Now in its third year, SparkLabs‘ Demo Day is more impressive than ever, with more than 2,100 registrants and seven stage-ready startups graduating from its programme.
SparkLabs is a South Korean startup accelerator founded by Jimmy Kim, Bernard Moon and Hanjoo Lee. It has invested in 48 companies, with 76 per cent of them receiving follow-on funding from venture capitalists across the globe.
“The energy in Korea and Asia is amazing,” said Frank Meehan, Partner, SparkLabs, in a statement. He added that more and more people are leaving big corporations like Samsung, McKinsey and Goldman Sachs to start their own businesses.
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In the same statement, Sophia Choi, Senior Associate, SparkLabs, said that most of the companies graduating from this particular batch were less mature than their peers from previous batches. “It took more engagement and guidance from us, but [it was] also more enjoyable in some ways,” she noted.
SparkLabs has a focus on startups operating in the Internet, online gaming, mobile, e-commerce, digital media and healthcare sectors. The programme usually runs for three months, and comes with funding, office space and access to a network of other entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, angel investors and professionals.
Here’s our list of the startups we liked:
WaHome is an on-demand home cleaning service that allows people to be matched to helpers via its flagship smartphone app available on iOS and Android. The company claims to check the backgrounds of all registered helpers and puts them through a training programme.
It aims to expand to Japan and Hong Kong in 2016, a goal that will come after expanding throughout South Korea. We recently reported about the South Korean company when it received US$1 million in seed funding.
Sentbe is a company that allows customers to send money abroad without going to the bank.
Instead, it lets users do so via their smartphones any time during the day. It has partnered up with KEB Hana Bank and claims to reduce up to 90 per cent of remittance fees customers would otherwise pay if they used a standard bank to remit funds into foreign accounts.
The company managed to facilitate transactions amounting US$150,000 in four weeks. Users can do so via Bitcoin transactions and peer-to-peer schemes.
PicPic is a service that allows people to create GIFs, an acronym that refers to the popular Graphics Interchange Format that people use for moving images, and share it on the company’s platform.
With PicPic, people can adjust the speed of the movements in the GIF file, and follow their friends and hashtags. The service is currently available on Android and iOS devices, and on the web.