SK Startup Fellowship 2022 (SKSF 2022) DemoDay officially took place

SKSF is an annual program of SK Group with the goal of discovering and supporting early-stage startup talents. The program lays the foundation for SK Group’s companionship with Vietnamese startups, which demonstrates the Group’s long-term commitment to investment and cooperation in Vietnam. SKSF Batch #3 was officially launched on April 14, 2022 and attracted more than 150 applications. After two successful batches, the SKSF program has established its reputation in the Vietnam startup ecosystem, demonstrated by the fact that the startups operate  in a variety of sectors, many startups possess highly integrated core technologies, strong research capabilities and valuable patents, the founder teams are composed of Vietnamese and international talents who have strong educational background and startup experience in Vietnam and international markets, and all of them share a common vision of creating positive impacts on society. On June 23, 2022, SKSF 2022 announced Top 12 startups who entered into a 6-month acceleration program. After 6 months, with SKSF’s support through many intensive acceleration activities, Top 12 have achieved breakthrough achievements and development milestones. On November 10, 2022, Top 12 SKSF 2022 startups participated in Demo Day – the finale of the program to select Top 4 to receive a grant of US$50,000 /startup; one startup to receive the Honorary Award worth US$26,000 and the remaining startups to receive US$16,000/startup. These are all cash and non-equity grants. 

After being held online in the previous two years due to the Covid19 pandemic, SKSF Demo Day was finally held offline in 2022 so that SK Group, alumni, partners and guests of the program can meet and connect directly. The Demo Day welcomed the participation of more than 100 attendees who are Startup Alumni, Investors, VCs, Corporations, etc., to discuss business cooperation and investment opportunities. Speaking at the opening of Demo Day SKSF 2022, Mr. Yoo Ji Han, Executive Vice President SK Group said “Top 12 startups selected to the final round are operating in various sectors including healthcare, edutech, fintech, agritech, IoT, AI, block chain, and they all possess strong growth potential given their stellar R&D capabilities coupled with patented and highly integrated core technology. I hope that we will soon hear the news of the Next Unicorn from our fellows and alumni. After a long Covid pandemic period, we have seen the light. However, many startups continue facing challenges in scaling up and fundraising amid the existing political and economic uncertainty. However, I believe that with the insightful industry knowledge and determination of the founders, as well as innovations and efforts of the startups to survive through this “winter”, “spring” will soon return. I promise that SK will always accompany your endeavors as you spread your wings to continue your journey.”

Mr. Yoo Ji Han – Executive Vice President of SK Group opened Demo Day SKSF 2022

The Board of Judges for Demo Day SKSF 2022 comprises leading experts in the Vietnam startup ecosystem: Mr. Hung Truong – Senior Investment Director at SK Vietnam, Ms. Truong Ly Hoang Phi – Chairwoman & CEO of IBP and Vice President of YBA, Mr. Rishab Malik – Venture Partner at Jungle Ventures, Ms. Phuong Tran – Co-head of Investment and Head of Vietnam at Wavemaker Partners, and Mr. Chuck Kim – Head of Fundraising at Grab. The judges stand from different perspectives including those of individual investors, venture capital fund managers, and entrepreneurs, and each has 10 to 20 years of working experience in the startup and innovation ecosystems in Vietnam and the region. As members of leading corporations, the Board of Judges brought sharp counter-arguments and valuable suggestions for each business model of Top startup SKSF Batch #3. Each startup had a 5-minute pitch and a 5-minute Q&A in front of The Board of Judges. In this challenging competition, Top 12 startups of SKSF 2022 shared comprehensive pictures of their businesses that emphasize their innovative business models and demonstrate breakthrough technologies, thereby providing convincing answers to the judges. Having listened to those presentations, corporations, investors, and investment funds could obtain useful information as they explored opportunities for cooperation, investment and companionship with Top 12 startups in their growth journeys in the near future.

Mr. Michael Han – Chief of Representative Office SK Group presents gifts to thank The Board of Mentors SKSF 2022

In addition, Demo Day also brought startups and attendees a deep multi-dimensional perspective through the sharing of Mr. Louis Nguyen – Founder & CEO of Saigon Asset Management (SAM).

Mr. Louis Nguyen – Founder & CEO Saigon Asset Management (SAM) with Open Keynote at Demo Day SKSF 2022

The 6-month acceleration journey of Top 12 startups SKSF 2022

Through the SKSF program, SK Group aims to help startups build foundations and create networks of partners for business growth. Besides the non-equity grants, SKSF 2022 has brought invaluable non-financial support for startups to boost their inner strengths. The non-financial support includes two main streams of activities: training and mentoring during the 6-month journey of the SKSF 2022 program.

In particular, Top 12 SKSF 2022 have gone through 24 in-depth 1:1 mentoring sessions with 11 mentors who are investors, entrepreneurs, and experts with years of experience in the Vietnamese and international markets, in-depth training sessions on corporate finance management with KPMG, and networking sessions with more than 20 investors, investment funds, large corporations… Sharing about the progress of Top 12 startups after the 6-month journey, mentor Nguyen Thi Dieu Hang – CEO of BSSC, Vice President of YBA said “Because the Top 12 SKSF 2022 are all outstanding and come from a variety of industries, I think batch #3 will be the most “challenging” batch of the three batches for The Board of Judges to select the Top 4”. Mr. Thong Le Anh Tuan – Founder & CEO Selly looked back at SKSF 2022’s 6-month accelerator journey and said “SKSF is one of the best value-creating accelerator programs that I have ever participated in. In the past 6 months, I have obtained immeasurable values from the connection with outstanding founders among which we have shared many lessons together, as well as the connection with an extremely quality mentor. SKSF has created an impressive playground with many excellent founders; together we have experienced very difficult challenges of the program. Many thanks to SK Group!”

The program is rigorous, and designed to push startups to “do more faster”. By the end of the 6-month program in 2022, SKSF startups have shown significant growth and achievements:

–       Bizzi signed a partnership agreement with HCMC Young Business Association (YBA) which gives them strategic access to a large potential customer pool

–       Fundiin and VUIHOC successfully raised 6-figure rounds from regional and local investors amid difficult economic times

–       BenKon, Selex Motors, Hi-tech Care Technology JSC, Realbox, Selly, SoBanHang, Cypher AI, CyberPurify, N2TP all made significant progress in key business functions such as revenue growth, new product launch, human resources and organizational development, etc.

These highlights demonstrate that Top 12 startups of SKSF 2022 have channeled their efforts into building strong internal capabilities which later paved the way for their sustainable growth strategies and successful fundraising during times of economic downturn. Graduating from the program, SKSF startups now have a strong foundation ready to scale. All of these were shared on stage at SKSF Demo Day 2022, making the event a unique opportunity for investors and corporations alike to look for potential startup investment deals or partnerships.

Who are Top 4 startups of SKSF 2022, Bach#3?

Top 12 SKSF 2022

After the presentations of Top 12, the Board of Judges SKSF 2022 selected Top 4 startups to award the highest prize of SKSF 2022. Ms. Truong Ly Hoang Phi – Member of The Board of Judges for Demo Day SKSF 2022 shared “I have been a member of The Board of Judges of SKSF for 3 years. I realize that SKSF is increasingly proving its credibility in the process of selecting and screening startups into the Top startup. For Batch#3, it was quite difficult for The Board of Judges to choose startups in the Top 4 because each company is excellent in its field. Even if some of them are not in the Top 4, I still admit them as very strong companies from the team, the founder team is really good, working very well to create the good products. I think SKSF’s endorsement for the Top 12 is also one of the good platforms for them to work harder and have new growth momentum. To me, besides the Top 4 that received the highest awards, the Top 12 are also excellent. I believe that they will go very far in the future. Today SKSF also invites many investment funds and large companies to Demo Day to seek cooperation and investment opportunities. I believe the value of the program lies there as well.”

Top 4 SKSF 2022

Selly is the leading Social Commerce platform in Vietnam. Selly empowers women and people with disadvantaged backgrounds to become micro-entrepreneurs and earn extra income with zero investment.

VUIHOC is a K12 after-school online education platform with 2 main products: VUIHOC DUO & VUIHOC TUTOR. VUIHOC makes learning exciting, engaging & effective by leveraging deep pedagogy & cutting edge technology. 

Bizzi is the B2B SaaS startup to help simplify and automate business payment processes.

SoBanHang focuses on empowering MSMEs to thrive on digital technology and create a sustainable impact on society. In which, SoBanHang application was created to help small and micro businesses build online stores, sell to more customers and manage cash flow easily on smartphones.

Honorary Award, a grant of US$26,000 belonged to N2TP (SmartDose AI) which is a platform that supports hospitals in personalizing dosage regimes for drugs with a narrow therapeutic window, helping increase the drug’s therapeutic effects while minimizing adverse events, hence, bringing more benefits to patients.

Honorary Award of SKSF 2022

The remaining startups received US$16,000/startup: Benkon, CyberPurify, Cypher AI, Fundiin, Hi-tech Care Technology JSC, Realbox, Selex Motors.

Demo Day has wrapped up the SK Startup Fellowship 2022 program. The program is a memorable milestone for Top 12 in their growth journeys as they received valuable support from SKSF. Besides the grant of nearly US$350,000, Top 12 SKSF also obtained knowledge from in-depth training sessions, experience shared among alumni, mentors’ sharp product thinking and practical business mindsets, strategic vision with international business development orientation from SK Group, and networks of valuable relationships in Vietnam and regional startup ecosystems from Program Partner BSSC and Partners such as KPMG, Do Ventures, Vinacapital Ventures, GRAB, Nextrans, Jungle Ventures, Wavemaker Partners. The SKSF 2022 program is temporarily ended, but SK Group and its partners continue to support startup alumni in their growth journeys after the program.

SK Startup Fellowship 2022, Batch#3
Organizer: SK Group – the second largest conglomerate in Korea. Nearly 70 years of establishment history, SK has more than 100 subsidiaries that operate across over 40 countries and territories, with a variety of industries such as Energy, Telecommunications, Semiconductor and Materials, Biotechnology and other services. SK Group recorded revenue of US$139 billion in 2021 and was ranked in the Top 100 Global Enterprises of Fortune 500. Since 2018, SK Group has officially entered the Vietnamese market through major investments such as: approximately US$1 billion investment in Vingroup, more than US$1.2 billion investment in Masan Group and its member companies, etc. 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 one of Vietnam’s most prestigious and largest startup support organizations. BSSC’s ecosystem has more than 15,000 Startups/SMEs, 25,000 Entrepreneurs, 100 Mentors & Professionals, 200 Angel Investors and Venture Capital Funds. As a Program Partner of SK Startup Fellowship 2022, BSSC is committed to contributing quality resources to the program.