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June 24, 2019

Korea-Finland joint startup events wrap up with 27-hour hackathon

PUBLISHED : June 13, 2019 - 13:56

UPDATED : June 13, 2019 - 14:00

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Joint startup events hosted by entities from South Korea and Finland this week wrapped up June 12 with a 27-hour hackathon.

At the Korea-Finland Joint Hackathon, 40 college students from Korea and 20 from Finland broke down into eight teams to come up with solutions to create eco-friendly cities. The event was co-hosted by Seoul-based hardware accelerator N15 and Finnish hackathon community operator Junction.

The idea of using technology to create an “eco-friendly green city of the future” was suggested by Korean President Moon Jae-in and Finnish President Sauli Niinisto. 

Korean President Moon Jae-in (left) and Finnish President Sauli Niinisto proposes a topic for the joint hackathon held in Helsinki on June 11
Courtesy of Kim So-young


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Team Jubilee won the top prize for the idea of upcycling waste to create an internet-of-things device that would allow the families of senior citizens to keep track of their health and whereabouts. The team was led by Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology student Seo Hyun-sun and Aalto University School of Science student Eemil Rantala.

The runner-up, HyvaCC, channeled virtual/augmented reality-powered gamification into an app that would allow users to make a game of picking up trash. Yonsei University student Kim So-young and Aalto University School of Science student Frans Lehmusvaara led the team.

Some 25 seasoned Korean startup entrepreneurs mentored teams at the hackathon, according to the Korean Ministry of SMEs and Startups. These included food-delivery unicorn Woowa Brothers CEO Kim Bong-jin; Lee Su-jin, CEO of the newest Korean unicorn, Yanolja; and officials from Finnish accelerator The Shortcut and startup GIM Robotics.

The event was part of Korea-Finland Startup Summit 2019, which kicked off June 11 during Moon’s three-day state visit to Finland with a startup-strong business delegation. Private entities the Korea Startup Forum and the Aalto Entrepreneurship Society took the lead.

On June 11, Nokia Chairman Risto Siilasmaa spoke about the Finnish government’s efforts to transform the economy through innovation.

During an investor relations session, 10 Korean startups and nine Finnish venture firms pitched their business ideas before some 100 investors. Some 50 exhibition booths were there to represent Korean and Finnish venture firms.

Also, three MOUs were announced at the event -- between the Korea Startup Forum and the Aalto Entrepreneurship Society; between the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency, the Korea Institute of Startup & Entrepreneurship Development and Business Finland; and between the Korea Venture Investment Corp. and Finnish Industry Investment.

“The bilateral ties between Korea and Finland are becoming stronger than ever in 73 years,” Startups Minister Park Young-sun said in a statement.

By Son Ji-hyoung (consnow@heraldcorp.com)

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