The judges award the prize for the first place winner. — VNS Photo
HÀ NỘI — Team GridComm, pitching a smart street lighting solution for cities, along with their partner G Element, a 3D software company focusing on smart cities and buildings, won first place and a prize of US$5,000 at the Smart City Innovation Challenge (SCIC) Demo Day in Hà Nội on Monday.
The Smart City Innovation Challenge, launched in July this year, sought smart city solutions in 12 key focus areas identified by the city governments and the smart city steering committees of Việt Nam. Fifteen teams from around the world were selected to pitch their smart cities solutions for Việt Nam at the SCIC Demo Day.
XRVision, a facial recognition software that works in highly variable, unpredictable environments, and MimosaTek, a Việt Nam-based urban agriculture startup providing irrigation solutions for all crops, won second and third place with prizes of $3,000 and $2,000 respectively.
Other finalists were also matched with local mentors who are influential within the Vietnamese smart city and local business ecosystem. These connections aim to help them grow and accelerate their sales pipelines, develop business plans and receive valuable corporate insights regarding market strategy in Việt Nam.
TNB Ventures, a venture capital partner for Smart City Innovation Challenge Việt Nam, will consider Series A funding for high-potential companies.
The categories in which the teams presented solutions include affordable housing, energy efficiency, traffic management and smarter parking, waste management, urban agriculture, water purification and delivery, public security and monitoring of natural disasters, ecotourism and environmental planning, health care, education, e-government services and more greenery and public spaces. The call specified that solutions should be specifically suitable for Việt Nam’s cities.
The competition received 197 submissions from over 30 countries. A selection committee of industry judges short-listed the 15 finalists.
They come from the United States, Singapore, Switzerland, Turkey, Israel, China, Australia and Việt Nam.
Mike Holt, CEO of GridComm, said his company’s streetlight control system dramatically reduces cities’ overall electricity cost. It also includes a sensor network that provides data insights that can help urban planners.
“Once this infrastructure is in place, Việt Nam will then have the ability to deploy other smart city projects such as traffic management or urban planning much faster and easier,” Holt said.
Dominic Mellor, head of the Mekong Business Initiative (MBI), said that the demand for innovative solutions to develop cities in Việt Nam has never been higher, as rapid development has pushed urban infrastructure beyond its capacity.
John Trần, MBI’s project coordinator for ecosystem development in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Việt Nam, said that the 15 finalist teams displayed a genuine desire to improve local lives.
“As a local, I can say that Việt Nam has reached a critical point of inflection where drastic measures are needed to address real urban issues. The attendance of representatives from over 30 provinces in Việt Nam expresses serious interest and need for deployable solutions,” he said.
The Smart City Vietnam Demo Day was organised by MBI in cooperation with The National Agency for Technology Entrepreneurship and Commercialisation Development (NATEC-MOST), HCM City Department of Science and Technology, Đà Nẵng Business Incubator (DNES), Việt Nam Angel Investor Network (iAngel) and Việt Nam Software Association (VINASA). — VNS