Nurturing and Expanding Angel Investing from Scratch: BANA Angels and its Mission

by Sona Mirzoyan, Head of Communications at BANA Angels

With the disruptive and impressive growth of the tech ecosystem in Armenia, new startups suggesting innovative and cutting-edge solutions have started to emerge. The process was also supported by many 1st generation exited entrepreneurs, corporations and the strong Armenian talent pool.

Armenia has always had what it takes for tech to thrive. The first computer in the USSR was developed in Armenia. Currently, 582 Armath laboratories provide free engineering education to 15,000 school students aged 10-18, and chess is a mandatory curriculum in all public schools. There are 9 Tumo Centers in the country that provide free tech and design education to 20.000 students aged 12-18. Since 2006 tech industry output has grown 20-25% per year.  Global Innovation Index 2019 ranked Armenia as the first among the upper-middle income countries in terms of innovation performance- ahead of China, Romania and Belarus. Besides, a number of  international tech giants, including Synopsys, Epam, TeamViewer, Adobe, Cisco, Siemens, DataArt, etc, moved their R&D and engineering to Armenia. 

Armenia’s strong educational system, with a particular focus on science and engineering, has also played a key role in the development of the tech industry. The country has a high number of skilled engineers and developers, and the government has invested heavily in STEM education and research.

In these circumstances, there was a clear need to develop angel investing as an important source of early-stage funding for startups to support innovation, contribute to the development of the labour market, and drive economic growth. In 2017 the first Armenian angel network was founded, BANA Angels

BANA Angels is a network of angel investors with strong tech backgrounds, including successful founders and entrepreneurs from Armenia and abroad. Besides capital, the members bring their expertise, experience and network to influence the success of the startups we invest in.

BANA Angels puts effort into creating value both for investors and entrepreneurs by uniting accomplished business angels from around the world and connecting them to promising startups. The investors do not simply get an opportunity for financial return. Our team is doing an initial due diligence on startups and working with them to make sure they are properly presenting their product at our pitching sessions. The deals we give access to are well-researched, and members of our network have a wide range of expertise from different fields, which makes the overall process advantageous.

Currently our portfolio includes 25 startups, including Docus,, Himnark, AimStack, EasyDmarc, Lucky Carrot, Expper Technologies, doodooc, Cauldron, Zoomerang, Mythril, PlayEngine, WildLearner, Regnest, CoinStats,  Grovf, Docus, Manot,, Birstly, eShot Labs, Wolterman, ViralMango, Armbionics. From the list provided, there are several notable investments that BANA Angels has exclusive rights to as the only angel network that invested in them. In total, BANA Angels has invested $3 million or more.

Since 2017, we have organised several projects and programs aimed at developing the startup ecosystem and tech industry in Armenia. These include the ‘Neruzh – 2019‘ interactive five-day bootcamp for entrepreneurs of Armenian descent, the Beeline Startup Incubator in partnership with Veon Armenia, the SAP Startup Factory in partnership with SAP and EU4Business, and the #TalkAround events.

BANA Angels has also organised several SME mentorship programs like BuildUp Lori, “Koriz” idea competition and Tourism Innovation Academy for businesses in industries such as tourism, agriculture, and manufacturing operating in the regions.

All aforementioned projects and programs led us to establish The Factory, BANA’s innovation hub, where bright ideas are born and developed. At The Factory, we focus on empowering young entrepreneurs and creating an all-encompassing space for sharing ideas, networking, and collaborating, which can hugely contribute to the further development of the Armenian tech community.

We hope that BANA’s contribution to the Armenian tech ecosystem will further contribute to the development of angel investing culture and the startup movement.