IT in Armenia // Interview with Dima Stepanov, Curator of Yandex Armenian Hub - Move2Armenia

IT in Armenia // Interview with Dima Stepanov, Curator of Yandex Armenian Hub

IT in Armenia // Interview with Dima Stepanov, Curator of Yandex Armenian Hub

About work

Now I am developing our Yerevan hub and helping some of our b2b services. I have been in Armenia since February last year, I came here on personal business and, like many, I decided to stay. An important story for me I made a DNA text and found that my paternal ancestors lived in central Anatolia until the genocide. Of course, not only Armenians lived there, but also Kurds and Turks, but still I want to believe that I am a little Armenian.

About Silicon Valley in Armenia  

I am against the stereotype that every country needs its own silicon valley. Silicon Valley needs a global economy, because it is an ecosystem that works for the whole world. In the case of Armenia, I do not think that this is a) - perhaps, b) - necessary. If we are talking about IT, then this sector exists here as a special form of life. This is not a global brand, like Silicon Valley, but it is its own direction with many successful companies - NVIDIA, HubSpot, Servise, Titan, Picsart, Synopsis - I can list for a long time. You can say "Hrazdan Valley" - with its own rules and laws. 

About integration into new conditions

The conclusions that I have made so far are very banal - three things help integration, well-being and some kind of growing into the environment:

  • Job
  • language
  • study of general culture

Many recently arrived people found themselves, if not in their native, then in a very close language environment, and I consider this a great luck. 

About the investment climate in Armenia

Armenia is now one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Few people talk about it, but it affects the mood of people. Yerevan has become a meeting place for top global investors. Expectations from this trend are very high, I hope they will come true. 

Now Armenia is opening up to the world, and the world will recognize Armenia.

About investing in projects

First, what you should pay attention to when making a decision on financing a particular project - a growing segment. In this case, the probability of success is higher than if the company is simply inside a steadily improving market flow.
Second — the opportunity to rely on a large circle of experts in the right field is important. Let's call it an expert network.
Third — the business I'm looking at for investment already has a tracktion. This means that the business already has revenue, it is growing well, the level of customer loyalty is not lower than the average in this segment, and preferably higher. There are objective figures that indicate that the product is worthwhile, the team knows how to sell it, and customers appreciate this product.
Fourth explanation of what is happening. The project team must understand and be able to tell that the whole process is not accidental, it is a controlled growth, where the founders understand what they are doing.
Fifth — a short cycle of testing hypotheses. If a feature is not needed, or vice versa, it is urgently needed, this should be clear quickly enough. For a month and a half, not for a year.
AND last thing I don't look at projects that require a lot of capital.
I’ll tell you about the key pitching mistakes using Suren Kazaryan’s language application as an example - iBuben. This is a project for learning the Armenian language. The app is already in App Store, for a while it stayed in the top 10 Apple-education and in a short period there was a large number of downloads. Here is what Suren had to say in his impromptu presentation.
What's good here: The app has become popular without ads, which is the clearest sign of demand. In his first story, Suren did not mention that there are often requests for an android application - this is also a signal of demand.
Now about the points of growth: it is not clear how useful what happened. There is a demand, but what if people who downloaded the application just opened it and do not use it?
Thanks on Instagram should also be mentioned in the pitching, but if we are talking about the application as a business, reviews are not enough. A sign that everything worked out (or is working out) is cohorts. What percentage of people who started using the application continue to do so after a week or after six months or a year.

About problems in integration

The problems are quite expected, but I will voice them anyway.

There is a shortage of residential and office real estate, especially in the high segment - for example, when you need to rent an office for a large number of employees.

Documents receiving.
Here, this process is super simple - there is no other country where it would be so easy to get a residence permit, TIN and so on. And yet, for an unprepared person, this can be a problem.

Often people move in pairs and one person is the driver of the process. We even have a whole job search program for soulmates

Opening bank accounts.
As a rule, one of the most difficult tasks when moving. However, it is still much easier to do this in Armenia than in many other countries. 

This, of course, is about education. In order to somehow alleviate this problem, at least for our employees, we supported the Free School.

About vacancies in Yandex

Unfortunately, there is no life hack here. You just need to keep an eye on vacancies, meet the requirements and be ready to go to work.
Easily track job openings on our portal - all vacancies, requirements, links and deadlines are collected there. 

You can learn more on the topic, look at Dima's motorcycle, and also see how Suren pitches his application at YouTube channel Move2Armenia. And if you are looking for work not only in Yandex, go to section "Career" on our website.

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IT in Armenia // Interview with Dima Stepanov, Curator of Yandex Armenian Hub
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