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EPIC Startup Teams Win €40,000 in Grants from EU4Business

YEREVAN, Armenia ‒ The American University of Armenia (AUA) is proud to share that three startup teams of the Entrepreneurship and Product Innovation Center (EPIC) were among the fifteen winners of the EU4Business Science and Technology Entrepreneurship (EU4Business STEP2) grant competition, announced on November 27, 2018. They are RendChain, COWnet, and Breedge. The first two startups are currently enrolled in the EPIC Fall 2018 Incubator program.

The EU4Business STEP2 grant competition aims at promoting entrepreneurship and advancing innovative technology-driven ideas in Armenia. It is designed to help startup teams, innovators, scientists, engineers, researchers, and entrepreneurs to create new ventures and move their products to market.

Twenty-nine shortlisted startup teams and companies pitched their innovative ideas and products in the competition’s final stage. The jury consisted of local and foreign entrepreneurs.

The founder of RendChain, Arman Sargsyan remarked: “Armenia is developing much faster than we think, and we are here to set this growth in the right direction. I am thrilled by the opportunity our team received. We put our hearts into this idea and we are definitely on the path to becoming the first Armenian unicorn company. I am thankful to AUA and EPIC for all the support we have received in this rollercoaster ride.” RendChain brings together idle computers worldwide into one single system and enables the aggregate power to be used for Rendering, Machine Learning, AI, VR/AR technologies. RendChain plans to move into neuro-physics and other complex scientific computations.   

“At the beginning I was not even sure whether I should apply or not, but my friends in EPIC convinced me to do so. It was my first time pitching in front of such a large audience and jury, so of course, it was nerve-racking. But as I was very confident about my product, I think I was able to present it well,” told Sargis Keveyan, Founder of COWnet. The COWnet device will be the first monitoring device in this region’s livestock industry, and will track cows’ body temperature, heart rate, level of oxygen in the blood, calorie level, and other variables, thereby revealing health problems as soon as symptoms occur.

Breedge is an EPIC first generation startup team from the Spring 2017 cohort. The core members of the team are students from the AUA Akian College of Science and Engineering (CSE). It has created a cloud-based SaaS platform that helps employers to reach, assess and match students with open positions in their companies. The team also helps to ensure best-fit of culture and work-environment. Currently, Breedge serves more than 80 companies and has placed more than 130 students in jobs and internships.  Breedge is profitable and growing rapidly.

“We are extremely gratified by the success of these teams. They are reaping the results of their hard work. The exposure and experience they’ve received during this competitive process is invaluable. The funding will help propel them forward to the next phase of development of their respective ventures,” remarked Prof. Michael Kouchakdjian, Director of EPIC.  

The Entrepreneurship and Product Innovation Center (EPIC) is a platform for promoting entrepreneurial education, cross-disciplinary collaboration, and startup venture incubation. EPIC provides an ecosystem for the American University of Armenia’s (AUA) emerging entrepreneurs consisting of first-class facilities and collaborative workspace, programs and events, and a network of mentors, advisors and investors. EPIC fosters the understanding and application of entrepreneurship with students and faculty at AUA to craft high-impact multidisciplinary ventures.