Startup Boost Weekend: AUA and RAU Students Team Up to Spark Innovation

Yerevan, Armenia– On March 17-19, the Entrepreneurship and Product Innovation Center of AUA (EPIC) jointly with Russian-Armenian University (RAU) organized the Startup Boost Weekend at RAU. Startup Boost Weekend was a three-day grassroots event dedicated to fostering the development of startup culture among Armenian students. The event was the first of its kind in Armenia to specifically target university students and encouraging startup culture in academic environments.

The Startup Boost Weekend created a fun and engaging environment for changemaker students of all backgrounds. Young software developers, designers, marketers, and entrepreneurs came together to team up and build new startups in just 54 hours. Here, students actively engaged in activities such as rapid-fire startup pitches, team formation, customer development, prototype building, UI/UX design, business model generation, mentor feedback from experts, and concluded with a judging session.

A formidable panel of mentors joined the event to coach the participants and determine the winning teams: Gevorg Safaryan (LimeTech, Early One), Khachatur Grigoryan (ggTaxi), Rouben Meschian (Cambridge Semantics), Garik Petrosyan (Essential Solutions), Artashes Vardanyan (MIC), Tigran Terian (Vitruvian Networks), Sereg Navasardyan (Pechenu Bagher), Karen Sarkavagyan (Jur-Jur, AUA), Adam Mathias Bittlingmayer (SignalN, formerly Google), as well as others led mentorship sessions that focused on customer development and prototyping.

Sunday picked up with a mentorship session on pitching and pitch deck preparation led by Sergey Bogdanov (YellowRockets), Arkadiy Seleznev (Startup Samara), Valeria Arzangulyan (Granatus Ventures), and others. Later, the teams pitched in front of a jury panel with Armine Saidi (WiCastr), Vazgen Hakobjanyan (Teamable), Gevorg Safaryan (EarlyOne), Peer Priewich (GIZ), and Artashes Vardanyan (MIC). When sharing his impressions, Mr. Bogdanov noted that he was pleasantly surprised to see local Armenian startups with global ambitions.

After being reviewed by panelists, the top three startups ideas were selected. The Bridge, a platform that connects students with employers, was awarded first place which included a cash prize of $600. Aram Keryan, Operations Manager at the EPIC, noted that “The winning team will also be accepted in EPIC’s Startup Incubation Program, and will have an opportunity to present their project at the Sevan Startup Summit.”

Second place was awarded to the Send to Soldier startup. The team won a cash prize of $400 and a subscription of books. Finally, third place was awarded to the team representing the Quick Survey startup who also received a subscription to startup-related literature.

Both university’s are intent on continuing their joint efforts in organizing more events dedicated to encouraging start up environments and innovative ideas in a university setting.  

The event was sponsored by Pepsi Armenia and JurJur and photos were taken by AUA’s Megapixel Photography Club.

Founded in 1991, the American University of Armenia (AUA) is a private, independent university located in Yerevan, Armenia and affiliated with the University of California. AUA provides a global education in Armenia and the region, offering high-quality, graduate and undergraduate studies, encouraging civic engagement, and promoting public service and democratic values.