Over three hard-work days, 20 teams co-built innovative solutions centered on fintech and consumer lifestyle to tackle challenges in the Vietnamese and ASEAN markets. Seasoned mentors from the likes of Akamai (Mr. Nick Tran), MoMo (Mr. Nguyen Ba Diep) and Sendo (Mr. Nguyen Phuong Hoang) as well as business executives from Kasikorn Group, namely KBank, Kasikorn Business Technology Group (KBTG) and Beacon Venture Capital, were available around the clock and sat down with startups to provide them with hands-on guidance through their formulation journey.
The event culminated with a pitch in front of reputable judges including the State Bank of Vietnam, KVision, and NextTech. The winning team is selected based on the criteria of creativity, user experience, commercial value, and development ability of the solution.
The grand winners, Ecom Easy Asia, an e-commerce solution provider, and Ninjaman, a marketplace for lifestyle and home services in Vietnam, took home US$7,000 in cash while the top contestants won a total of over $70,000 in other prizes and perks. The winners were selected on the basis of the creativity, user experience, value creation and scalability of their solutions.
Mr. Duc Tran, CEO of VIISA, said, “We designed the program to combine all the right tools and the right partners to make real creation possible so that startups don’t just walk away with ideas but a real foundation for them to grow their business.”
Before that, Mr. Duc said that the time for partnerships is now. Gone is the time when brick-and-mortar corporations and startups could simply view each other as competitors, he said. Partnerships between the two could bring synergy and combination of various strengths to accelerate growth, allowing startups to expand at a time of increasing competition while also allowing corporations to transform in the digital age.
Chat Luangarpa, first senior vice president of KBank said, “Hackathons bring a great atmosphere. There was a sense of creating something together to bring something new and different to the market. And in the end, it’s not just about winning the hackathon, but about finding a real solution to create real value and spur growth in the wider ecosystem.”
Luangarpa added, “We are very impressed by the creativity of the solutions that these startups brought to the table. They have all demonstrated extremely innovative thinking, and we look forward to seeing how these ideas can transform our industry going forward.”
KVision sees immense potential in Vietnamese startups to grow not only at home but in the region. KBank first entered Vietnam in 2015 with representative offices in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Currently, KBank plans to upgrade its Ho Chi Minh City representative office to its first branch in Vietnam once the license is granted. Alongside setting up branches, KBank also looks to bring in digital solutions, including partnerships with startups to address financial service gaps and drive disruption in the region.