Meet Seoul-based accelerator SparkLabs’ 19th batch of startups  • TechCrunch

SparkLabs Korea, a Seoul-based early stage accelerator, held a demo day for its 19th batch of companies on Thursday. The latest demo day marks its 10th year since SparkLabs launched its accelerator program in December 2012. accelerator SparkLabs co-founder and partner Eugene Kim told TechCrunch that it has backed more than 270 startups since its inception in 2012.

The program has two cohorts per year – one starting in January and the other in June, Kim said, adding that the program is 16 weeks long.

SparkLabs accepts 10-15 companies per cohort and invests up to $100,000 per startup in exchange for a 6% stake. Kim noted that the investment will be made either with a SAFE contract (simple agreement for future shares) or a share purchase agreement – a decision that is up to the startup.

During its program, SparkLabs provides startups with funding, mentoring, and access to administrative and legal advisory support. In addition, participating startups will receive a co-working space, attend weekly classes, and have access to four to six mentors who specialize in various industries, not only in South Korea but globally.

SparkLabs, a member of the Global Accelerator Network (GAN), has used international best practices for accelerators since the beginning, Kim said. He added that its partners and mentors are all former entrepreneurs and have global business experience in the US and Asia.

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The accelerator also runs other government-backed programs such as TIPS, a technology incubator program for startups in South Korea, and manages later-stage investment funds, Kim noted.

SparkLabs started in Korea to find and support local Korean startups at their early stage and help them go global. Although the majority are based in Korea, the accelerator receives applicants from other countries who are seeking or planning to enter Korea or Asia, according to Kim.

When asked if SparkLabs Korea is a subsidiary of SparkLabs Group, Kim said that it is not a group structure. Each accelerator entity, such as SparkLabs Korea, SparkLabs Taiwan and SparkLabs Cultiv8, is a separate entity with its own accelerator fund.

In an interview with TechCrunch, Kim said that because the program focuses on early-stage startups, some teams are shifting their business focus in an effort to find product market fit (PMF).

Not all teams play on show day. “If teams feel they want to focus on building traction or PMF, they can go on a later test day.”

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Here is a list of the 9 companies in the newest cohort at SparkLabs. The 19th group concludes with a show day on November 3.

  • Vetflux: A remote veterinary platform that provides an AI-based chatbot for veterinary clinics and pet owners. It offers two apps that connect veterinarians with their pet patients. The Vetflux app is for pet owners to get the latest information on pet care, while another app, Vetflux+, is for veterinarians to organize workflow.
  • Amondycare: The Amondycare app allows mental health therapists to manage their workflow and administration from patient appointments to sales.
  • YKring: A social program, Kevin’s Club, helps students make the most of their college life outside of the library or dorms. YKring says it enables users to find out what’s going on in the community to find clubs or groups of people with similar interests to do activities together. YKring, which launched its service in January, claims to have more than 2,500 users with $35,000 in sales by October 2022. Its monthly subscription costs ~$20.
  • DataBean: This startup develops a cooling system for data centers. Its SmartBox service enables thermal management.
  • Facet: Fasket is a fast food startup that operates an instant food delivery business in South Korea.
  • Givers: Gyverse uses the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence to produce a refrigerator for dried meat. Users can dry-age beef at home by connecting Gyverse smart devices to its app to monitor temperature and humidity.
  • Movers: A 3D motion marketplace that allows users to access and purchase 3D motion data resources for use in Metaverse, games, movies, animations, and augmented reality.
  • R-Materials: The R-Material platform, called the Hybrid Generator System, enables solar and wind energy to convert energy sources.
  • MyShop Cloud: An online-to-offline (O2O) platform that seeks to digitize the dried fish value chain from wholesale to retail. Dasiwoorida service, which analyzes prices and deals of dried fish, recommends products to customers.
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SparkLabs is currently open for its 20th batch of applications until November 11th. The accelerator will finalize its selections in December and is expected to launch the 20th batch in January.

South Korea, which attracts the third-highest amount of venture capital in Asia after China and India — about $6.45 billion a year — already has 16 unicorns to date.


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