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SK STARTUP FELLOWSHIP 2021, BATCH#2 TOP 13 STARTUPS ANNOUNCEMENT
10/05/2021

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.

SK Startup Fellowship 2020, Batch # 1 chose 12 startups, of which 4 startups received $ 50,000 per startup (non-equity funds): Earable, Ecomobi, eyeQ Tech and Logivan; other 8 startups received $ 16,000 per startup are Bonie Bee, Cooky.vn, Luxstay, MindX, Okiela, Talecity, Validus và WeWow.

After the success of Batch#1, SK Startup Fellowship 2021, Batch#2 has officially kicked off:

The organizer: SK Group is the third largest conglomerate in Korea by its asset size, with a history of nearly 70 years. SK Group is composed of more than 100 operating companies, that operate across over 40 territories focusing on four major areas: Energy, ICT, Semiconductors and Bio. SK Group has reached USD 119 billion in revenue in 2019, ranked among the Top 100 global businesses on the Fortune 500 list. From 2018, SK Group has been actively investing in the Vietnamese market through major deals: $ 1 billion in Vingroup, $ 470 million in Masan Group,and most recently $410m in VinCommerce. In 2020, SK Group launched the SK Startup Fellowship program, demonstrating its commitment to long- term investment in the Vietnamese market.

Program Partner: BSSC is considered as one of the most prestigious and largest startup support organizations in Vietnam with many specialized activities such as Fund, Incubator Program, Accelerator Program. The BSSC’s ecosystem has more than 10,000 Startups & SMEs, 25,000 Entrepreneurs, 100 Mentors & Industry Experts, 200 Angel Investors & Venture Capital Funds.