YEREVAN (Arka) — Russia-based businessman and philanthropist, co-founder of “Initiatives for the Development of Armenia” (IDeA) Ruben Vardanyan said in an interview that the IDeA Foundation, along with its partners, is finalizing requirements for the launch of IDeA’s new project, the Foundation for Armenian Science and Technology (FAST), aimed at developing the means for technological innovation in Armenia and the mobilization of scientific, technological and financial resources of the Armenian and international communities.
According to Mr. Vardanyan, FAST will become a platform for bringing about the technological breakthrough in Armenia in the areas of IT and computer science, artificial intelligence, high-tech materials, robotics, biotechnology, advanced engineering and manufacturing technologies.
’We are looking at the possibility of at first providing $10 million towards developing the fund and then launching the fund globally with the goal of raising $200 million within three years. Within the model that we are discussing, FAST can become a mixed financial vehicle, which provides both research grants and venture financing. The Advisory Board will undertake the fund’s management. Within this board, besides the founders, there will be prominent Armenians from Armenia and abroad with a successful track record in science, technology, venture capital and industry. The fund will be subject to high standards of effectiveness, transparency and independence,’ he said.
With a total wealth estimated at $950 million, Ruben Vardanyan is 81st in Forbes magazine’s list of 200 richest businessmen of Russia in 2016. He is also the founder of the first Armenian UWC Dilijan College.