EQT Foundation’s Impact Pitch Competition in Seoul Unveils Top Three Winners

EQT Foundation is proud to announce the top three placements from the Impact Challenge pitch competition, which took place in Seoul, South Korea.

The Grand Finale occurred on September 14th, where the final five impact focused startups were selected with breakthrough solutions and competed for a chance to win.

This pitch competition was held in association with Try Everything and in partnership with EO Studio, Seoul Metropolitan Government and Maekyung Media Group.

Grand Finale - Seoul

The Impact Challenge pitch competition took place at Try Everything 2023, a large global startup festival. The impact pitch competitions have been established to promote the growth and advancement of impact entrepreneurship across various countries, offering a platform for impact startups to showcase their innovative ideas. After a rigorous selection process, the final five startups chosen to participate in the Grand Finale were selected due being the five strongest contenders, in addition to their strong commitment to making a positive impact in the thematic fields of Planet and Humanity.

In the weeks leading up to the Grand Finale, the startups received mentorship from Yeo Jung Moon, Investor at IMM Investment Corp, Jeungbin Kim, founder of Superbin, and Taeyang Lee, co-founder of Viva Republica (Toss), Growth Partner at Bass Investment. Through these mentoring sessions, the startups received advice and guidance on how they should present their breakthrough solutions, how to pitch to investors and gained valuable insights from the mentors own experiences.

During the Grand Finale, the startups presented their breakthrough business ideas, highlighted the solutions' impact value and engaged in a Q&A session for further discussion with the judges. The jury consisted of key leading impact investors in the Korean startup ecosystem. They are as follows:

  • Sangyeob Han, CEO and Managing Director of Sopoong
  • Hyunjoo Je, Founder and Managing Partner of Envisioning Partners
  • Duckjun Lee, Founder and CEO of D3 Jubilee Partners
  • Johnny Choi, Chief Investment Officer and Executive Director of FuturePlay Inc.
  • Sang Jung Suh, Managing Director at EQT Partners Korea Infrastructure
  • Cilia Holmes Indahl, CEO EQT Foundation

Following a thorough selection process, the jury identified the following three startups as the top winners:

1st Place: Code of Nature is developing a practical solution for restoring forest disaster areas using their Moss Spore Culture Kit. Code of Nature has created a specialized nutrient kit that utilizes moss's natural vitality to rejuvenate depleted soil. This method not only stands as a more eco-friendly and sustainable alternative to conventional heavy equipment and manual labor but also trims both the costs and time necessary for the restoration process.

2nd Place: Greenish is developing a sperm assisting lubricant that dramatically increases the probability of pregnancy through enhancement of sperm function. Historically, infertility research and treatments have been women-centric, but there is an equal majority of men affected by infertility, one issue being declining sperm mobility. This company aims to provide a balanced solution by focusing on enhancing male reproductive health.

3rd Place: CNS INT is addressing the issue of climate warming by employing microalgae, a sustainable natural resource, to effectively remove carbon dioxide. Microalgae play a crucial role by capturing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and generating oxygen through photosynthesis. CNS INT aligns with global trends as they utilize microalgae to decrease greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to the establishment of a green carbon circular economy system on our planet.

The first place winner of the competition won a direct investment of 100K EUR by EQT Foundation, alongside access to EQT Group’s expert support from its 1800 employees to assist in backing their development through EQT’s large network and extensive expertise. The startups in second and third place will be introduced to EQT Foundation’s Investment Team for further evaluation.

The impact pitch competitions are aimed at discovering and supporting impact startups within the impact ecosystem of that country. These competitions have the goal to give a platform to small impact startups of breakthrough science in the areas of Planet and Humanity. EQT Foundation provides catalytic capital to help entrepreneurs and researchers bring breakthrough impact ideas from lab to market, combining the expertise of EQT with critical funding gaps. The purpose of EQT Foundation is to push the frontiers of impact through incubating the field of impact investing, supporting development of benchmarks for the market to more effectively allocate capital for impact and help the financial market to correctly account for and translate impact into dollar value.


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About EQT Foundation
EQT Foundation is the philanthropic arm of EQT, a global investment firm with Nordic roots. The EQT Foundation is an impact first investor and incubator, supporting disruptive innovations. Founded by the EQT Partners, EQT Foundation safeguards EQT’s values, pushes the frontiers of impact, and activates the entire EQT organization to give back to society in meaningful ways. By supporting entrepreneurs, researchers, and non-profit organizations, while leveraging the passion and expertise of EQT, the EQT Foundation aims to build an inclusive and regenerative tomorrow. For more information, please visit eqtfoundation.com and follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.