Malaysian YouthsToday gets US$33,719 grant at Korean startup competition

Malaysian startup has received MYR 150,000 (about US$ 33,719) in forms of grants and investement at the K-Statup Grand Challenge, an acceleration program initiated by the Korean government for foreign startups.

One of the biggest success stories was the Malaysian startup, which is a platform that connects students to corporate sponsors for events. It is also a portfolio company of the venture capital firm, Gobi Partners.

“We could not be happier to make it through to the final phase of the programme,” said YouthsToday Chief Executive Officer, Jazz Tan. “What is next for us, in a word is expansion. We are hoping to bring more South Korean team members on board and continue networking and reaching out to Korean universities and students.”

The startup has now established in 20 Korean university campuses and is valued at more than US$ 1 million as it serves tens of thousands of university students.

YouthsToday is among the top 20 startups, selected from a pool of 2,400 companies that have also applied for the Korean government’s programme. Others include Fingertips Lab, Prekesh, Traversal and Imagga which occupy the top 4 positions in the Korean startup challenge.

Overall, the top 20 teams originated from 10 different countries and represent industries ranging from custom cosmetics and advance online security to biotech and Internet of Things (IoT).

“These startups will receive the support they need to continue their time in Korea, with free office space for another six months, approximately US$ 30,000 each in additional to government grants, and further investments from VCs and other investors,” YouthsToday said.

These benefits follow suit the advantages received by the teams during their initial acceleration period, which included a contribution of monthly stipends at roughly US$ 4,100 for living expenses, office space, as well as mentorship from major Korean tech companies.

“This was our first acceleration programme bringing international startups to Korea and it’s been an incredible success from start to finish,” said Director from the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning, Dr. Chang-Yong Ahn.

Having launched this year, K-Startup Grand Challenge is the first international acceleration programme by the South Korean government. The government’s intent with the programme was to increase diversity in the South Korean startup ecosystem.

“We need more diversity in South Korean startups, and the K-Startup Grand Challenge proves that international startups can succeed in South Korea if they have the right support,” said Shift director Juno Kwon, one of the four South Korea-based accelerators that took charge of mentoring the startups in the programme.

Among local accelerators involved in the programme were Shift, SparkLabs, DEV Korea and ActnerLab. Each took charge of 10 startups, providing professional mentoring, networking and other support.

Commenting on the event, DEV Korea CEO Rock Oh also said, “I truly believe that South Korea will become an international startup hub, especially with government support, directed through smart programmes like the K-Startup Grand Challenge.”

By Vivian Foo, Unicorn Media

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