Recognizing the critical need to boost scientific commercialization in Armenia, FAST has placed a heavy focus on creating programs that will help build science-intensive innovation and also ensure pre-seed funding for companies created through this pipeline.
IMPACTS ON COMMERCIALISATION OUTPUTS
FAST has launched science-intensive venture builder programs — ASCENT and InVent — as well as Armenia’s first Angel group — the Science and Technology Angels Network — which unites 31 prominent professionals from all over the world who are committed to invest 10,000 USD annually.
angels involved in STAN
committed in angel investment
invested in 9 local tech startups
startups benefited from programs
science-intensive venture builders created
I’m thrilled to be a small part of the amazing efforts and initiatives that FAST is engaged in to encourage and support entrepreneurship in Armenia. Promising talent coupled with great startup education makes me very excited for Armenia’s future.
Former Partner, 500 Startups United States
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY ANGELS NETWORK (STAN)
FAST established the Science and Technology Angels Network to help fill Armenia’s gap in seed-stage investments. STAN serves as a platform that unites a group of prominent Armenian professionals from all over the globe to invest in Armenian pre-seed and seed-stage startups engaged in science and technology innovation.
Along with providing access to risk capital, STAN also possesses a vast expertise that can be leveraged to support companies through strategic advice, mentorship, introductions and connections capable of facilitating their further development.
Today there is sometimes the impression that you have to go to the US, Europe or other countries to be very successful. I would like to help to create such an ecosystem in Armenia to put the country on the map as a country where you go to become highly successful. I believe that with tremendous IT talent and large Diaspora connections, Armenia has all the ingredients it needs to become such a destination.
Co-Founder, Co-Chair, STAN VP of Development, Oracle, United States
ADVANCED SOLUTIONS CENTER
FAST designed the multifunctional ASCENT platform, which develops science-intensive ventures with a high potential to become internationally competitive deeptech companies.
ASCENT focuses onArtificial Intelligence and Life Sciences. It uses its innovation model and a stage-gate process to evolve ideas from venture hypotheses through prototype companies to new companies and eventually spinoff ventures. The innovation model is co-designed with Flagship Pioneering, a leading venture-building company based in Boston which has generated more than 100 companies since 2013. An integral part of the solution is a yet-to-be-established venture capital fund attached to ASCENT to help further fuel company growth.
FAST designed a pioneering venture-building program to utilize ASCENT’s filtered ideas, and challenges collected from industry and government, to generate startup companies using an exploration methodology tailored to matching prevailing needs and opportunities.
The InVent program runs over 20 weeks and walks serial entrepreneurs, researchers and industry professionals through the startup journey from idea generation and team formation, to minimum viable product (MVP) development and fundraising. Throughout the program, FAST provides full institutional support to the participants.
NERUZH STARTUP PROGRAM
The Neruzh Diaspora Startup Program was established at the initiative of the Ministry of Diaspora and co-designed by FAST in 2018.
The program promoted the inflow of innovative, capable and scalable tech startups from within the Armenian Diaspora to enrich the local startup landscape. Investments were made in their advancement and growth within Armenia and to serve as a gateway for deploying and scaling-up impactful Armenian technologies and business models throughout world markets. In doing so, it leveraged Armenia’s significant Diaspora presence and deep connections in the leading global tech hubs.
Creating a dynamic in which Armenia’s STI ecosystem can generate efficient and prolific innovative outputs requires strong links among the various stakeholders that will form that ecosystem.
It also requires the formation of ties between key Armenian stakeholders and the outside world. As a result, FAST programming devotes considerable effort to both strengthening existing links and creating new ones. In addition to organizing small and mid-scale engagements, FAST has also strived to build regular largescale scientific and tech events to strengthen Armenia’s positioning as an emerging innovation hub.
NSF-FAST WORKSHOP ON MACHINE LEARNING FOR DISCOVERY SCIENCES
FAST and the United States National Science Foundation (NSF) jointly organized a Workshop on “Machine Learning for Discovery Sciences”.
The 4-day workshop brought together 45 toplevel speakers and nearly 250 researchers and specialists from various disciplines in the field of data science.
The workshop’s primary objective was to bring researchers and practitioners from machine learning and other dataintensive disciplines to advance cross-disciplinary collaborations that could facilitate science discovery in those fields.
Another important objective was to establish and promote mutually beneficial collaborations between international and Armenian scientists, researchers and students.
GLOBAL INNOVATION FORUM 2018—2019
The Global Innovation Forum is a FAST flagship event organized annually since 2018. Each Forum carries a specific umbrella topic, with GIF18 being dedicated to “Engineering the Evolution” and GIF19 exploring “Transforming Intelligence”.
During GIF18 and GIF19 over 1,400 forum participants and 1,700 guests have attended 80 GIF talks and sessions on the immense impact of AI and life sciences on society and science. Numerous partner events have also been hosted on the GIF platform. The Forum has become a hub for vigorous debates, captivating presentations and policy discussions delivered by over 170 outstanding scientists, innovators, executives and thought leaders from 23 countries.
GIF20, titled “Life-altering Technologies”, was scheduled to be held on 7 October 2020, but was postponed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
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