Have You Heard About Silicon Valley?
Silicon Valley is a technological innovation hub located in the south San Francisco Bay Area, housing some of the leading tech international companies and corporate giants in other fields like energy and finance. These companies include Apple, Meta, Chevron, Alphabet, Wells Fargo, Visa, and others.
Although Silicon Valley is the beating heart of innovation and technology worldwide, it will not be the one and only intellectual center, as the Caucasus is laying the ground for a road to the next world tech hub in Armenia.
Yes, Armenia, the two sides closed country, is about to take a different path than its counterparts, Turkey, Azerbaijan, and Georgia. It is turning from New Silk Road and industrialization to being the center of IT innovation regionally.
Soviet Armenia’s Industrial Heritage
Armenia has been an industrial realm since it was a member of the Soviet Union. Even though it hadn’t had free financial will back then, as the Soviet Union monopolized financial support, the nation’s economy was thriving, and industrial sectors were varied and booming.
The relatively small country formed a dynamic manufacturing power for the Soviet Union, from producing airplanes and military vehicles to manufacturing copper vastly. And soon after World War two ended, the digital era in the country kicked off with primitive computer production. Armenia produced many versions of digital computers with different advanced features and applications.
As a matter of fact, Armenia’s computer production has contributed to around 40% of the Soviet military computers. And from there on, the Yerevan Computer Research and Development Institute of Mathematical Machines (YCRDI) became one of the leading USSR organizations mainly focused on developing electronic computers.
The Current Industrial Background and Potential of Armenia
Even though a landlocked country with very complicated geopolitical circumstances, Armenia has crossed not only the political frontier but also industrial, technological, and innovative ones.
Armenia has been through a lot since World War II until the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the 2020 and 2022 wars. The ambitious country, with its active youth and brilliant minds, aims to overcome the fact of being a small nation in the Caucasus to become a technological and industrial hub that will attract investors from all around the world.
That’s attributed to the limitless efforts the Armenian youth is putting into innovative tech solutions accompanied by proper governmental support. Nowadays, launching startup in Armenia is encouraged by zero taxation in certain circumstances and is supported widely through private and public institutions providing financial and organizational assistance.
Armenia is now also witnessing a thriving development in several other industries besides technology, like renewable energy, mining, real estate, textile, and others.
How Armenian Mountains Become Silicon?
The high-tech industry is among the fastest-growing sectors in Armenia. Over the past decade, the IT sphere in Armenia has grown at an average annual rate of 23%. Moreover, Armenian startups have received investments of more than $700 million, and IT companies generated $1 billion in 2021.
The small landlocked nation has managed to be a crossroads between the East and the West through a successful digital economy, and Armenia’s name is growing popular as the next Silicon Valley in the Caucasus.
However, all the above is insufficient to fully turn Armenia’s mountains into silicon and become the next Silicon Valley regionally and internationally. While other nations are racing against each other in the tech industry, Armenia can’t compete similarly with its relatively low population. However, Armenians must utilize their intellectual minds and focus on high-end tech sectors where quantity is not the prominent factor.
Investing in research and innovation centers for critical industries like health, renewable energy development, and manufacturing technologies is what Armenia can count on for a brighter future. Local and international investments have been focusing on research and development centers and trying to adopt this approach, for example, the Foundation for Armenian Science and Technology (FAST), TUMO Centers, Children of Armenian Funds (CoAF), and many others.
Armenian Companies on The Way to Global Breakthroughs
PicsArt is currently one of the most popular photo editing apps; it’s a free mobile application with diverse editing tools to enhance photos and transform them from normal to outstanding.
This mobile application is purely developed in Armenia by the entrepreneur Hovhannes Avoyan and his two co-founders, Artavazd Mehrabyan and Mekayel Vardanyan. With above 400 million installs worldwide, this Armenian team of developers has made a difference in the Armenian technological Startup industry and left a deep impact that affected investment decisions for many other startups.
ARLOOPA is an augmented reality mobile application combining the real and digital worlds to integrate artificial elements over the real-life landscape. Arman Atoyan, an Armenian self-made entrepreneur, founded the company behind ARLOOPA and went beyond expectations to organically reach over five million downloads, and the best is yet to come.
As a matter of fact, ARLOOPA has been featured in several international facilities like museums and educational institutions to offer an interactive experience for people. Earlier this year, HONOR, the tech giant formerly owned by Huawei Technologies, partnered with ARLOOPA to transform iconic cultural landmarks.
BeeGraphy is the ultimate platform for 3D designers, architects, and engineers seeking real embodiments for their products and designs before converting them into real-life versions. The cutting-edge platform was founded by Grigor Grigoryan and his teammates, allowing users to create 2D and 3D parametric models and download them in any format, whether obj, stl, dxf, or step.
The platform also supports real-time collaboration between design and engineering teams. Furthermore, users can directly put their designs for sale on the platform, providing a marketplace for creative designers.
Armenia, with 2.1 million of arable land, is constantly concerned with its agricultural industry. And out of this fact, AI Eisaian and Greg Rose have developed intelligent software to improve crop performance and make the best use of agricultural lands.
IntelinAir plans land farming from A to Z by delivering a complete view of the agriculture field. AGMRI app developed by IntelinAir collects and classifies data by gathering aerial images, temperature, and humidity readings. Then, the platform conducts full data analysis, detects abnormal conditions, and makes predictions about the best use for each field acre.
With Traces of Solid Silicone
Pushing the boundaries toward becoming an international tech hub imposes unified public and private efforts supported by international investments and initiatives to attract giant corporations to Armenia and provide them with success factors to thrive and sustain.
Local and diaspora Armenians have high hopes when it comes to Armenia, but that’s nothing unless accompanied by targeted hard work and an overall plan to convert Armenia into the Silicon Valley of the Caucasus without ignoring other economic requirements.
Armenians must avoid becoming an outsourcing hub for IT work because the country’s capacity is limited compared to other industry leaders like India and the Philippines. When the focus shifts to intellectual-based research centers, Armenians can prove themselves to be the next Silicon Valley and can benefit from Singapore’s experiment as an example of a small tech-developed country.
The Armenian government has also been supportive of the industry, providing incentives and tax breaks to companies that operate in the country. Yerevan boasts a highly educated workforce, with many universities offering technology-related courses and degrees. The city’s strategic location between Europe and Asia also makes it an ideal location for companies looking to expand their reach. With its thriving tech scene and supportive ecosystem, Yerevan is quickly becoming a key player in the global tech industry. See more about moving to Yerevan >