SparkLabs, a startup accelerator in Korea, hosted its third Demo Day in Seoul yesterday. While startups in earlier batches were all based in Korea, the most recent session welcomed companies from Chicago, San Francisco, Tokyo and Seoul and sought to disrupt a wider range of industries from mobile music to wearable tech to professional online photo distribution, than previous batches which predominantly focused on mobile and e-commerce. This sets a trend which Sparklabs aims to extend, as they move more into the wearables and hardware industries.
"We believe that Taiwan and South Korea are producing some of the best hardware of the moment," commented Bernard Moon, Co-Founder of Sparklabs. Sparklabs aims to help companies in these countries (and across the world) build stronger business based on new technology coming out of the region.
“As a relatively new accelerator, our team realized that things don’t get easier with each batch. To successfully run an accelerator program, it is truly a labor of love and takes almost as much passion as being an entrepreneur. We really congratulate our third batch of companies for all of their hard work and perseverance,” explained Eugene Kim, Principal at SparkLabs.
SparkLabs also announced the launch of their Internet of Things program for this winter 2014.
“SparkLabs is creating the first dedicated Internet of Things accelerator in Korea to offer global startup opportunities for the best hardware and software engineers in the world to be at the forefront of a revolution.
The Internet of Things will transform the biggest sectors in the world - energy, education, transport, health, food - improving how we live and work everywhere. At SparkLabs we believe that Korea can become a global leader in this enormous opportunity and are very excited to be at forefront of making it happen,” stated Frank Meehan, a Partner at SparkLabs and co-founder of INQ Mobile where he won the Best Handset at Mobile World Congress 2009.
For SparkLabs’ third Demo Day, seven companies presented:
FeelU (feelu.biz): A company focusing on delivering cutting-edge, multi-sensory experiences to users. Their team consists of hardware and software specialists from all over the world in Tokyo, Seoul, and London. Their first product, RingU, is an interactive ring with which the user can give a boyfriend, girlfriend, or close ones a remote 'hug' no matter how far they may be from each other. The ring is connected to a corresponding private social network where you can send messages, photos, and videos in conjunction with the ring’s physical ‘hug’. In addition, RingU has other exciting applications such as interactive concert integration and closer-than-before fan to idol interaction.
1Day1Song: A music app in Korea that was recently the number one app in Apple App Store in Korea. They have quickly grown to over 110,000 registered users and are annoucing their Android version which is set to launch this summer.
Flow State Media (www.flowstatemedia.com): A mobile/social game studio composed of MIT and Zynga alumni. Over two million games have been played in their live crosswords game "Letter UP." In January, they released a 10-minute version called "Letter UP Rush", which claims to be the fastest Scrabble-like game in history. They also recently released "Candy Cane Casino" on Facebook, which features slots, video poker, and a new twist on bingo. Mobile versions of both games are coming in May 2014. Flow State Media is currently raising their second round of funding.
Domo Bio: Domo Bio introduced their product, QT33, which is a revolutionary, non-surgical treatment for snoring and sleep apnea. Snoring and sleep apnea can cause serious side effects such as lung disease, suffocation and various psychological problems. Before QT33, people were seeking treatment paths, such as surgery and NCPAP (nasal continuous positive airway pressure) therapy, that had numerous side effects associated with them. QT33 solves these issues with high satisfaction by stabilizing the lower jaw and securing the air flow throughout the teeth. QT33 will provide a new experience with a success rate over 90% from the initial users. Domo Bio is launching into the U.S. Market this year.
PeopleWare (www.peopleware.cc): The company launched their project based social network that enables freelancer to effectively and efficiently manage their project and project history. A recent article in Forbes estimated that 1 in 3 Americans are estimated to be freelancers, and by 2020 they will be 50% of the full-time workforce. Peopleware will also allow freelancers to get more work and new project members to collaborate with. The founders were excited by the potential of their product and cited Accenture’s 2013 study that stated how enterprises spent over $300 billion on freelancers last year.
Freenters (www.freenters.com): This Chicago-based startup that provides free printing services to university students, making revenue by allowing advertisers to place banner advertisement on the bottom margin of the printed paper through its in-depth targeting mechanism. Freenters presented their expansion efforts into Boston, NYC, and other East Coast campuses.
Pentapress: Pentapress is partnered with MLB, LPGA, and Olympics to provide professional-level photographs for international media. There are 40 professional photographers working for Pentapress around the world.
Pentapress introduced their new platform Incupix. Incupix is an online platform where amateur photographers can share their photos and gain opportunities to have them published in newspapers and other publications. Incupix also provides professional mentoring and an editing service for amateur photographers. They are scheduled to open in June 2014.
About SparkLabs: SparkLabs is a startup accelerator founded by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs in South Korea. The focus will be on startup companies from the Internet, online gaming, mobile, ecommerce, digital media, and healthcare sectors. The mentorship-driven program will be three months in length and provides funding, office space, a structure program and access to a top-tier network of entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, angel investors and executives. For more information, please visit www.sparklabs.co.kr
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