EPIC Virtual Demo Day Showcases Spring Startups3 min read
YEREVAN, Armenia – On June 11, 2020, the Entrepreneurship and Product Innovation Center (EPIC) of the American University of Armenia (AUA) held its first virtual Demo Day for the Spring 2020 Incubation Program participants. The event gave EPIC startup teams the opportunity to pitch their business ideas online to investors, mentors, accelerators, as well as to AUA community members and supporters.
The Spring 2020 batch of startups had embarked on their exciting entrepreneurial journey. Earlier this year the Program commenced in March 2020 with the face-to-face kick-off event, followed by workshops, team-building activities, and entrepreneurship hack nights. In the following month, all activities transitioned to online.
In addition to biweekly workshops and one-on-one discussions with instructors and the EPIC team, the Program organized Fireside Chats and Entrepreneurship Hack Nights. These events enabled the startup teams to expand their networks by connecting with experienced businesspeople with whom they could discuss the challenges they have encountered and the experiences they have gained on their entrepreneurial journey.
On Demo Day, eight teams presented their innovative startups. For the first time, the startup teams had to pitch their ventures to a virtual audience, yet another challenge that they had to overcome. In the established tradition, the Michael Agbabian EPIC Seed Fund Award and the EPIC Innovator Prize were awarded to the top two startups.
The Michael Agbabian EPIC Seed Fund Award went to Styliish — a mobile virtual wardrobe application that will help people style themselves with the assistance of an AI personal stylist accessible via the app. This award will help Styliish kick-start its efforts to secure more funding to launch the startup. “EPIC’s constant support and motivation were amazing for the start of our journey. Within this short period of time, EPIC has become a very special part of our lives. Even though we did not get to work on campus as much as we would have liked, we still were able to stay connected to EPIC. From day one, our goal was to become EPIC’s success story, and the prize has only increased our sense of responsibility and motivation. We will do everything it takes to rise to the top of EPIC’s success stories and make the Center proud,” mentioned Gurgen Khasapetyan (AUA BAB ‘20), CEO of Styliish.
The EPIC Innovator Prize was awarded to Spok — an AI-driven conversational platform that helps adult users to pick up a new language through spoken conversations. Spok is particularly special and unique for EPIC, being the first startup initiated by an AUA professor. “EPIC has been instrumental in transforming our startup and taking us to the stage of having a working prototype ready. Even though I’ve been part of the AUA community as a faculty member for years, EPIC has enriched our network, and importantly for me, shaped my mindset and identity as a startupper. A lot of credit for our innovation award goes to EPIC for their continued guidance and encouragement,” said Irshat Madyarov, CEO of Spok and Associate Professor and Program Chair at AUA.
The other startups that pitched their ideas on Demo Day were: Meally, a mobile application that will bridge the Hotel, Restaurant, Cafe (HoReCa) industry with customers and build an alternative platform to make use of surplus food; Mossil, an application that will help companies maintain high performing teams by ensuring a healthy workplace and the well-being of employees; ReView, that will serve as a platform to solicit customer insights and help restaurants and cafes become more customer-centric through increased awareness of data on customer needs; Narinj, a group payment application that will allow users to conveniently share with others the delivery of their purchases from restaurants with a few clicks; and MetaStyle, an AI-powered web service that will transfer, modify, and enhance writing styles while maintaining content integrity. Additional information on the startup teams can be found in the Demo Day brochure.
A startup team from the EPIC Fall 2019 batch, uniQ, also participated in the Demo Day to highlight its progress. This is a platform that provides engaging captions from copywriters worldwide. Since leaving EPIC, uniQ has considerably expanded its customer base and increased revenues on its path of growth and success.
After the event, the teams had the opportunity to network via Zoom with participants and investors who were interested in their ideas.
The live stream of the EPIC Demo Day Spring 2020 Batch is available online.
The Entrepreneurship and Product Innovation Center (EPIC) is a platform of the American University of Armenia (AUA) for promoting entrepreneurial education, cross-disciplinary collaboration, and startup venture incubation. EPIC provides an ecosystem for 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 in students and faculty at AUA to craft high-impact multidisciplinary ventures.