A delegation of investors from Germany, US and Turkey arrived in Armenia on May 1-3, 2017 to take part in a landmark event – the Armenia-Turkey Investor Day, launched on May 2.
Tugce Ergul, Director of Angel Labs, a global investor accelerator, based in Silicon Valley, Harald Braunstein, Founding Partner at German NFQ Capital, Alana Tung of Delivery Hero, based in Berlin, Ertan Can, Investment Director at HR Ventures in Frankfurt, Duygu Oktem, founder of the Istanbul-based DO Consultancy LLC and Cansu Sarac, a political expert at TEPAV, were among the members of the delegation arriving in Armenia.
Monty Munford, a reporter with Forbes, the leading American financial magazine, was also among the attendees of the event, aiming to produce a report about his visit to Armenia.
The official part of the event was launched on May 2, at Radisson Blu Hotel.
The welcoming speeches delivered by the authors of the initiative - Seda Muradyan, president of PJC, Cansu Sarac, the TEPAV representative and Tugce Ergul, director of Angel Labs, marked the official opening of the event.
“The objective of our initiative is to suppport those who are willing to develop Armenia's startup and investment ecosystem, by forming Angel Investors network. Such networks do successfully exist worldwide and our aim is to introduce this concept in Armenia, as well as promote building of cooperative bridges between investors in both countries and endorse possible joint projects,” said Seda Muradyan, head of the PJC.
Hoa-Binh Adjemian, head of the Cooperation Section of the EU delegation to Armenia, also welcomed the attendees of the event with an opening speech, urging to build a foundation for a peaceful future in the region, through the establishment of de facto solidarity.
“This is only possible when people see possibilities, and there are plenty of possibilities for joint investments in both countries.”
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary H.E. Mr. Jean-Francois Charpentier embraced the initiative in a welcome speech at the official launch of the event.
“Regardless of arbitrariness, we should keep working,” said the French Ambassador.
Nadia Lichtenberger, Deputy Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Armenia, the US Embassy Economic and Commercial Representative Rafael Sambu and others were among the honorary guests of the opening ceremony.
The meeting enabled Armenian representatives of ICT industry and business networks interested in investing to familiarize themselves with best practices of creating investing networks and the mechanics of angel investing.
Cansu Sarac of TEPAV emphasizedthat three years of successful exchanges between two countries had brought them to the point where it was decided that it was time to also focus on other stakeholders within the ecosystem and design a program for Angels and Investors.
The substantive aspect of Armenia-Turkey Investor Day was directed at the implementation of this objective.
The event included several panel discussions and sessions: Angel Investment Ecosystem of Turkey, presented by Duygu Oktem; Startup Investing: Mechanics of Investing and Deal Structuring, by Ertan Can; Building Your Own Investment Thesis and Due Diligence Investing in funds, by Harald Braunstein; How to Add Value as an Investor and Portfolio Management Investing in funds, by Alana Tung.
During the meeting, the representatives of the ICT sector in Armenia introduced the foreign guests of the event to investment opportunities and business environment in the country. Thus, Matt Bartelsian, Director of Global Business Development and Partnerships at VOLO LLC, presented a report, entitled “Why Armenia?”, and Aram Orbelyan, senior partner at Concern Dialog LLC, spoke aboutlegal regulations in Armenia's investment environment.
The Investor Day continued with another event, a Meeting with ICT Startupsinvolving investors from Germany, US and Turkey.
The Armenian startup companies were given an unmatched opportunity to meet with prominent venture capitalists, address their questions to investors, get valuable tips on attracting investments and launching successful entrepreneurship, as well as establish connections and pitch their own startups.
Representatives of Keid, Hy Pictures, Wandelion, The Kirmizian Group, Wi Mediaand other startup companies were among the attendees ofthis landmark meeting with investors.
Ruzanna Baghdasaryan, co-founder of Hy Pictures, underlined that the meeting proved very productive.
“In addition to getting valuable tips, our startup idea drew the interest of one of the investors, and there is a possibility of establishing cooperation in future,” said Baghdasaryan.
Study Visits and Meetings
Apart from the main event, foreign guests interested in the possibility of making investments in Armenia, had a series of meetings with their Armenian partners and overall 13 Armenian startup teams on May 1-3, giving them guidance in their activities. Furthermore, members of the delegation and their Armenian colleagues also took part in an informal event on May 3, dedicated to building business connections, exchange of ideas and discussing the vission of possible cooperation in future.
On May 3, the delegation of foreign investors attended a conference summarizing the results of the EU’s Twinning Project on Strengthening the Investment Promotion and Investment Policy Institutional Framework of Armenia. The conference provided foreign investors with a more informed view and thorough knowledge on the overall investment climate in Armenia and enabled them to build business connections.
“This is a good chance to get a dialogue under way between the two nations, since venture capital, as well as entrepreneurship comprise a global language spoken in Silicon Valley and Berlin,” said Tugce Ergul, Director of Angel-Labs, assessing the three-day visit.
Armenia-Turkey Investor Day was initiated by the Public Journalism Club andthe Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey within the framework of the Exchange of Entrepreneurs Project under theSupport to the Armenia-Turkey Normalization Process: Stage 2 Programme funded by the European Union.
Ms. Arpine Aleksanyan and Ms. Sona Baloyan from Yerevan, from “Matenadaran” Mesrop Mashtots Institute of Ancient Manuscripts, were supported with the travel grant to visit Istanbul, Turkey for meetings with the Armenian Patriarchate, Armenian high schools, foundations and publishing houses to discuss possibilities of further collaboration on preserving the Armenian culture.