earning real-world rewards and cryptocurrency while walking.
ERP Smart System - a comprehensive implementation service of ERP and CRM systems for companies.
Growflex- Portable aquaponics system, with high production scale efficiency, able to grow leafy greens organically in unused space of house owners of big cities.
These products are ready to enter the market to find their customers. The participants of the second round have received certain points for their product development on a regular basis. This will enable startups with the highest number of points to travel to the Silicon Valley for 5 weeks to take part in Draper University startup educational program.
The academy will initiate new projects in summer due to which new companies will be founded. In the autumn Armenia Startup Academy will announce about new admissions.
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