2016 HIVE Year in Review

On the Ecosystem
2016 has been an extremely busy year for HIVE. We have been overwhelmingly impressed by the maturation of the Armenian startup ecosystem and the quality of startups coming out of Armenia. EIF summed up the health of the IT sector in Armenia which ‘made over USD 500 million in 2016, and the sector’s effect on GDP showed about 6%. There are nearly 540 IT companies in Armenia, and 16,000 specialists are involved in the sector’ We are currently working to connect startups looking to hire engineers with ‘Minds’ an IT Recruiter in Armenia. We are also connecting startups looking to outsource work to Armenia with HEX Division and Instigate Mobile.

On Our Team
In March, 2016 we announced our new focus on investment in Armenian entrepreneurs, since then we have evaluated almost 200 startups, double what we saw from last year!  We formalized our partnership with Adam Kablanian, Serial entrepreneur, from an advisory position to a Partner role. We also brought on Associate, Alicia Garabedian from Morgan Stanley in Chicago to join our team as the first full time associate working on operations and investment deal flow. Together we bring the financial expertise, tech experience, venture capital background, and silicon valley presence to connect Armenian startups to the best network and investment opportunities.

On Events
On April 9th we participated in the HyeTech Showcase and HIVE Pitch competition, where over 150 Armenian techies from around the world gathered together for a full-day event. 10 startups from Armenia took the stage to pitch to the judging panel that included HIVE Ventures, Almaz Capital, Steelhead Ventures, and 500 Startups. Armacad, platform for universities to present scholarships, conferences and grants to an international audience, was chosen for investment and joined our Investment Portfolio.

On October 15th, HIVE brought together leading technologists, startup founders, and venture capitalists to Yerevan for Silicon Valley Unleashed: Inside Tech's Greatest Minds. The Event was hosted at TUMO Center for Creative Technologies. After the success of the HIVE Summit in 2015, our mission was to create another impactful experience to bridge the gap between Silicon Valley and Armenia.  With over 500 applications to attend, the sold-out event was full of Armenia’s best startup Founders, developers, software engineers and technology leaders. The HIVE Event brought together over 275 innovators eager to build connections with international leaders and benefit from the Speakers' expertise. We will be making this an annual event- so mark your calendars for next year!!

On Investments
We have invested in 6 new portfolio companies and participated in a follow-on round. We’re lucky enough to work with some of the brightest entrepreneurs in Armenia and are actively looking to invest in other brilliant Founders. (Investments below are in chronological order)

  • ARMACAD: platform for universities to present scholarships, conferences, and grants to an international audience. 
  • Eventgeek:  is an event planning/management SaaS tool. CTO is based in Armenia and went through Y Combinator. CEO of Eventbrite also invested.  
  • Bazillion Beings: is building a bot marketplace democratizing bot development for non-developers. Team based in entirely in Armenia, Founder is an MIT graduate.
  • Embodied: is building autonomous personal robots. Founder is Iranian-Armenian and former CTO of iRobot (took Roomba vacuum commercial). Other investors include Intel Capital & Amazon Ventures.
  • IntelinAir: SaaS platform for farming aerial data + analytics via drones.  Founder is Iranian-Armenian with engineers in Armenia.
  • CodeFights: Technical code games to test real ability of engineers and sell data to recruiters.  Founder was born and raised in Armenia, went to MIT and worked at Google. Codefights’ entire development team is in Armenia and the company just raised a $10M Series A led by e.ventures.
  • Stealth Mode: We will be announcing our most recent investment in a couple of months!

On 2017
We continue our focus on building out the Armenian ecosystem by forming relationships with Venture Capital funds in the CIS/CEE region who are looking to invest in Armenian startups. We have an extensive list of companies in later stages of diligence and hope to deploy capital in several other investment opportunities to expand the HIVE Portfolio. We are particularly interested in startups focused on Machine Learning, VR/AR, and AI. If you are interested in applying for investment reach out to us here!

If your team does not meet our criteria today, or is not selected to join our portfolio, we still want to support you by helping you find a mentor, relevant connections, other funding sources, or new team members. Let us know how we can support your team on our contact page.