SparkLabs, Korea’s accelerator founded by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs, kicked of its first class yesterday in Seoul. The three-month long program for seed to early-stage entrepreneurs will see six startups being the first to be pushed through the program.
These startups will have access to SparkLabs’ lineup of top-notch mentors, including former RenRen CEO Jeffrey Hsu, ex-marketing director of eBay Lily Shen and PBworks Vice-president of Marketing Chris Yeh. SparkLabs’ advisors include Mark Cuban and Ray Ozzie.
SparkLabs is co-founded by Bernard Moon, Hanjoo Lee and Jimmy Kim.
The six startups under SparkLabs’ first class are as follows:
NFLabs (Big Data) Funding: US$500,000
NFLabs is the leading big data platform developer in Asia. Their product, Peloton, provides a full end-to-end solution to store, manage, process, and analyze massive amounts of data. NFLabs combine the power of Hadoop with a distributed, real-time search technology, enterprise grade connectors, and wrap it in an easy to use interface, to offer a true plug-and-play big data solution. The company secured partnerships with Hyosung Information Systems (Korea) and Hortonworks (U.S.).
KnowRe (EdTech) Funding: US$400,000
KnowRe is an educational technology company that develops an adaptive learning solution focused on providing a personalized learning experience for each student. KnowRe’s engine provides an accurate assessment of a student’s strengths and weaknesses and offers a personalized curriculum tailored to each individual’s learning needs, all in an engaging user experience.
Ablar Company/Bulletin (Incubation Company) Funding: US$3 million
The ABLAR Company seeks to “innovate the offline world through technology” and build great products with a core team of talented engineers. The founder of the ABLAR Company, Jungseok Roh, was also a founder of Tatter&Company which was the only startup that was acquired by Google Korea.
ABLAR has launched various mobile applications, such as’Reservation King, Poing’, which is a mobile application that enables people to make reservations at 30,000 restaurants in Korea and ‘Bulletin’, which is a social mobile Craigslist. The ABLAR Company plans to release two more products in this year.
Merrywind (Online Gaming) Funding: US$400,000
Merrywind is an online gaming studio whose first product was a Facebook game called Hotel Casino. The company’s core team is from Nexon, the leading online gaming company in Korea.
WePlanet (Mobile Social Service) Funding: bootstrapped
WePlanet has a mobile social service focused on tracking life activities through icon-based check-ins and providing aggregated information through infographics.
Memebox (E-commerce/Beauty Products) Funding: US$200,000 (self-funded)
Memebox (“me-me box”) became the leading beauty subscription commerce company after two months of launching in February 2012, overtaking Glossybox (Rocket Internet), which was in operation for nine months. After becoming No.1 in beauty subscription commerce service, Memebox expanded into e-commerce in August 2012 signing up 140 beauty brands. In 2013, Memebox is focused in building out their mobile presence and targeting other markets in Asia.
In the press release, co-founder Bernard Moon said, “We’re excited about our first class. The overall quality of the applicants was amazing. Most of the final selection pool were further along than we expected. Many already closed investment rounds of US$500,000 to over US$1 million and several had revenues of US$1 million or greater, but all of them apply because they were looking to expand their businesses outside of Korea.” explained Bernard Moon, co-founder of SparkLabs.