Building a Strong Startup Ecosystem in Armenia

14 January, 2022

A few years ago, it was very difficult for early-stage startups in Armenia to gain investment. A lot of startups were searching for financial assistance in other countries, thus migrating, or relocating for better investment opportunities. This was a huge problem for the Armenian startup ecosystem because due to the lack of investment opportunities Armenia was losing its talents.

The investment landscape has changed dramatically in the last few years. Back in 2013, there was only one venture capital fund and maybe a few independent investors, while now there are already three angel networks and five venture capital funds.

BANA – Business Angel Network in Armenia was the first angel network which started to build an early-stage investment ecosystem and promote the angel investing culture in Armenia since 2017.

In 2021, BANA broke a new record in Angel Investment in Armenia. In the duration of one year, about $1 million was invested and the largest angel round to date in Armenia was closed.

Early-stage investors are very important for the growth of the startup ecosystem. As early-stage investors are the first people who believe in the viability and future of the company, they play a vital role in the creation of emerging startups in the overall ecosystem.

Having already invested in 20 startups, and with a network of 40+ angel investors, BANA promotes angel investing through various programs one of which is ESIC – Early Stage Investment Conference conducted annually.

As Armenia is a small country and the market is also small, Armenian entrepreneurs have a global mindset to enter international markets. This is one of the principal factors for success. Having a clear vision to guide Armenian startups into global markets, SAP Startup Factory, an acceleration program in cooperation with software giant SAP, gives access to the biggest B2B customer base, actively supports to increase success in the market, gives an architectural advisory for developing integration with SAP products, and provides knowledge support from SAP Learning Hub.

SAP Startup Factory by BANA, brought together top international and local mentors, SAP professionals, leading experts, and a strong network of startup expertise.

As the world’s largest provider of enterprise application software, SAP has 440,000 customers and 150B+ dollars valuation. SAP has invested in 110 tech startups and acquired 70+ startups.

To promote early-stage startups in Armenia, BANA Startup Incubator was launched with all necessary services and resources for entrepreneurs to increase their chances of scaling up and presenting their products/services to their potential investors.

Another program, Startup Movement, in cooperation with UEICT was initiated to create and develop an entrepreneurial ecosystem in Armenian universities.

To expand ecosystem-building activities also through regions, a new incubation program started specifically for SMEs from the Lori region. 12 companies receive mentorship and education from experienced businessmen and coaches from Armenia.

BANA promotes startup education by organizing a set of webinars and interviews. ScaleUp webinars and More Than Business interviews educate and inspire startups and individuals to set bigger goals and achieve new heights.

Even though 2021 was full of new programs and events, in 2022 BANA plans bigger steps to achieve its mission of connecting leading angel investors from around the world with the brightest Armenian entrepreneurs.