Recap: Seedstars Yerevan 2016

On June 25, 2016, the American University of Armenia hosted one of the most memorable events of the IT community in Yerevan - SeedStars Yerevan 2016. As an internationally renowned competition, SeedStars reveals innovative and groundbreaking startup projects and ideas from around the world. SeedStars’ goal is to bring the best startups forward and reward the winners of the competition with sponsorship, mentorship, and opportunities to develop their idea. This time, Armenia was the country that participated in this exploratory process of the most innovative ideas born in our country.

A total of twelve startups participated in the competition: ARMACAD, Bazillion Beings, Terreva, Early One, Embry, Evoca, Haystack.im, LiveBoard, Localz, Movietrip, QLIM and VQuick. Some of the ideas presented were already established and realized projects; some were still ideas that were waiting for support to be implemented. Each startup had five minutes to pitch, followed by a five-minute Q&A by the jury of experts. As hard as it was to present an entire concept in just five minutes, the startups managed to convey their ideas in a clear and concise way.

The teams were diverse in their backgrounds and goals; all twelve projects covered areas spanning communications and education to gardening and media. For instance, ARMACAD’s goal was to serve as a bridge between universities from around the world and students seeking financial aid for their education. Localz took the challenge to organize personalized tours for their users based on their preferences. MovieTrip went in a different direction, offering tours around memorable locations featured in famous movies. VQuick encouraged collaboration and creativity by giving the opportunity to co-create short videos and share them online. Bazillion Beings challenged the modern perception of technology by disrupting the applications system and introducing the next IT trend - user-generated bots.

The winner of the challenge received the opportunity to participate in the final round of SeedStars in Switzerland to fight for a $500,000 investment to develop their idea. The winner from Yerevan will represent the IT community of Armenia on the global SeedStars stage. The top three finalists of the Yerevan round were EarlyOne, Bazillion Beings, and QLim. EarlyOne - an application that allows customers to save time and avoid waiting in lines - took the first place title. The application is currently implemented by fifteen companies and successfully helps them retain more customers by decreasing the waiting time for their services.

SeedStars Yerevan 2016 is just the beginning for many of these projects. For now, Armenia’s tech community anxiously waits to see EarlyOne compete for international recognition and investment in Switzerland.

Post contributed by Marina Chilingaryan