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Exclusive

Digitain brought details about its M1TQ Incubation Program for startups

Jueves 12 de Agosto 2021 / 07:56

2 minutos de lectura

(Armenia, SoloAzar Exclusive).- SoloAzar interviewed Mariam Pashinyan, Open Innovation and Marketing Hub Manager for Digitain, who talked about the M1TQ Incubation program led by the firm. "M1TQ is a first of its kind incubation program for idea-stage startups with intensive practical coaching, goal-setting and growing".

Digitain brought details about its M1TQ Incubation Program for startups


What does the M1TQ Incubation program led by Digitain consist of?
M1TQ is a first of its kind incubation program for idea-stage startups with intensive practical coaching, goal-setting and growing.

The 12-week entrepreneurial program with its challenging and educative curriculum provides aspiring entrepreneurs with the personalized one-on-one sessions, mentor feedback, access to global network, and support and community membership.

Through a 12-week incubation program, M1TQ sessions consist of diverse topics: from customer and market analysis, buyer persona development and prototype testing to developing business plan, cash flow forecasting and pitching. All these seasoned with expert guidance, constant and critical feedback, and support from experienced startup mentor CEOs – without the need for the startupers to quit their day job.

The program concluded with a Demo Day, where startups pitched their idea in front of angel investors, venture capitalists, potential partners and community leaders. The program was implemented together with the Foundation for Armenian Science & Technology (FAST). 




What is the aim of the program?
Digitain aims to create an intellectual and physical environment - a tech hub - which will nurture divergence in startups, inspire the entrepreneurial mindset of young Armenian entrepreneurs. Our mission is to discover more talents to cure talent shortage and thus stimulate the high-technology sector growth and develop strong startup ecosystem in Armenia, which has a strategic importance for the country’s economy as well.

Our tech hub – DigiTown is located in the heart of Armenia, Yerevan and will serve as a corridor between Asia, Europe and Armenia and will be a stimulator for connecting the talents of Europe and Asia.

Another milestone is to break up the traditional geographic monopoly on tech innovation held by, for example, Silicon Valley and show the world the past achievements and future potential of Armenian startups and masterminds.

Last but not least, our goal is to help the startup teams discover and hone knowledge gaps to encourage innovation. And M1TQ is the first big step towards these huge goals.

What type of companies does it target?
The first incubation program of M1TQ targeted idea-stage startups with marketable and competitive ideas aiming to solve the problem with tech tools. Although the 1st program targeted sectors ranging from FinTech, EduTech, Healthtech, Military Tech, AI, SaaS, GreenTech, e-commerce and more, we see IT startups as an anchor to our program.  

40+ startups applied from the aforementioned fields. We conducted interviews with 20 startups, from which 13 startup teams got selected to pitch on the kick-off event, and based on judges’ scores - 8 teams had the opportunity to participate in the 12-week entrepreneurial program.

But beyond the sector - one key factor is so far the most important aspect: the team. It’s based on the team’s skills, motivation and dedication which leads the startups either to failure or success.

Based on diversity of thought and innovation scalability, we brought in wide pool of people into the program:

Medea – a healthtech startup with an innovative smart pillbox.

Rooshe is a multi-sided platform which connects adventurous users and foodies to strictly vetted and talented home cooks.

AR Trails revolutionizes ecotourism lovers’ experience by augmenting the trail with useful information, and allowing visitors to share their own content on the route.

Gabby is a dating and healthcare app for dogs. Gabby helps dog parents find friends / partners for their beloved pet.

Preckog.ai is a fintech startup specializing is AI-based automated cryptocurrency trading system.

ArmBionics is another healthtech startup – and by the way the winner - aims to transcend disabilities by creating rehabilitation systems using cutting edge research and technology.

Axona analyzes data and gives sentimental score using AI through neuromarketing.

And Payman, which is a mobile app that connects all stakeholders in the beauty sector, allows in-platform booking and scheduling for customers and specialists.
 
How did Digitain decide to start this program in Armenia?
Armenia being a “Soviet-time Silicon valley” in the region does not have the hype and international recognition unless I guess more recent times.
We see the potential of a new generation of Armenian intellectuals but we wanted them to be risk-takers, open and more collaborative. For that we needed to create a safe place.

During WCIT 2019 (World Congress on Information Technology), we announced our DigiTown project, which will be a future regional tech hub – the safe place – that also attracts big investments, ideas, local and international teams and corporations to Armenia.

Thus DigiTown will become a platform, accelerator, and incubator to stimulate talent pool and the regional startup ecosystem. All in all, we are determined to build a 50,000m2 building that will be a gravity point for talents, resources and ideas. We already began the construction of the campus.

How does it feel to carry out this type of programs?
M1TQ program implementation program was a great experience for everyone involved at Digitain and a great introduction to the startup pool of Armenia.
To be honest, we really didn’t expect to get so many applications with the qualifications they had. We received 40+ application that had fantastic ideas.
It was very unexpected to receive applications from the outlying regions of Armenia, which shows us that our country has a big potential to develop all its regions through high-tech industry.

In addition, we are happy to record that 2 of the startups have already signed advisor and investment contracts with a venture capital firms based in the US. The agreements were signed even before the M1TQ Demo Day. The Demo day was also a great success, since we exposed the startups to the world. After the Demo day, several venture capital firms, investors approached with an interest to invest in the startups. Currently, we are carrying several dialogues regarding these potential investments.  

What has been the feedback from participants since it started?
The feedback from the participants has been the most important asset for us to evaluate the program.

We’ve been taking feedback from the participants after each session. After the end of the program, we conducted a focus group interview to study their overall experience. Many team members mentioned that M1TQ was different from all other incubation programs they participated in.

Most of the team members highlighted the importance of the networking prospect the program has given them and the healthy environment mentors helped to build where they could make mistakes and raise concerns on touchy topics and get advice.


Categoría:Exclusive

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País: Armenia

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