SparkLabs (www.sparklabs.co.kr), Asia's leading startup accelerator, is hosting their fifth demo day in Seoul, Korea. With over 1,700 people registered to attend, startup fever in South Korea is reaching an all-time high.
In Korea, interest is startups have hit new plateaus with Kakao's acquisition of Daum (Korea's 2nd largest web portal) last year to form Daum Kakao (creating a $1+ billion exit), Coupang's recent $1 billion investment from Softbank, and continued investment by South Korea's government into its world-leading Internet infrastructure. The government earlier this year announced that it would be investing $1.5 billion to build out a 5G network, which potentially could make mobile access speeds 1,000 faster than today and continue to spur mobile innovation.
"Our 5th batch reflects the diversity of Korea's startup ecosystem and the high caliber of startup founders in Korea. This batch compared with the 4th batch has more hacker types, who might have become the next Kevin Mitnick but luckily got lured away into the startup world," stated Eugene Kim, Principal and Head of SparkLabs' accelerator program.
For SparkLabs' fifth batch, twelve companies will be graduating and presenting:
Lockin Company. Lockin Company provides mobile application security. Lockin's security solution, LIAPP, provides a one-click, cloud-based mobile app security solution for all Android apps. The number of Android apps using LIAPP is increasing rapidly and experiencing 150% quarter-on-quarter growth since 3Q of 2013.
Townus. Townus is a group-buying platform for university students. After 6 months in beta, Townus recorded 30% month-to-month growth and participation from 70 universities with more than 11,000 students in Korea. They are at a current run rate to reach revenues of $2,000,000 for this year.
Dropbeat. Dropbeat is a free music streaming platform dedicated to providing the best music discovery, listening, and information resource for the EDM (Electronic Dance Music) community, which is a $6.2 billion market. With content sourced from services such as YouTube and SoundCloud, Dropbeat integrates aggregated data to provide optimal discovery features and information, all connected to a central music player on one platform. Dropbeat aims to provide the most comprehensive and accessible EDM-based discovery and streaming service to the global EDM community. Dropbeat is currently in beta.
LoanVi. LoanVi is a peer-to-peer lending platform dedicated to emerging markets of Southeast Asia. This company is also SparkLabs' first startup from Vietnam. The company supports both borrowers and lenders via a secured, risk-controlled process that facilitates faster loan approval and offers attractive returns. LoanVi aims to make personal lending more accessible, affordable, and transparent. They have recently established a strategic partnership with a lending private bank in Vietnam, as well as received endorsement from the Vietnam Ministry of Science and Technology.
Leemyungsu Design Lab. Leemyungsu Design Lab develops innovative wearable products combined with human-oriented design and technology. Their first product, SEIL-Bag, is a backpack that allows bike riders to display directional and emotional signals for an incredibly engaging and fun experience.
Qubit Security. Qubit Security's product, Plura, is a cloud-based, real-time information hacking detection platform. After installation of their agent on your servers, it automatically uploads logs and analyzes them. Qubit's team members have 10+ years experience in the security sector. Currently, their MVP is on test with several major domestic online gaming companies.
Way Wearable. Way Wearable, a beauty-appliance company has created the first total personal skin care companion that fits in your purse. The WAY device is the size of a compact powder case, but includes an array of advanced biometric and environmental sensors that collects personal skin data and environment data to provide recommendations through its companion app. WAY recently launched an Indiegogo campaign and already hit their $50,000 goal. They raised $71,869 from 495 people in the 30 days it's been live.
Wanted Lab. WANTED is a social network service-based crowd recruiting platform. People can refer their friends to companies, and get rewarded when they are hired. Wanted is seeking to disrupt the $10 billion headhunting industry. More than 50 companies have already joined Wanted's platform.
DoubleMe. DoubleMe is a Silicon Valley-based startup that provides holographic VR. Similar to holograms in the "Star Wars" movies, DoubleMe's 3D scanning technology generates "dynamic" full 3D replicas, or Doubles, from living subjects such as humans or animals in real-time for free. Doubles are compatible with popular 3D software and game engines, so they are not limited to virtual or augmented reality environments but can be repurposed to games, animations, or even for 3D printing. DoubleMe is currently working with Japanese content producers and telcos for the initial launch of its product.
Evain. Evain is the provider of caller information service 'What's this number?'. 'What`s this number?' provides information of callers to protect users from phishing calls, and it displays logos of companies and the purpose of those calls. Recently, 'What's this number?' hit 8,000,000 downloads and has provided over 4 billion pieces of caller information. Evain is preparing for its expansion into other markets outside of Korea.
PiQuant. The Pi is a liquid scanner that identifies melamine components of milk products. Users can scan the milk product's surface before they drink or take a bite, and Pi's app provides the result on mobile phone. Unlike other existing melamine detection systems in laboratories, "The Pi" is inexpensive, quick, and easy to handle. PiQuant plans to launch "The Pi" in Chinese market during the 4th quarter of 2015.
Genoplan. Genoplan is a "23andMe for dieting". They sell personal genetic testing kits which helps people use this information to find the optimal healthy lifestyle solutions related to diet and fitness. Genoplan analyzes an individual's genetic profile and offers personalized solutions through their website and smartphone application. Developed by an experienced team of genomics scientists, nutritionists, developers, designers and marketers, Genoplan strives to have one million genetic profiles from Asian markets and help fight global health epidemics such as obesity. Genoplan is looking to raise a Series A round to build a full service lab in Japan for their launch this summer.