Armenia’s booming startup ecosystem: Introducing Winston and zLight – The South African

Due to its troubled past, Armenia has one of the largest diasporas in the world. However, the country’s booming tech scene proved to be powerful enough to play a part in the Velvet Revolution of 2018.

Scores of entrepreneurs and investors are returning home, ready to instil a startup mindset and propel Armenia to new heights and position it as the tech world’s next global hub.

Two startups currently dominating the field and breaking records with their IndieGoGo crowdfunding campaigns, are Winston, an online privacy solution, and zLight, a ‘sleep box’ gadget to improve the quality of your sleep

Armenian Startup Spotlight: Winston and zLight

Winston – Reclaim your privacy

Winston is an online privacy solution that will help to secure your privacy when online. Our online security is constantly at risk. Taking precautions when connecting to the Internet is fast becoming a non-negotiable for home users.

Armenia startups winston zlight
Image supplied: The Crowdfunding Formula

Winston is a hardware-based solution that allows users to encrypt and anonymise their Internet traffic. Our online data is more valuable than we realise. Hackers are the most obvious concern with bad actors trying to gain access to our money.

However, we are also increasingly at risk from more benign seeming sources. Social media, search engines, and news sites track our internet usage and can use it to try and manipulate our behaviour.

What sets Winston apart from other privacy solutions?

Sharing more information than necessary with the world puts us at additional risk. As the nature of threats to our privacy on the internet changes, it becomes more important we safeguard our private data.

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Armenia startups winston zlight
Image supplied: The Crowdfunding Formula

Winston plugs in between your modem and router and “within 60 seconds it scrambles, encrypts, and anonymizes the activity on every internet-connected device in your home”.

Winston is crowdfunding until the end of December. Pricing starts at R3496 which is what can expect to pay for a good router. The project has raised over R15 million so far.

If you’re looking to upgrade your home network security, this is one of the strongest solutions available.


Mark Zuckerberg helped to get the world talking about sleep hygiene after his admission during a public address. Zuckerberg admitted to building a “sleep box” to help his wife get better quality sleep.

Lack of good quality sleep is widely acknowledged as a public health epidemic. Smartphone addiction, poor diet, and bad sleep environments mean we are sleeping fewer hours.

Armenia startups winston zlight
Image supplied: The Crowdfunding Formula

Worse still when we do fall asleep, the hours we do sleep, are of poorer quality. Fitness trackers and wearables are doing their best to try and manage our sleep, but ultimately, none of them improves our sleep quality.

They’ll give you a good idea of whether you’re sleeping well and for enough hours. When your sleep quality is suffering, though, most users are left with very few tools to remedy their sleep problems.

How does zLight work?

The Zucklight is a wooden box that emits a soft light. The box can be placed next to your bed. The Zucklight helps you to disconnect from your phone.

Armenia startups winston zlight
Image supplied: The Crowdfunding Formula

The soft light will give you an indication of whether it’s time to get up or continue sleeping. There’s no more need to check your phone in the middle of the night which could cause additional sleep disturbance.

“The sleeping box emits a faint light of a certain colour during specific periods of the night to notify whether you can go back to sleep or it’s time to wake up. So if you happen to wake up at midnight and see the light isn’t glowing, you can return to sleep without having to check the time. The wake-up time is the glowing light time.”

The zLight has raised more than R4.5 million so far. It’s available in 3 variants Lite, Plus, and Prime. The Prime unit includes a wireless charger as well as humidity, temperature, and CO2 sensors.

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Units are priced from R541 for the Lite to R1 521 for the Prime. Protection Status



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