EPIC 2018 Startup FinAssist Launches Online Platform3 min read
YEREVAN, Armenia — FinAssist, a startup of the American University of Armenia (AUA) Entrepreneurship and Product Innovation Center (EPIC), in partnership with Vega stores, has recently launched its online loan marketplace. FinAssist is a platform that connects consumers to lenders providing them with a convenient ‘one-stop-shop’ for considering various credit options. It gives customers choice, convenience, and value by helping them find the lender that best meets their needs. Founders Davit Mikayelyan and Artak Zargaryan were in the EPIC Fall 2018 cohort.
The founders have been friends for more than 30 years and came up with the idea of a loan marketplace after friends and relatives kept asking them about types and sources of loans with the best terms. Mikayelyan, who has been working in the financial sector for 15 years, explains: “As no one can remember all the conditions of all types of loans, I had to surf the web, ask many colleagues, make dozens of calls to help them find the best loan offer. This was time-consuming even for me. Now imagine how much it would take people that do not have friends working in banks. So, we came up with the idea to build an online platform that would help people find the ultimate loan offer based on their specific needs.”
In September 2018, the team members started their discovery journey at the EPIC Incubator. After completing the program, they stayed in close touch with EPIC, sharing their challenges and utilizing EPIC’s resources until launching the startup. Later, the FinAssist entrepreneurs also participated in a Fintech program with EPIC collaborator StartUp Wise Guys in the Baltics which gave them the opportunity to further refine their business model.
“Trust, motivation and practical knowledge. When we think about EPIC, these three thoughts come to mind. First of all, at EPIC people trusted us and our idea, and they managed to keep us motivated. Moreover, EPIC gave us the fundamental knowledge, both theoretical and practical, covering all the necessary startup elements that we are now using while building our platform. Since being involved with the EPIC Incubator, we’ve spent a lot of time on self-education, using the EPIC library, networking, as well as benefiting from advisors, mentors, and other valuable resources,” remarks Mikayelyan.
The FinAssist website is just a small part of the platform that the venture has created so far. It was launched as a minimum viable product to begin communicating with users to better understand their needs and problems. The solution offered by FinAssist provides a personalized approach to potential borrowers’ needs and makes the loan marketplace more transparent and accessible. The team hopes that the platform will increase the financial literacy of people in Armenia. With FinAssist, people will understand how to evaluate and choose from available lending offers while considering the options and loan terms that best fit their individual preferences. In addition, FinAssist makes market research for loans much faster and cheaper.
The team’s goal is to become the ultimate financial solution for everyone to simplify daily life. Next, FinAssist will be offering an online mortgage calculator, which will further advance users’ ability to apply for any type of loan online — the ultimate one-stop-shop.
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.