Curencii Armenian startup represents an online platform for foreign currency exchange, allowing users to save for up to 10 times on exchange transactions. Currently the startup participates in 3-month acceleration program by Estonian Startup Wise Guys, which kicked off in Riga a few days ago.
The founder of the startup Vahagn Grigoryan has told in an interview to Itel.am that Curencii started its operation in Armenia, though it wasn’t able to get the relevant license due to certain circumstances. To participate in Startup Wise Guys, Vahagn Grigoryan moved to Riga, where the startup aims to perform its first transactions due at the beginning of April this year.
“There are two sides in the system: buyer and seller. We serve as a bridge between the parties, generating all the demands and then transferring the required money to each. The participants of the transaction do not see each other, based on security considerations. This way no one can cheat,” Vahagn Grigoryan explains the operation of the system.
The startup intends to start working with businesses now and with individuals later.
“The exchange of currency is a risky process, as businesses may suffer significant losses due to volatility. Certain companies lose their annual revenue as a result of one fluctuation. Those are mainly accounting and outsourcing companies, travel agencies and financial establishments,” he told.
“If previously we aimed at Armenia and other CIS countries, now we’ve changed our target market. 800 billion exchange transactions are made in Europe daily. The global index is 6 trillion,” he added.
Curencii is negotiating with one of the largest banks in Baltic countries, Swedbank, which owns around 50% of the regional market. The bank is a partner of Startup Wise Guys and hosts the accelerator in its office.
The Curencii team, consisting of four people, plans to strengthen their position and attract clients in Latvia, later expanding into Estonia, Lithuania, and Sweden. Afterwards, according to Vahagn Grigoryan, they will think about Armenia and other post-Soviet countries. The team believes that fluctuations of the exchange rates make their startup relevant.
Vahagn Grigoryan has a recommendation for other startups: don’t let yourself feel down because of failures.
“We need to be mentally prepared to the worst scenario. Never shy away from talking with representatives of famous accelerators. No one will know you exist if you don’t speak with people. Be stubborn, remind them about yourself, write to them, convince them. Cooperation with accelerators is a mutually beneficial process: the more you gain from them, the more they gain from you,” said the founder of Curencii.
At the same time, he has noted that startups in Armenia focus on developing products more than on the business side of things.
“There’s a time and place for coding, but this is a business, after all, which you need to move forward,” concluded Curencii founder.
10:26 | 23.03.18Claes Mikko Nilsen: Simplicity is the key to successful pitch