Artificial intelligence was the big winner at the TechCrunch Pitch-Off in Seoul, Korea, last week. Konolabs, a company that uses AI and big data to power a virtual assistant to keep you organized and your calendar in check, took the top prize after winning a 10-company pitch competition at the event.
The four-person judging panel were impressed by its Kono’s service — which “manages your schedule for you, so you can focus on making your meetings matter” — and the pitch from CEO and co-founder YJ Min, who previously spent time with Korean internet giant Daum. Kono is in limited beta right now, but already Konolabs has raised seed funding from 500 Startups and taken part in its U.S.-based accelerator program. You’ll be able to catch the team in person at TechCrunch Disrupt London in December after they won the grand prize of an exhibition table at Startup Alley.
All 10 companies impressed the audience and judges with their efforts — a 60-second pitch in front of a packed audience is no easy feat — but notable mentions must go to the runners-up:
- Daebaki, an online service for the (surprisingly lucrative) fortune-telling industry, came in second and snagged two tickets to Disrupt London in the process.
- Zungle, which raised nearly $2 million on Kickstarter for its sunglasses with bone-conduction headphones, scooped the audience choice award and one precious ticket to the London show.
Pitches aside, attendees of the event also got to hear great insight from panels with top startup figures in Korea.
500 Startups partner Tim Chae and Joon Oh, CEO of Yelp-like Mangoplate, kicked the evening off with a discussion of the challenges and experiences of going global from Korea. Right after that, Fiscalnote’s Rebekah Kang and Hye Min Lee from Finda looked at how Korea can create an inclusive environment to encourage more female startup founders.
Thanks to everyone who came out to make the evening so memorable. We’re already looking forward to our next trip back to Seoul!