Viktor AghajanyanJohns Hopkins University
Master of Sciences in Financial Econometrics
Huys Scholar 2021
My professional long-term goal is to build a successful technology company in Armenia and the US and make an impact by supporting a strong private sector in Armenia.
I am a graduate student at Johns Hopkins University majoring in finance and data science. I was born and raised in Armenia, graduated from the American University of Armenia, and moved to Washington, DC in 2021.
I am also the founder of a financial technology company (Dataesg Solutions) based in the Greater Boston Area. We provide technology-powered environmental, social, and governance (ESG) solutions to private equity firms, asset managers, etc. We build our technology in Armenia and sell it to companies in the US. Currently, we employ 8 people from Armenia and Artsakh. I also work independently on various AI-related projects in Healthcare (i.e., Medicare & Medicaid) and FinTech, in which I work with engineers from Armenia and companies in the US to build and sell. For example, in my latest project as a Johns Hopkins student I worked with my Armenian team to apply Google’s neural network architecture to train classification models for Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services that could help empower their hospital quality rating system by integrating unstructured hospital data in their quality assessment procedure.
About one-fifth of Armenia’s population now is officially unemployed – many of them young. Especially given the extremely unfortunate circumstances last year, this is a horrible thing to have. Improving financial access, strengthening technical skills, supporting a strong private sector, and building strong and sustainable companies are keys to promoting economic and social stability within Armenia. The best way I can contribute to that is by 1) continuing to work with Entrepreneurship Centers across Armenia and 2) building my own company and hiring people.
Entrepreneurship is our greatest tool to counteract unemployment in any sector of the economy and to empower young Armenians. It opens doors to new ventures and new alliances between Armenians from Armenia and Diaspora, which is critically important.
One of the major problems facing early-stage Armenian startups is that many of them are not able to gain access to small funds when they need capital. As someone who started a company in Armenia, I’m well familiar with the challenges faced by young people who start companies in their early 20s. I have been working on several projects to help startups achieve exactly that. I started working with the Entrepreneurship Center at AUA in 2019 to build an infrastructure through which the Armenian Diaspora can invest directly in Armenian startups and earn a return when/if a startup succeeds. You can read about this project with AUA and Entrepreneurship and Product Innovation Center (EPIC) below: https://newsroom.aua.am/2020/01/24/epic-experience-helped-launch-startup-munich/
When/if an investor puts money into a startup, the entrepreneur gets even more motivated to expand its team and scale the venture, which surely provides employment to more people who may not yet even have any formal education. I’m currently working with a team of Armenian startups from Armenia and the US to create an actual crowdfunding platform that would help connect Armenian tech startups and retail investors. Here’s a demonstration of the platform that I’ve been working on: https://youtu.be/NZlkTqnUesU. I’m largely implementing the technical part, which is developing the platform and building connections with incubators, accelerators, and investors. Here I imagine myself helping build technical infrastructure and building connections in startup communities. After graduation, I will certainly spend more time on this project with my previous university (AUA) and more projects with a goal to help pre-vetted small ventures get early access to small funds.
This project, if successful, and the work of my company would improve the state of the private sector and socio-economic development in Armenia in the next 5 to 10 years by providing startups with opportunities for early-stage funding and hiring engineers from Armenia and Artsakh.
In terms of my involvement in non-Armenian communities:
- I am a presidential member of The National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS) Johns Hopkins Chapter – the nation’s largest leadership honor society – in which I participate in various case competitions, conferences, networking, and social events.
- I am a Certified Healthcare Financial Professional at the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) Virginia-Washington DC Chapter.
- I am a World Chess Federation (FIDE) Arena Grandmaster of Blitz Chess in 2018.
I am aware that Huys Foundation is granting the Huys Scholarship to me with the anticipation of my good faith pursuit and implementation of the projects and undertakings described in this letter, to which I hereby commit.