4 start-ups win awards, cash grants of $55,000 given by Korean firm

Tuesday, Nov 16, 2021 07:16

Winners on Demo Day at the 2021 SK Startup Fellowship held online and offline last week. — Photo courtesy of the organiser

Viet Nam Artificial Intelligence Solutions, WeWe Technology JSC, GIMO, and Umbalena won the top awards and US$50,000 cash grants at the Demo Day for SK Startup Fellowship 2021.

Viet Nam Artificial Intelligence Solutions builds core AI engines that help computers understand human speech and languages.

WeWe Technology JSC is the owner of Voiz FM, the country’s leading pay-for-knowledge audio platform, which is now focused on audiobooks but also expanding into podcast, pod-course, pod-series and sleep aid.

GIMO offers a service that makes people’s earned income ahead of a scheduled payday instantly accessible, and targets the millions of underbanked people in the country.

Umbalena is an educational app that seeks to nurture the love of reading in children aged two to six years.

VIFO, a software as a service platform that connects and provides comprehensive insurance solutions won the consolation prize of $26,000.

The rest of the 13 finalists in the event held both online and offline last week received grants of $16,000 each.

SK Group, the third largest conglomerate in Korea, has an annual programme for identifying early-stage start-up talent and supporting their development.

The second edition of the competition sought start-ups with a social impact, and attracted nearly 200 startups, three times the number last year.

Woncheol Park, managing director SK SouthEast Asia, said for the second year’s programme, the group focused on building strong relationships while providing experiences more tailored to start-ups.

“[A] one-on-one mentoring programme provided customised support as well. The mentors were matched based on the needs of each individual start-up and helped them with strategic building, business planning and relying on their operating systems. It was a really difficult task due to COVID-19, but we were able to do it, thanks to strong support provided by our programme partner, the Business Startup Support Centre, and local expert mentors,” he said. — VNS

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