On April 9, over 150 Armenian techies from around the world gathered in Silicon Valley for the HyeTech Showcase - http://showcase.hyetech.org/, and HIVE Pitch Competition - http://hivefund.co/blog/2016/3/announcing-hive-pitch-competition-hyetech-showcase. The full-day event began with an Exhibition of Armenian startups and support organizations tabling to share their offerings and pitch to those around the venue hall.
After lunch, participants headed across the University of California, Berkeley campus to a series of panels and chats with major players in the Armenian startup scene. Event organizer Nerses Ohanyan led a fireside chat discussion with entrepreneur David Yang, founder of international software company ABBYY - http://www.abbyy.com/?adw=cj. David spoke about the future of bots and AI, the importance of education to build the next generation of Armenian creatives, and how startups can make Armenia’s economy to the next level.
Following this session, Armen Berjikly, Founder and CEO of Kanjoya - http://www.kanjoya.com/, moderated a fireside chat titled, “Building Value-Based Companies” with entrepreneurs Suren Markosian, Founder of Epic! - https://www.getepic.com/, Razmig Hovaghimian, Founder of Viki - https://www.viki.com/, and Vahe Kuzoyan, Cofounder of ServiceTitan - https://servicetitan.com/demo. The panelists chatted about the ups and downs of founding and building their companies as well as the benefits of being an entrepreneur in the Armenian community.
Entrepreneur Immersion Program (EIP)
A week prior to the Showcase, 15 entrepreneurs flew to California for a week of tech tours, workshops, and training sessions from LA to San Francisco. Participants visited Google, Stanford d.School - http://dschool.stanford.edu/, Lyft - https://www.lyft.com/drivers/RAFAEL79, 500 Startups - http://500.co/, ServiceTitan, DLA Piper, and PicsArt - https://picsart.com/, among others. During the week, HIVE Partner, Nina Achadjian - http://hivefund.co/nina-bio worked closely with the teams to perfect their pitches for the HIVE Pitch Competition during the HyeTech Showcase. The top startup to pitch would be selected for a $50k investment from HIVE.
In the afternoon of the main event, 10 startups from the EIP took to the stage to pitch their startups to the judges and crowd. The judging panel consisted of Nina Achadjian, HIVE Partner and Principal at Cota Capital - http://cotacapital.com/, Daniil Stolyarov, Director of Almaz Capital - http://www.almazcapital.com/, Heather Crawford of Band of Angels - https://www.bandangels.com/, George Arabian, Managing Partner at Steelhead Ventures - http://www.steelheadvc.com/, and Diana Moldavsky, Partner at 500 Startups.
After each startup founder pitched for two minutes, the judges selected three for further questioning: SkyCryptor - https://www.skycryptor.com/, EarlyOne - http://limetech.am/, and ARMACAD. After five minutes of questioning for each of the three founders, the judges deliberated and picked ARMACAD to receive the $50k investment from HIVE. We are excited to work with Khachik Gevorgyan and his team to take ARMACAD forward.
Investing in Armenian Entrepreneurs
To close out the Showcase event, Roger Strauch, Chairman of The Roda Group - http://www.rodagroup.com/, moderated a panel of investors focused on Armenian startups. The panel included Nina Achadjian, Adam Kablanian, Chairman of the Board at Paradromics - https://www.paradromics.com/, and Manuk Hergnyan, Cofounder and Managing Partner at Granatus Ventures - http://www.granatusventures.com/. The group discussed opportunities and challenges to investing in Armenia as well as what industries they are keeping an eye on for interesting opportunities.
We look forward to following the startup teams present at the Showcase as they continue to scale their efforts and reach new markets. To watch the full recording of the event, click here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wOqw5y7WiIE.