Sunday, 09 July 2017 21:41

    Armenia’s rising tech scene: The new Silicon Valley of the former Soviet Union

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    Armenia was once the center of IT innovation for the USSR. A turbulent history has stifled the economy, but things are starting to look up for the Caucasus republic. A highly-skilled, post-soviet engineering workforce and a diaspora of advocates, combined with new government initiatives, are igniting renewed growth in Armenia’s IT sector. These businesses are creating new technologies — from award-winning mobile apps to world-first presentation tools — recognized across the globe and many startups are making their way to the US.

    The Armenian tech industry is growing at an annual rate of 20 percent, greatly exceeding the country’s two percent economic growth. Annual tech revenues from some 400 IT companies make up $475 million and by 2018, it is estimated this industry will be the dominant sector driving new wealth for the economy.

    Emerging startups, global expansion and initiatives from some of the biggest names in tech – from Intel to Microsoft — are creating great momentum. Armenia’s tech scene is at a real turning point. The Silicon Valley of the former Soviet Union has morphed into a thriving tech startup hub, attracting global recognition.

    So, how is the Armenian tech scene growing? What is the country doing to drive international investment and which startups are making the biggest waves in the global tech scene?

    Reigniting IT innovation
    In the days of the Soviet Union, Armenia designed and manufactured 40 percent of the mainframe computers for the military. The Yerevan Computer Research Institute, a secret building in the capital city, employed 5,000 highly skilled workers, but later fell to ruin. This is just a small portion of the “several hundred thousand specialists” that worked behind the scenes at the heart of IT innovation, according to the Union of Information Technology Enterprises in Yerevan.


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