YEREVAN — A Science and Technology Angels Network (STAN) has opened in Armenia by the initiative of the Foundation for Armenian Science and Technology (FAST). The network has announced the start of activity to the press today.
STAN is a group of 18 Armenian and Diaspora-Armenian investors who are going to provide financial and expert assistance to newly-established Armenian companies in the fields of data science, artificial intelligence, machine learning, biotechnology and microelectronics.
FAST CEO Armen Orujyan said they want to make Armenia a champion in the fields of science and innovation. “We are not here for six months, but for a long time and expect 10-15 years of engagement. We are here to bring changes in science and technologies. Armenians have a deep knowledge of science, culture, perhaps at present the education system is not at a high level, but the people’s culture is so that they want to use it. Of course, here there are some enterprises the field is not empty, but we want also to assist and encourage the others”, Armen Orujyan said.
FAST co-founder Arthur Alaverdyan has stressed the significance of such initiatives, noting they can solve concrete problems in the ecosystem and boost both business activity and science by assisting scientific startups. “It is extremely important to us that these businesses come from science, so that the invested money goes to science and a scientist who makes a discovery can commercialize it and take it to the global market. We aim to build connections between business and science,” said Alaverdyan.
STAN Co-chair Igor Khalatyan has noted that the network is aimed at creating an environment where entrepreneurs with ideas can find funding. “We can help with not just financing, but experience and knowledge as well. All 18 investors in our network are people with vast experience in various areas,” he said.
“We are not your typical ‘angels’. The ‘business angels’ invest in companies in the early stages, when the entrepreneur has realized the idea and needs additional funding. We focus on quality and not quantity, so we will prioritize startups with scientific and technical base that contribute to development of these areas not only in Armenia, but worldwide. We will give more than money: our time, knowledge, and experience,” said STAN Co-chair Ruben Arutyunyan.
The network has established the minimal annual investment from each member to be at USD 10,000 in the first four years of activity, and starting from the fifth year, the rate will be raised to USD 20,000.