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ARMENIAN STARTUPS ADVANCE AS ENTREPRENEURSHIP WORLD CUP GLOBAL 100 FINALISTS

Two Armenian startups selected from 100,000 registrations in 200 countries will compete for a share of$1 million prize money and additional investment

YEREVAN, Armenia October 4 Two Armenia-based startups will compete in the Entrepreneurship World Cup (EWC) Global Finals, organizers announced today. They are among the 100 startups known collectively as the “Entrepreneurship World Cup 100 (EWC 100)” that advance to the next stage of the competition.

The Armenian startups joining the EWC 100 are: 

  • Denovo Sciences, a deep technology company that creates novel therapeutics using state-of-the-art AI technologies
  • Zoomerang, an  application for creating/editing state of art short-form videos

One hundred startups worldwide will compete in the Entrepreneurship World Cup virtual Global Quarter Finals with winners advancing to the Global Finals on November 17-18 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

The EWC is among the largest and most diverse pitch competitions globally, providing support programs to founders for future advancement. The EWC was launched back in 2019, having supported over 300,000 participants from 200 countries, provided $2 million awards in cash prizes alongside the support and services at the cost of $150 million.

As of 2021, 100,000 registrations have been received from 200 countries. At the National Finals, one thousand startups pitched in front of the jury composed of local entrepreneurship organizations across six continents plus the Middle East. The EWC Global 100 Finals include startups from Africa (11), Asia (26), Europe (22), Middle East (10), North America (13), Oceania (4), and South America (14).

The two national representative startups from Armenia – Denovo Sciences and Zoomerang have gone through the Accelerate 2 stage lasting two months. There were lectures provided once a week, the teams were connected to the special EWC chat group where discussions were held on a regular basis including the ones with the teams who have won in their respective country competitions. 

Vardan Harutyunyan and Mher Matevosyan from Denovo Sciences shared their experience of the Accelerate 2 program indicating the participation in a series of interesting sessions as highly useful in terms of peer to peer learning from the successes/failures of other venture founders.  

Marty Kaszubowski, the Executive Director for Innovation Initiatives in the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (IIE) at Old Dominion University (ODU) has been the mentor of Denovo Sciences for four weeks, the team is thankful for having such a responsive and supportive mentor, available for meetings, consultation, providing relevant advice throughout the program. The mentor himself had the opportunity of visiting Armenia back in 2010, when the ecosystem was rather immature, so he was interested in seeing what advances it has achieved since then, making comparisons between the past and current ecosystems existing in Armenia.

Denovo Sciences cherished high hopes to get into the Top 100 Finals, and eventually they were selected among the Top 100 Finals. More challenges to overcome – now aiming to be among the Top 25 Finalists who will go to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The 100 Finals will be given the opportunity to collaborate with the King Abdullah University of Sciences and Technology (KAUST) which has huge financial, network capacities to offer helping entrepreneurs meet the objectives within their startups, attract investors and partners. 

Denovo Sciences expresses their deep gratitude to the Entrepreneurship and Product Innovation Center (EPIC) of the American University of Armenia and the whole EWC Armenia National Leadership Committee  for the once in a lifetime opportunity of representing Armenia in front of the world. They feel a huge responsibility for this and will work hard not to disappoint their supporters’ expectations. 

Nejdeh Hovanessian, the Assistant Director of EPIC and EWC Armenia National Coordinator commented, “Both our teams are world class.  It is clear that they are well-equipped to compete with the best startups in the world – a credit to the thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem in Armenia.”

David Grigoryan, co-founder of Zoomerang was excited to participate in the Accelerate 2 program emphasizing the productive sessions the team had in the fields of business and technology, marketing, user behavior analyses and better messaging to the users. The sessions  had an introductory part where teams met one another, shared knowledge, and came up with new ideas.  David mentioned that there are multiple brilliant startups soon to be launched around the world.

The Zoomerang team still keeps in touch with their mentor – Sergio Mankita – a marketing and advertising specialist who assisted the team to better identify their target markets, improve messaging and positioning and craft their story for pitch decks. Only with the mentor’s valuable advice could the team review and improve their pitch, focusing on the technique of pitching in front of the investors, and the marketing strategy to follow. 

Prof. Michael Kouchakdjian, Director of EPIC commented, “We are so proud of these two teams.  They have worked very hard and no doubt they will continue to  represent Armenia well in the competition.  We wish them good luck.”

The EWC 100 will compete for a share of US$1 million in cash prizes – US$500,000 for first place, $250,000 for second place and $100,000 for third place. Cash prizes of US$100,000 will also be awarded to the top-scoring startups in the idea stage and social enterprise categories.

The EWC 100 Finalists will attend a virtual bootcamp on October 10-11, hosted by the Entrepreneurship Center at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), with experts to advance their business and pitching skills. A second virtual component will take place in late October and the top 25 startups will advance to the final stage of the competition in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia at the Misk Global Forum (November 17-18). 

The EWC is hosted globally by the Misk Global Forum, Global Entrepreneurship Network and The Global Education & Leadership Foundation. It is supported by global partners including One Valley, Entrepreneurs’ Organization, the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, GAN and Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs