SmartGateVC introduces the #landed program

Oct 20, 2018
3 min read

SmartGateVC announces the launch of the #landed program

We are thrilled to announce the launch of the #landed program, a project to connect Armenians in tech all around the world with the tech community in Armenia.

#landed is designed for engineers, scientists and professionals in business development, marketing, sales, growth hacking, product management, finance, investing and other domains. With individual, one-on-one support, #landed brings together talented people with solid experience to build winning teams.

Visiting or moving to a new place is both exhilarating and daunting, which is why support is invaluable - which is where we come in.

We at #landed connect you with relevant people in Armenia, personally integrate you into the tech community, remove any unnecessary blockers and share our insights on personal and professional life in Armenia.  Once you decide to engage, we roll up our sleeves to help you however we can.

Why Armenia? The tech industry is experiencing an unprecedented growth: 20-25% annually since 2005, with a shift towards companies developing their own products and tech. Armenia is a hub for electronic design automation, industrial computing, and newly emerging startups. In Yerevan today, the tech crowd debates the promise of quantum computing, and even many schoolchildren have heard of machine learning. In fact, for complex reasons, startups in Armenia today actually lean towards the most technical spaces.  

The Evolution of Armenian Tech: major milestones

With all above, keep in mind the hypermodern side of Armenia: you can pay your bills at any kiosk or just online, or order meals, groceries or even diapers to the door, and that it's totally normal.

The idea of #landed was inspired by the spontaneous decision of Armen Rostamian, CTO and co-founder at LegatumX and originally from California, who made the leap and moved to Armenia this year. This is where his story starts:

Armen Rostamian, CTO and co-founder at LegatumX

The first opportunity I had to join the tech community in Armenia was back in 2013. I have always regretted not taking the leap then. There were too many unknown factors for me to have to consider and work out on my own: Where will I live? How do I find a place to live? What happens if the job offer I have falls through? How will I find other work? Where do I go, or who do I talk to, to get connected to a network of people in the same areas of personal and professional interests as me? What if something bad happens to me (injury, illness, etc), as I have no family in Armenia?

I met my friends at SmartGateVC back in January of this year. I saw they were smart, honest, and very hardworking people. We became friends instantly. Over the course of the next few months, I learned more about what they’re doing, about Hero House, and about the extensive network of people, ideas, and opportunities they’ve gathered around them. I began to consider moving to Armenia. In July, I half-jokingly said, “Hey guys, I’m going to buy a one-way ticket and head to Armenia in two weeks.” Keep in mind, I hadn’t been to Armenia since 2007.

Their response: “Great! Come. We’ll be waiting to pick you up from the airport. We’ll help you figure out everything else.”

I bought my ticket a few days after that. I closed out my apartment lease on July 29th. I resigned from my job in Silicon Beach at a brain-computer interface company and completed my last day on August 3rd. I packed two suitcases and flew out on August 9th. I’ve been here ever since, and I intend to stay. Yerevan feels like a new city.

In just a few weeks, my friends at Hero House have helped me establish my life here. I’ve got an apartment, a bank account, good work and income, interesting projects, opportunities to teach and mentor, and an ever-growing network of professionals and friends. They’ve helped answer all of my questions, and have provided that sense of family, safety, and support you often need when you’re living in a completely new place. They’ve helped me establish my new life here, and I am very grateful for their help.

If you’re an entrepreneur, an experienced technologist, or otherwise interested in tech and/or entrepreneurship, this is seriously the place to be. Things are happening, and we have the opportunity to join, meaningfully contribute, and directly impact what is developing here.

Armenia is now a land of opportunity. Not because it’s your homeland, but because it is a fast-growing tech ecosystem. If you are a professional with solid experience and you read this, you should definitely join us. No excuse not to. We’ve got you covered!

About SmartGateVCBacked by Tim Draper and seasoned tech entrepreneurs, SmartGateVC is a venture capital firm targeting companies in artificial intelligence, security and internet of things.

#landed is an initiative of SmartGateVC hosted by Hero House.

Kudos to Adam Mathias Bittlingmayer and Gevorg Soghomonian for their huge support.