Japanese HR startup to hold virtual hackathon focused on combating coronavirus


Tokyo- and Kuala Lumpur-based Grooves, the company best known for its engineer recruiting platform called Forkwell, announced today that it will hold a virtual hackathon focused on helping techpreneurs compete by using technologies in order to combat the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Sponsored by Microsoft, AWS, the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation and other distinguishing tech companies, the two-week event will kick off on March 30th and allow participants to compete each other while receiving mentorship from top-level data scientists from the US, Canada, Croatia, Australia, and Malaysia.

Malaysia has been experiencing the region’s first lockdown where local people are forced to find new ways of working because they have to stay and work at home. Starting his business in Tokyo, Grooves’ CEO Hiro Ikemi moved to Kuala Lumpur back in 2018 to bet on the potential of the emerging market. He says his company wants to help local community and entrepreneurs to fight off the hardship through the hackathon.

Instead of other similar events, this hackathon asks participants to focus their competing ideas and projects only on two topics: Drug Discovery and Virus Combat. Thanks to Grooves’ effort and their sponsors’ contribution, top 3 places winners can receive cash prize with complimentary credits for cloud services.

In 2019, Grooves announced $920,000 funding from Inspire PNB Partners, the joint venture between Japanese investment firm Inspire and Malaysia’s state-run firm Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB), managing a Sharia-compliant private equity fund called PNB-INSPiRE Ethical Fund 1. The firm got approval from Tokyo Labor Bureau to launch a recruiting agency business for so-called “highly-skilled professionals” from Korea and Taiwan.