Himnark is an online platform that automates the management of personnel contracts and the calculation of salaries. The platform has been developed by an Armenian startup, which employs just 15 people, but is aiming high, helped by an EU innovation grant funded under the EU4Business initiative.
The company was founded by Ruben Osipyan and Smbat Petrosyan, who studied together in the faculty of mathematical modelling and operations research of the Armenian State Economics University. They then worked together in the same company, Instigate, before deciding to start their own company.
Osipyan says the idea came from the fact that many Armenian SMEs don’t have HR & Payroll automation, as the existing solutions are too expensive for small businesses.
“Having more than 20 years of combined experience in finance and accounting of small businesses, we experienced the pain of un-automated and disconnected HR & Payroll processes, which lead to ineffective use of admin team efforts, errors and mistakes, legal risks and decision-making based on intuition rather than facts,” he explains.
With these obstacles in mind, the Himnark team decided to build an affordable, cloud based HR & Payroll solution for Armenian SMEs, with the ambition to grow regionally once success had been achieved in Armenia.
In terms of the technical specifications, the platform is equipped with an employee self-service application allowing employees to access their salary calculation, see available vacation days, apply for vacations and in general make communication between HR & Accounting and employees seamless, effective and convenient. As a cloud solution, Himnark allows access from anywhere.
Although the startup is currently targeting markets in former countries of the USSR, as well as Iran and Turkey, its co-founder says the company is open to the possibility of expanding to the EU market.
Earlier this year, the startup received an EU-SMEDA Innovation Matching Grant (IMG), funded by the European Union under its EU4Business initiative. As Ruben Osipyan notes, the grant played a huge impact on the startup’s further development.
“After the IMG grant we were able to get funded by an international group of investors. I would say the IMG grant made Himnark more attractive for investment. Also the grant funding helped us focus on product and user needs rather than thinking of how to find money to pay the bills,” he added.
As an early stage startup operating in the Armenian market, Osipyan says the country offers plenty of opportunities that make it easy to grow and sustain for early stage startups.
“With minimal social skills and 2-3 years of experience of working in the Armenian IT industry, it’s possible to build important connections with key people in Armenia. Also, creating a network will help young entrepreneurs find answers and help for almost any question (from government relations to finding money and employees). Other opportunities are in the various initiatives helping startups to focus and grow – the Armenia Startup Academy, STEP and IMG grants, etc.,” said Ruben Osipyan.
Throughout the upcoming year Himnark is planning to grow its user base and expand operations to Georgia.
Since 2017, the ‘Support to SME Development in Armenia’ (EU-SMEDA) project, which is funded by the European Union under the EU4Business initiative and implemented by GIZ in cooperation with the Enterprise Incubator Foundation (EIF), has been supporting Armenian startups with two types of grant – Innovation Matching Grants (IMG) and Science and Technology Entrepreneurship (STEP) grants.