HCMC, 11 November 2021

SK Startup Fellowship 2021 (SKSF 2021) DemoDay officially took place

SKSF is an annual program with the goal of discovering early-stage startup talents, and supporting them. The program lays the foundation for SK Group’s long journey of companionship with Vietnamese startups. SKSF Batch#2 seeked startups with social impact, officially launching on the 9th of March 2021. SKSF attracted nearly 200 startups which was 3 times more than Batch#1. On 6th of May 2021, SKSF 2021 announced the Top 13 startups to be entered into the 6-month acceleration journey, helping the startups achieve  breakthrough growth for the next phase. As the most important event, Demo Day marked the final the program, after 6 months of activities.On the 11th of November 2021, Top 12 startups of SKSF 2021 participated in the Demo Day – the final round of competition to choose the Top 4 outstanding startups to win the grant of 50,000 USD per startup. In addition one startup won the consolation prize of 26,000 USD while the remaining startups received 16,000 USD per startup. These are all cash grants and SK Group does not require exchange of shares.

The Demo Day SKSF 2021 event was held as a hybrid event (online and offline) that has connected the Vietnamese bridgehead (HCMC, Hanoi) with the international bridgehead (Australia, South Korea). With the support of technology, the event not only ensures safety amid the complicated situation of the epidemic, but also creates conditions for Top startups connection with  international attendees, despite the geographical distance. Opening speech of Demo Day SKSF 2021, Mr. Woncheol Park – Managing Director SK SouthEast Asia, said “For the second year program, we focused on building strong relationships while providing experiences more tailored to go on fellow startups. The newest 1on1 mentoring program provided customized support as well. The mentors were matched based on the needs of each individual startup and helped them with the strategic building , business planning and relying on their operating systems. This was a really difficult task due to COVID-19 but we were able to do it. Thank to strong support provided by our program partner BSSC and the local expert mentors”

Mr. Woncheol Park – Managing Director SK SouthEast Asia gave an opening speech of Demo Day SKSF 2021

The Board of Judges of The Final Round SKSF 2021 who are the 4 leading experts in the Vietnam Startup Ecosystem: Mr. Henry Nguyen – CEO of TIMO; Ms. Truong Ly Hoang Phi – Chairwoman of the Board and CEO of Investment Business Partners (IBP); Ms. Le Hoang Uyen Vy – General Partner Do Ventures; Mr. Hung Truong – Senior Director SK Vietnam. The Board of Judges has 10 to 20 years of experience in working with the startup & innovation ecosystem in Vietnam and the region, standing from many perspectives such as investors, venture capital fund managers, entrepreneurs of leading corporations in Vietnam and internationally, etc. The Board of Judges brought sharp criticisms and valuable suggestions for each business model of Top startup SKSF Batch #2. Each startup has a 5-minute presentation and a 5-minute Q&A in front of The Board of Judges. At this heated competition, Top Startup SKSF 2021 clearly presented innovative business models, demonstrated breakthrough technologies, and answered intelligently and convincingly.

Pitching and Q&A session of one startup at Demo Day SKSF 2021

In addition to the attractive competition of Top startup SKSF 2021, Demo Day also brought useful knowledge and a deep multidimensional perspective through the sharing of Mr. Le Hong Minh – Founder and General Director of VNG, the first unicorn startup of Vietnam. After that, Demo Day had the lively discussion on the perspective of “Key elements for fast-scaling” from 2 speakers Ms. Tran Phuong Ngoc Thao – Member of the Board of Directors, Director of Digital Transformation at PNJ and Ms. Nguyen Thi Minh Giang – Partner of Talent and Culture at Mekong Capital, Ms. Ha Thanh An – Co-Founder & COO Investment Business Partners (IBP) hosted the panel discussion. The experiences of the speakers have brought many valuable lessons to the Top startup SKSF 2021 as well as the Demo Day attendees.

The 6-month journey of “makeover” of Top startups SKSF 2021

SK Group aims to help startups have the best foundation and growth opportunities, so in addition to the financial grant at the end of the program, SKSF 2021 has provided invaluable non-financial support to help startups enhance their inner powers. These non-financial support items are in 2 main axes of activities, training and mentoring along the 6-month journey of the SKSF 2021 program.

Top 13 SKSF 2021 has finished 78 intensive 1:1 mentoring sessions from 19 mentors who are investors, entrepreneurs, and experts in the Vietnamese and international markets (Korea, Malaysia). In the midst of COVID, many startups experience a change in their growth journey. To comment on the “makeover” in the 6-month journey to join SKSF 2021 of the Top startup SKSF 2021, mentor Nguyen Thi Dieu Hang – CEO of BSSC, Vice President of HCMC Young Business Association (YBA) shared “Top startup SKSF 2021 have three characteristics: core technology, social impact, and the ability to scale up to international markets. SK Group is one of the large corporations, actively participating in supporting the Vietnam startup ecosystem in particular and the region in general. Programs like SKSF give startups many opportunities and motivation to continue on the path that the startup has chosen.” Mr. Le Hoang Thach – CEO of WeWe Technology JSC (Voiz FM) looks back on the 6-month mentoring journey of SKSF 2021 “The Mentoring Program of SKSF 2021 is very special with the companionship of 2 mentors: a Vietnamese mentor with management experience for domestic market and an SK Group mentor with a perspective of international market. During the 6-month journey of mentoring, Voiz FM has accumulated a lot of knowledge, skills and changed multidimensional perspectives, sharpened thinking in approaching, analyzing and evaluating problems to come up with correct business decisions. We not only applied them to manage our company with a typical Vietnamese environment, but also prepared for future plans to reach out to the international market.”

Who are Top 4 excellent startups of SKSF 2021, Bach#2?

After the competition of startups, the Board of Judges selected Top 4 excellent startups to award the top prizes of SKSF 2021. Ms.Truong Ly Hoang Phi, member of The Board of Judges SKSF 2021, shared “Top startup SKSF this year has the equal capacity. They have clear products and business models. Some startups know what they need. And all startups have strong teams to complement each other and It is also one of the things that makes The Board of Judges difficult to choose the Top 4. To talk about the Top 4 this year, I’m quite satisfied with the results. I see that most of them have made impressive initial steps, in addition to preparing to be able to scale up strongly in the near future. About the remaining Top 8, they are all excellent. I think each program has its own criteria, the fact that they are in the Top startup of this year’s program is an affirmation that their business models are very potential. In addition, I think with the potential of SK Group, it is always ready to connect the alumni network so that they can support each other in the near future.”

The top 4 SKSF 2021 named the startups that received the highest award of the program as a grant of 50,000 USD/startup:

  • VAIS (Vietnam Artificial Intelligence Solutions): VAIS builds core AI engines which help computers to understand human speech and natural languages. On top of the core engines, VAIS makes products that improve human productivity and creativity.
  • WeWe Technology JSC (Voiz FM): WeWe Technology JSC is the owner of Voiz FM, the leading pay-for-knowledge audio platform in Vietnam. Currently, we’re anchoring in audiobooks while still expanding our portfolio into other formats, such as podcast, pod-course, pod-series, sleep aid.
  • GIMO: Aimed at serving millions of underbanked Vietnamese working people, Gimo offers Earned Waged Access (EWA) service that is transparent and provides users with instant access to their earned income ahead of a scheduled payday.
  • Umbalena: an educational application to nurture the love of reading and enhance the reading culture of Vietnamese children from 2 to 6 years old.

The consolation prize is a grant of USD 26,000 that belongs to VIFO: a SaaS platform to connect and provide full-scale solutions for all insurance stakeholders at once.

The remaining startups receiving grants of 16,000 USD per startup include: Otrafy, Palexy, Veritas, Med247, Nam Tuoi Cuoi (Smiling Mushroom), CyHome, Phenikaa Maas.

Honor Top 4 SKSF 2021 and Consolation Prize at Demo Day

Mr. Nguyen Anh Quan Co-Founder & CEO of GIMO shared his feelings right after Demo Day “All Top13 SKSF 2021 are very talented, so the competition taking place at Demo Day is really competitive. Personally, I think GIMO was lucky to be in the Top 4 so my feelings right now are exciting!”

Demo Day closes the 6-month acceleration journey of Top startup SKSF 2021 with the values that startups receive even higher than grant awards: knowledge from intensive training sessions; real combat experience shared among alumni; the sharp product thinking and business acumen from mentors; strategic vision and global thinking in business orientation; valuable relationships in the Startup Ecosystem of Vietnam and the region.

SKSF 2021 Demo Day Registration

SK Startup Fellowship (SKSF) is a startup program run by the SK group, which is the third-largest conglomerate in Korea. In 2021, the program continues its second batch with 13 startups. After an intensive 6 months of training, workshops, and mentoring sessions, all startups will present their best at the Final Demo Day on 11 Nov 2021.

It is our pleasure to welcome you to join with our startup fellows on the Final Demo Day.



Ho Chi Minh City, 26th October 2021

On 11/11/2021, SK Group will organize a Demo Day event for SK Startup Fellowship 2021 (SKSF 2021). Top startups in SKSF Batch#2 has gone through a 6-month intensive training with experts, 1:1 mentoring with Vietnamese and international mentors . At the Demo Day event, startups will have a heated competition in showcasing their innovative business models in front of the Board of Judges including Investors, Venture Capital Funds, Entrepreneurs and Leading Experts. With sharp and comprehensive perspectives, the Board of Judges will assess and select the Top 4 to receive grants worth $50,000/startup. So which startups will be selected for the Top 4 in SKSF Batch#2? To know the answer, SK Group is pleased to welcome the startup ecosystem in Vietnam and interested guests to participate in Demo Day event of SKSF Batch#2 on 11/11/2021.

Why you shouldn’t miss the Demo Day of SKSF 2021?

The top startups of SKSF 2021 cover a wide range of industries such as  MedTech, FinTech, EduTech, AgriTech. Startups have shown their ability to catch up with the global trends by investing in R&D, and successfully exporting to the global market, such as alternative protein technology from mushrooms of Nấm Tươi Cười (Smiling Mushroom). Besides Nam Tuoi Cuoi, Otrafy is also very quick in responding to the Vietnam market by developing cutting edge technology solutions for the food industry supply chain. Its mission is to utilize Vietnam as the center stage to penetrate deeply into the Southeast Asia market. Overall, the Top startups have proven their sustainability and strength with a unique and innovative business model, and a mindset of developing global products with scalability.

The Top startups have spent over 6 months sharpening their business model with training activities such as Corporate Financial Management by KPMG, Pitching with investors by BSSC. More than that, the Board of mentors in the program, who have mentored and supported the startups throughout the past 6 months includes Vietnamese and international experts with many years of experience in business, technology and business globalization. Mentoring activities covered 1:1 in-depth mentoring for the startups, connecting them with the Vietnam Startup Ecosystem, creating a foundation for the startups to improve and develop a scalable business model.

The next highlight of the Demo Day event is the Board of Judges, which includes 4 leading experts in the Vietnam Startup Ecosystem. SK Group also emphasized that the Judges are the pioneers in building and developing support and investment programs for innovative startups in Vietnam and possesses 10 to 20 years of experience in the Vietnam innovation ecosystem. With diverse experience and expertise from many positions such as investors, venture capital fund managers, successful entrepreneurs of leading Vietnamese and international corporations, the Board of Judges is expected to have profound comments/ feedbacks on each business model of Top startups in SKSF Batch #2.

At SKSF Demo Day 2021, Mr. Le Hong Minh – Founder and General Director of VNG, Vietnam’s first unicorn startup, will have an Open Keynote session. His sharing is expected to focus not only on creating value but also brings deep insights for the Top startups. This would be a great opportunity for them to learn directly from Mr. Le Hong Minh, a leading speaker at many prestigious international conferences such as the World Economic Forum and Vietnam M&A Forum.

After a 6-month acceleration journey, Top startups have been equipped with profound strategies, effective tactics and experience to succeed in the market. All of them are eager to present and showcase their startup at Demo Day of SKSF 2021.Register for the SKSF Demo Day 2021 taking place on 11/11/2021 via this link


HCMC, 06 May 2021

On the afternoon of May 6th, 2021, SK Group held Orientation Day to officially welcome the

TOP 13 startups and kick off the SKSF program in 2021.

As shared by SK Group, the 2nd batch of SKSF received close to 200 applications, more than three times the number of applications received last year. This demonstrated the strong interest in the program from the Vietnam startup ecosystem. It should also be noted that the program clearly identified selection criteria, especially in the sectors and development stage, which helped to set expectations and attract the right applicants. It was observed that startups in batch #2 were just as outstanding as Batch#1.

What’s outstanding about Top 13?

Startups in Top 13 SKSF 2021 come from a wide range of sectors such as mobility, healthcare, medtech, fintech, edutech, AI/deep-tech, etc. Despite the difference in sectors, most startups share the same vision of creating a positive social impact with their products/ solutions. Such examples are GoDee, Busmap, Smiling Mushroom, Med247, Umbalena… to name a few. Indeed, social impact is a new but no less crucial criterion for SKSF to select this year’s fellows.

Another outstanding feature of Top 13 is their founding team. SKSF 2021 welcomes not just local founders but also Vietnamese who have studied and worked abroad, and even those seeking opportunities in a foreign land. A good mix among local and international talents in batch #2 is something rarely seen in other startup programs or accelerators. It’s also interesting to observe the recent shift where Vietnamese founders like Thong Do from Palexy or Truong Do from VAIS are bringing the technology and the expertise they acquired from their time abroad to launch their business in Vietnam. When done right, these startups could form a strong competitive advantage where they combine the world’s advanced technology with local insight. Looking ahead, this shift shows that Vietnam is becoming a startup hub for both local and international talents. 

Interestingly, Top 13 had two approaches in their business development which are “start from Vietnam then go global”; and “start globally then entering Vietnam”. In the first approach, the startups had strong R&D capabilities, especially in trendy sectors such as foodtech. When the world is moving towards alternative food, one startup in SKSF 2021, Emmay, is getting ready to export their fungi-based meat globally. In the second approach, the startups showed a high adaptation to the local market when bringing new technology or solutions from the world to Vietnam. Such examples include GoDee and Otrafy. These startups also believe that Vietnam could be a launchpad for them to penetrate into the Southeast Asian market.

Coming to the program this year, Top 13 express both expectation and appreciation for the values tailored for them, such as mentoring, networking with SK Group and local business, access to the experts and investors in SK Group’s ecosystem. At Orientation Day, Mr. Tuan Truong, Founder & CEO of Med247 shared the reason they joined SK Startup Fellowship 2021: ”We believe Med247 would be able to connect and build a relationship with mentors, experts, and other alumni who could support Med247 in our development journey and creating a good impact on society through the program”

SKSF 2021 expects to bring more value and build strong networks for the startups. Orientation Day is the start of the Top 13’s journey in the program this year. They will continue to have intensive training programs from SKSF partners such as KPMG, BSSC, Nextrans; and in-depth networking sessions with the key players in the startup ecosystem in Vietnam and the region. The Top 13 will also have the opportunity to participate in Vietnam Startup Day 2021 which is one of the largest startup events in Southeast Asia hosted by BSSC. SKSF 2021 will end with the Demo Day event in October 2021. During the DemoDay, each startup will pitch in front of investors/judges and the Top 4 team will be selected to receive a no-equity grant worth $ 50,000 per startup; the other 9 startups would each receive a grant worth $ 16,000. 

Top 13 SK Startup Fellowship 2021, Batch#2

NoTop 13 SKSF 2021RepresentativeIntroduction
1VAIS – Vietnam Artificial Intelligence SolutionsTruong DoVAIS builds core AI engines which help computers to understand human speech and natural languages. On top of the core engines, VAIS makes products that improve human productivity and creativity.
2Otrafy IncNhat NguyenOtrafy is an enterprise quality assurance software that automates mundane document processing by managing the collection, storage and transfer of certification data across the food chain.
3Palexy Pte LtdTony DoPalexy aims to empower retailers to optimize the customer in-store experience and operational efficiency using our market leading Artificial Intelligence and Computer Vision technologies.
4VeritasThanh LeVeritas is a leading Startup of R&D new materials aiming to reduce plastic use in Vietnam. Officially established since 2015, Veritas is the first company producing new materials by coffee grounds in Vietnam.
5VIFOVuong Viet LinhVIFO is a SaaS platform to connect and provide full-scale solutions for all insurance stakeholders at once.
6Med247Tuan TruongMed247 is an offline clinic to online healthcare app service startup that facilitates app-based post-treatment after offline visits to the Med247 clinics.
7GoDeeRuslan KarabukaevGoDee provides fixed-route mass-transit that customers can book their tickets via our mobile application. The application has UI/UX layers on demand with real time tracking and suggests a route feature.
8WeWe Technology JSCThach LeWeWe Technology JSC is the owner of Voiz FM, the leading pay-for-knowledge audio platform in Vietnam. Currently, we’re anchoring in audiobooks while still expanding our portfolio into other formats, such as podcast, pod-course, pod-series, sleep aid.
9Nam Tuoi Cuoi – EmmayVan PhamNam tuoi cuoi provides products based on fungi – biotechnology, to create alternative protein for foods and beverages products in the most resource efficient and sustainable way.
10CyfeerPhong PhamCyHome provides solutions to optimize the management process, connecting communication between Property Managers and Residents transparently and conveniently.
11GimoQuan NguyenAimed at serving millions of underbanked Vietnamese working people, Gimo offers Earned Waged Access (EWA) service that is transparent and provides users with instant access to their earned income ahead of a scheduled payday.
12UmbalenaTrinh LeUmbalena is an educational application to nuture the love of reading and enhance the reading culture of Vietnamese children from 2 to 6 years old.
13Phenikaa MaaS Technology JSC (BusMap)Bich NguyenPhenikaa MaaS Technology is the leading public transit (bus, metro) app in Vietnam. Besides, the company is a reputable supplier of Smart Transit Solutions for Government and Enterprises.


Ho Chi Minh City, March 9, 2021

It is without doubt that the unprecedented impact of COVID-19 has caused tremendous challenges in international trade and business development all over the world. Despite that, the Vietnam startup ecosystem has welcomed good news in the beginning of 2021. SK Group, the third largest conglomerate in Korea, has officially kicked off the second batch of SK Startup Fellowship Program in 2021. This has demonstrated a strong and long-term commitment of SK Group towards its investment and social responsibility in Vietnam. 

SK Startup Fellowship Program (SKSF) has the mission to discover high potential early-stage startups and provide them with grant and in-kind support. At the same time, the Program strives to build a long-lasting relationship with all the startups alumni. For the second batch in 2021, SKSF aims to source and select 12 finalist startups who have raised less than $3 million in total funding. The 12 finalists would all receive grants (non-equity funds) from SKSF, with the top 4 receiving $50,000 each and the other 8 startups receiving $16,000 each. Beside grant, all finalists would receive in-kind support from SKSF and its partners throughout the 6 months of the Program, including training on financial management from KPMG, training on Investor Pitching from BSSC, 1on1 mentoring, workshop with Vietnam businesses, networking activities with the startup ecosystem. More importantly, the finalists would have the chance to connect with SK Group and its subsidiaries over 40 countries to explore opportunities for further business development. SK Group has future plans to invite SKSF finalists and alumni for a tour at SK Group’s facilities in Korea and meet up with top management, this has clearly demonstrated the Group’s goodwill in building strong relationships with the Vietnam startups.

SK Startup Fellowship 2021 also welcomes a local Program Partner – Business Startup Support Center (BSSC), to bring more benefits for the startups, particularly in connecting with the local business ecosystem. The 12 finalists would get exclusive offers from BSSC to participate in Startup Day 2021 – one of the largest and most intensive startup exhibition events in Southeast Asia. At Startup Day, the startups would pitch with more than 500 investors / VCs, showcase their technology and products/services, as well as approach 15,000 potential customers and business partners.

The SK Startup Fellowship 2021, Batch#2 is now open for Vietnamese startups across all fields, with priority given to startups applying technology to solve social problems. Vietnamese startups in the early stage or post seed stage with products and revenues are all welcomed to apply for the program. Hi-tech startups holding a service/product related patent(s) will be eligible to participate even without the revenue requirements.

Application for SKSF 2021 details are as follows:

12 finalist for the ’19 SK Startup Fellowship(SKSF) Program

Congratulation for all companies that have made it into the SKSF program!

South Korea SK Group acquires $1 bln stake in Vingroup

South Korean conglomerate SK Group has spent $1 billion to acquire stake in Vietnam’s largest private conglomerate Vingroup.  

By purchasing 205.7 million shares at the price of VND113,000 ($4.85) each, SK has secured a 6.15 percent stake in the Vietnamese company.

Vingroup in March sought its shareholders’ vote on a plan to raise at least VND25 trillion ($1.08 billion) through a private placement to foreign investors.

It planned to use VND10 trillion ($432.3 million) of the proceeds to restructure its debts, VND6 trillion ($259.4 million) to invest in its auto company VinFast, technology firm VinTech and smartphone maker Vinsmart.

Vingroup is Vietnam’s largest listed company by market capitalization and is worth VND368 trillion ($15.8 billlion).

SK is among the largest conglomerates in South Korea with businesses in telecommunications, technology, electronics, logistics and service.

Last year, it had a revenue of $132 billion, with total asset worth $184 billion. 

In September, SK Group acquired a 9.5 percent stake in Vietnam’s diversified business Masan Group for $470 million.

Source :

SK Group announces $30mln investment for Vietnam’s innovation centre

SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won reached the agreement while making a three-day visit to Vietnam last week.

NIC, planned to be developed in an industrial park in Hanoi, will host some 40 big technology companies and 150 startups, plus 15 venture investment funds. Its construction is expected to be completed by 2020.

Last month, the SK Group said it planned to purchase a 6.1 percent stake of Vietnam’s real estate-retail-tech giant Vingroup at the price of 1 billion USD. In 2018, the group spent some 470 million USD acquiring 110 million shares in Masan Group, the second largest private firm in Vietnam.

In August 2018, its five affiliates, including SK Holdings Co. and SK Innovation Co., established a joint venture named SK South East Asia Investment Pte. Ltd. in Vietnam to launch promising business opportunities in the burgeoning Southeast Asian market.

Chey said that his group will continue practical investment to create practical value for the Vietnamese people.

The Korean group operates in the fields of energy, telecommunications, high-tech components, logistics and services. It has been present in more than 40 countries and territories.

source :

Masan Group and SK Group complete strategic partnership deal

Masan Group signed a strategic partnership agreement with SK Group on September 19. The agreement will enable the two parties to draw on each other’s strengths to accelerate Masan’s and SK’s respective growth strategies. The corporate groups aim to jointly pursue transformational business opportunities in Vietnam and to synergise existing business units.

SK Group is one of the largest corporate groups in South Korea, with business across energy, chemicals, telecommunications, semiconductors, logistics, and services. SK Group operates globally across more than 40 countries and had a combined revenue of $141 billion as of the end of 2017.

SK’s investment of approximately $470 million will entirely comprise of new capital and SK will own 9.5 per cent of Masan Group. The company plans to utilise the proceeds to fund its future growth initiatives, as well as to strengthen its balance sheet.

With a strong balance sheet, Masan will add up to $50 million of net earnings per annum for the full year of 2019, while gross debt to EBITDA is expected to decrease to 2.5x by the end of 2018. Management expects core net after-tax profit to jump by at least 50 per cent in the fiscal year of 2018 and forecast similar base case earnings growth momentum for the 2019 fiscal year as each of its core business continues to deliver on its growth plans.

Masan plans to consolidate cash at the group level by up-streaming free cash flows from its subsidiaries to build a strategic investment war chest and/or return capital to shareholders. MSN does not intend to issue additional shares to investors over the next three years.