On February 5 Science and Technology Angels Network (STAN), created by the initiative of the Foundation for Armenian Science and Technology (FAST), started its operation in Armenia. This initiative unites 18 investors and entrepreneurs of Armenian descent from Armenia and other countries.
Among Co-chairs of STAN is Vice-President of Oracle and founder of a number of startups Igor Khalatian, who climbed Mount Everest in 2002.
Mediamax talked to Igor Khalatian on STAN and prospects of IT development in Armenia.
Why did you decide to join STAN and what issues you hope to tackle with the help of this network?
I’ve been in this sphere for a long time now, and I observed that there is a lot of talent in Armenian IT.
Whenever I come to Armenia, many people approach saying: “We have this idea, how can we take it to the next level?” And I understand that some people have really great ideas, they are very good software developers, but they are lacking some components for really being successful: different aspects in patent law, sells, marketing, etc.
Taking into consideration all the mentioned, we decided to supplement our knowledge to Armenian startups and fund projects which we believe have future. Our goal is to become “a pipeline to success”, find the best ideas and develop them further so that Armenia becomes a known destination for IT and science.
I believe that Armenians have a great talent in this area. For example, why Armenians play chess so well? It’s hard to explain but there is something in the brain, which makes them best chess players.
Similarly, Armenians definitely have a talent in tech area. I see great potential here. That’s why it makes sense to create this structure and support them.
You were a startup founder too some time ago. How easy was it to find investors?
Yes, I started my own company in New York. I also went for different funds, which existed in U.S. They liked and funded the idea.
In U.S. there are many, many choices, but it is never easy, you have to convince them that your idea is the best.
The goal for our new network is to help have certain choices here, inside Armenia. So I would suggest startups to go ahead, represent us their ideas and get support.
What are STAN’s targets this year?
We want to start by really seeing how many companies there are and select the few which we will fund. I believe this will have an effect of the snowball and hopefully every year we will have more and more companies in the pipeline.
We are looking for early stage companies. Something that is not just an idea but an idea on which you have started working, probably you have a prototype, proof of concept. The companies which already have customers and have established are probably more interested in VC funding versus angels funding.
As soon as we start creating millionaires, people who will make a lot of money, apply their talent here, we will call it success. I think that is our goal – to make it possible for people who decide to stay in Armenia to become very successful.
Narine Daneghyan talked to Igor Khalatian