Catalyst Foundation is established by the founding partners of SmartGateVC for running game-changing programs which will feed the Armenian startup ecosystem with relevant skillset and pipeline of capable companies.

 

OUR INITIATIVES

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A game-changing entrepreneurship and startup education program, which aims to shape Armenia’s innovative future. Being the leading startup program in Armenia, it feeds startup ecosystem with the pipeline of capable companies, prepares startups to raise their pre-seed rounds and expand to global markets through its Pre-acceleration and Traction programs. As of May 2021, it has run 6 batches of Pre-acceleration and 1 batch of  Traction program with a total of 83 alumni companies, which have already raised $8m+ since its inception in October 2017.  

Initially, the Academy was launched with the support of the EU-SMEDA Project within the EU4Business initiative. Following batches have been implemented in collaborations with EFSE Entrepreneurship Academy, EU-ITTD Project within the EU4Business initiative and Viva-MTS.

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A unique innovation hub that hosts all the mentioned initiatives and is being home for a number of deep tech startups. It is a tech and entrepreneurship space in Yerevan with a creative atmosphere and an entrepreneurial spirit for hero teams with globally competitive ideas.

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A startup community initiative to boost healthy entrepreneurship in Armenian universities. Students learn to take their ideas from concept to prototype in 54 hours and shape their ideas into feasible projects together with Armenian tech entrepreneurs, professionals and investors. SBW is being organized 2-4 times each year in collaboration with university startup incubators and entrepreneurship centers. More than 100 students from more than 10 universities participate in each event. Ultimate goal of the event is to seed entrepreneurship in students’ hearts that flash bright in 5-7 years.

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AI Incubator is a 26-week incubation program designed to help create scalable business solutions and to tighten the collaboration between universities and businesses. During the program, companies with Data or AI R&D needs work with students from leading universities under the supervision of experienced AI experts/research supervisors. The first 2 batches of the program involved 23 companies and 40 researchers from Computer Science and Data Science departments of Armenian universities. 
The main tracks include Cryptocurrency, Robotics, Marketing Automation, Cybersecurity, Information Technologies, Computational Biology, Quantum Computing, Media.

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The aim of the school is to train and develop community of young professionals to get involved in startups, startup programs, and investment vehicles as well as assist the scientific community in commercialization of IP. Throughout the 8-week programs students explore 9 different directions that are rarely available in academic education. The directions are Business Intelligence and Customer Development, Growth Hacking, Sales, Public Relations (PR), Product Management, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and UI/UX Design.

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#landed brings together talented people to build winning teams. It is an initiative of SmartGateVC supporting professionals in becoming a true part of Armenian tech. The program is designed for engineers and professionals in business development, marketing, sales, growth hacking, product management & other domains.

CO-ORGANISED EVENTS

 
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STCC

Science and Technology Convergence Conference is an annual conference co-organised by the IIAP of National Academy of Science of Armenia and Catalyst Foundation. It aims to unite researchers and engineers of different disciplines from both industry and academia in one shared platform to share experiences and foresee the future of fundamental and applied research in Armenia. Conference main focus areas Machine Learning, Electronic Design Automation, Robotics and IoT, Computational Biology, Quantum Computing, Computer Vision.

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ArmSec conference is the premier annual international cybersecurity conference aiming at strengthening the cybersecurity community in Armenia and discussing the latest cybersecurity problems.

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ArmSec CTF

CTF is the premier cybersecurity hacking competition of Armenia. It is a 24-hour spirit competition to discover and solve real-life computer-security problems, hack network infrastructures, write-up detailed report on hacking steps, etc.

IMPLEMENTED PROJECTS

 
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HyeTech Entrepreneur Immersion Program is a 10-days intensive program in Los Angeles and Silicon Valley, designed to provide promising Armenian startup founders the opportunity to learn what in Silicon Valley is conducive for global startups, discover key experts and business leaders in their industry, experience tempo and highly competitive nature of building startups in 2019, feel the vibes and dynamics of SV culture.

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The ImpactAim venture acceleration program is a unique opportunity to leverage the UNDP network for scaling up businesses in emerging markets. It is the first impact accelerator in Armenia designed to drive the scale-up of local and international impact ventures. GovTech Accelerator, is a joint initiative of ImpactAim, Hero House, Ministry of High-Tech Industry, and Armenia National Sustainable Development Goals Lab. The program aims to promote cooperation between public and private sectors by engaging startups in developing GovTech solutions, which can improve the operations system of the government, make the society more engaged, increase governmental services’ efficiency, transparency and accountability. It is a 12-week program with 3 tracks: business, technology and impact.

 

OUR PARTNERS

Ecosystem Partners

EU4Business
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GIZ
UNDP

Cloud Partners

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Our cloud infrastructure partners:

  • $120,000 worth of Microsoft Azure credits

  • $100,000 worth of DigitalOcean credits

  • $120,000 worth of IBM credits

  • $100,000 worth of AWS Activate credits

AWS

Other Partners

HIGHLIGHTS

 
Batch 6 Demo Day

April 17, 2021

In January 2021, Armenia Startup Academy launched its sixth batch with 16 capable teams. The Digital Demo Day of the batch showcased 12 startups innovating in robotics, security, biotech, healthtech, VR technologies, and many more.

Traction

June 29, 2020

The first Traction program of Armenia Startup Academy was implemented during Summer 2020. It is a 10-week mentorship-based program designed to help companies at post-prototype stage with early traction to accelerate their growth and raise their first or follow-on rounds. The first cohort of 9 companies reflected a diverse range of startups that bring new waves of innovation in industries such as edutech, transportation, media, HR, marketing and more.

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Science and Technology Convergence Conference 2019

October 15, 2019

Science and Technology Convergence Conference 2019 was held on October 11-12, where he speakers shared their experiences in relevant fields for potential collaboration or potential replication of their experience in Armenia. There were 20 individual presentations given by keynote speakers, 7 panel discussions, and 2 poster sessions, where emerging local deep-tech startups presented their ideas for deep technical discussions.

Batch 4 Demo Day

June 2, 2019

The fourth cycle of Armenia Startup Academy was launched on March 5 and 20 startups have been selected to participate in the 12-week pre-acceleration program. On May 29, 15 startups graduated from the program and presented their pitches in front of interested investors, friends and the community.

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The Third Demo Day of Armenia Startup Academy

January 23, 2019

Back on October 1, the third cycle of the program was launched and 17 startups have been selected to participate in a 3-month Academy tailored for high-tech companies and startups. The third Demo Day took place on January 19 and 13 startups have successfully graduated from the Academy.

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#landed brings together talented people to build winning teams

October 20, 2018

SmartGateVC announced the launch of the #landed program, a project to connect Armenians in tech all around the world with the tech community in Armenia. With individual, one-on-one support, #landed brings together talented people with solid experience to build winning teams.

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Tim Draper invests in SmartGateVC

February 17, 2018

2018 starts with a new and bright page for Armenia. Tim Draper noticed the emerging opportunities evolving from here and SmartGateVC is delighted to announce an investment from Tim Draper.

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Grand Opening of the Armenia Startup Academy

December 12, 2017

On December 12, 2017 the Catalyst Foundation introduced the Armenia Startup Academy and the Hero House to the wider public and the stakeholders of the Armenian startup community.

AI Incubator

HH AI Incubation Program Batch 2 Demo Day

January  27, 2021

EFSE Entrepreneurship Academy and SmartGateVC joined forces for the second batch of the Hero House AI Incubator Program. Overall 12 companies, 24 student-researchers, 7 AI research supervisors, and 2 leading chief scientists worked on creating AI solutions to increase the scalability of the participant startups and introduce new business models for them. The Demo Day showcased the results of the program.

B5

May 12, 2020

In December 2019, Armenia Startup Academy launched its fifth batch for a selected group of 18 promising and capable startups. The Demo Day of the batch was held remotely on account of COVID-19 outbreak showcasing 13 startups from   a diverse set of industries ranging from healthtech, media and communications, childcare, smart homes, sharing economies, etc.

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The Demo Day of Hero House AI Incubation program

October 3, 2019

The 12-week AI Incubation program was finalized with a Demo Day on September 30, where 7 graduate companies and 11 researchers delivered presentations summing up their progress and collaboration outcomes. The program kick-started in July aimed at bringing the industry and academia into a collaboration platform for creating scalable business solutions powered by the state of the art technology.

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March 16, 2019

On March 15, the EU Delegation and EU Ambassador to Armenia Piotr Świtalski visited Hero House to learn more about EU supported projects Armenia Startup Academy and Hero House as well as to get acquainted with the companies and startups which have received technical and financial support in the framework of the European Union's "Support to SME Development in Armenia" (EU-SMEDA) project. 

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The Startup Scene of New Armenia: from Source of Talent to Home for Talent

January 17, 2019

In October 2017 we published Armenian startup ecosystem: open secrets, big opportunities. This article is intended to provide a high level review of the developments since then in the light of emerging new trends and opportunities.

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The Second Demo Day of the Armenia Startup Academy

June 02, 2018

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. 

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The First Demo Day of the Armenia Startup Academy

February 06, 2018

Armenia Startup Academy Demo Day took place on February 3, 2018 at the American University of Armenia. The program lasted for 12 weeks which included overall 43 lectures and workshops delivered by field professionals from Armenia, Europe, United States, Australia, and more than 150 one-on-one mentorship meetings.

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Official Opening of ImpactAim Venture Accelerator

December 11, 2017

The UNDP-initiated Accelerator Project will be implemented jointly with ImpactHub Yerevan and Catalyst Foundation. 96 applications from 25 countries worldwide have been received for the first round of ImpactAim Accelerator. The first stage of the project was launched in November 2017, and will last for 12 weeks, involving 7 business entities and 2 companies as associate participants.

VIDEO GALLERY

 
Science and Technology Convergence Conference (#STCC19) - Keynote Speakers
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Science and Technology Convergence Conference (#STCC19) - Keynote Speakers

The European Union, through its “Support to SME Development in Armenia” (EU-SMEDA) project, supported the third “Science and Technology Convergence Conference”, which took place on October 11-12, 2019. It is an annual conference co-organized by the IIAP of NAS RA and SmartGateVC. The conference united researchers and engineers of different disciplines from both industry and academia in one shared platform to share experiences and foresee the future of fundamental and applied research in Armenia. Some of the keynote speakers of STCC 2019 were: - Michael Kass, Distinguished Engineer at NVIDIA, talked about Artificial Intelligence and 3D Computer Vision. Kass also shared his experience in 3D Computer Vision during a 1-1 meetup with Armenia based Perception lab․ They also discussed future collaboration opportunities. - Garegin Papoian, Monroe Martin Professor at the University of Maryland, presented the vision towards Predictive Computational Modeling of Human Cells. He will spend six months in Armenia to talk about research collaborations and start sharing his experience with interested researchers. - Ara Markosian, Head of Armenia Operations at Xilinx talked about the link between science and industry and shared the case of the Armenian EDA industry. He also shared the news of Xilinx now setting up operations in Armenia. - Anthony Miller, Managing Partner at Verify Markets presented Data Science Opportunities in Market Research and also concentrated on opportunities of collaboration with Armenia. - Sergey Kuprienko, General Manager of Research at Ring talked about effectively organizing Machine Learning and Computer Vision related research projects, which is useful both for the industry and academia representatives. - Jovan Stojanovic, CEO at Wonderland AI, lead of Belgrade AI, Christophe Zoghbi, AI Consultant at Ticketless, lead of Beirut AI, Bagher BabaAli, Assistant Professor at the University of Tehran and Areg Gevorgyan, CEO at Innovative Solutions and Technologies Center presented their local Machine Learning communities and opportunities for collaboration - Sos Agaian, Distinguished Professor of Computer Science at the City University of New York (CUNY), Naira Hovakimyan, Grafton and Wilkins professor of MechSE at UIUC and Co- founder & Chief Scientist at IntelinAir, Karen Egiazairian, Professor at Tampere University of Technology, Will Zeng, Adjunct Lecturer at Stanford University, initiator of Unitary Fund shared their experiences in relevant fields, presented requirements for future collaborations and opportunities to work with Armenia.
Science and Technology Convergence Conference (#STCC19) - 7 Theme Panel Discussions
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Science and Technology Convergence Conference (#STCC19) - 7 Theme Panel Discussions

The European Union, through its “Support to SME Development in Armenia” (EU-SMEDA) project, supported the third “Science and Technology Convergence Conference”, which took place on October 11- 12, 2019. It is an annual conference co-organized by the IIAP of NAS RA and SmartGateVC. The conference united researchers and engineers of different disciplines from both industry and academia in one shared platform to share experiences and foresee the future of fundamental and applied research in Armenia. 50 keynote speakers gathered over panel discussions on the following topics: - Science Funding and Industry Collaboration Models The discussion proposed the need to create a holistic system of talent flow, funding distribution, government support and industry opportunities. - Towards Competitive Science Funding in Armenia The panel explored some competitive science funding models possible to implement in Armenia and made references to what the funding mechanisms currently look like. - Investing in Deep Tech The panelists talked about the current investment imperatives for deep tech and the rudiments of investment decisions․ The discussion uncovered important messages for the scientific community to develop new and investable research ideas. - The Challenges of Industry-Academia Collaboration in Post-Soviet Space The panelists shared a floor to discuss the challenges present for industry-academia collaboration given a post-soviet environment. - Repatriation of Scientists: Imperative and Challenges During the panel young scientists shared their insights on the significance and fundamental challenges of repatriation. - Computational Biology: a Driver for Biotech Industry The main topic of the panel was how this new promising industry will evolve within Armenia, and how it will impact the growth of Biotech. - Quantum Computing: Strategies Armenia can adopt for Quantum Computing The panelists discussed the opportunities lying behind Quantum Computing and what strategies Armenia needs to employ in order to sustain and further boost its growth.