Silicon Valley-inspired startup accelerator SparkLabs in Korea, has selected its second class of companies. The companies range from subscription e-commerce to productivity applications to search, and from bootstrapped financing to those who raised a Series A round.
“Our second class reflects the momentum and interest SparkLabs has generated outside of Korea. Included in our ten companies is TrakInvest from Singapore, which is an online equities trading platform, and Megaphone from the U.S. (NYC), which is an innovative participation TV platform that we believe has potential not only in the U.S. but in Asia,” explained Eugene Kim, a principal at SparkLabs.
Additionally, SparkLabs is organizing and hosting their first annual conference on innovation and technology called NEXT. The event will be held in Seoul on June 14th bringing in such speakers as Ray Ozzie (Founder & CEO of Talko), Richard Florida (author of “The Rise of the Creative Class,” Esquire’s “The Best and the Brightest”), Maria G. Gotsch (President & CEO of Partnership Fund for New York City), and Jonathan Levine (CIO & Vice CTO of Rakuten Group).
“We wanted to create a program or event that would not only benefit our entrepreneurs, but the greater ecosystem in Korea and Asia. This is what led us to launch NEXT and gather the leading innovators, thinkers and entrepreneurs in the world to Seoul, so other entrepreneurs, corporate leaders and influencers across various industries could benefit,” stated Bernard Moon, co-founder of SparkLabs.
SparkLabs’ ten companies in their second class are the following:
StyleWiki (social knowledge)
StyleWiki, based in Seoul, is a social wiki platform for fashion enthusiasts. The company is building a user-friendly fashion encyclopedia built from the collective fashion intelligence of its community.
ibabybox, based in Palo Alto, CA, is building a trusted community where parents can share, sell and discover used baby products. The company’s founder and CEO is Yong Hyoung, who previously co-founded Cyworld which was the first major social network in the world.
Megaphone (interactive TV)
Megaphone, based in NYC, developed a participation TV platform. Their clients include NBC, Bravo, BBC, Amex, LG, Sprint, NFL, New York Knicks and others. Megaphone integrates game graphics into TV shows, which are visible on every TV, and any device with a web browser can be used as a controller. Viewers see aggregated results of all user activity and even 30 second ads become actionable in real-time.
MangoPlate (mobile application)
MangoPlate is a personalized restaurant recommendation app that helps users discover the best places to eat in Seoul. Each time a user reviews or adds a restaurant to their wish list, their recommendation engine fine-tunes its search results to match a user’s food personality.
Zoyi (product shop)
Zoyi is an innovative technology company that builds great products. Team Zoyi built Korea’s first social media advertising platform AdbyMe, that empowers publishers to share brand promotions by crowdsourcing slogans. More than 600 ad campaigns have been promoted from advertisers through their platform to engage 10 million consumers across Korea, Japan, U.S. and Latin America. Zoyi launched Cooki, a news summary curation service, that enables sending monetary tips to any curators and writers within the platform. Zoyi is backed by Stonebridge Capital, a leading venture capital firm in Korea.
HeyBread (subscription e-commerce)
HeyBread is a leading curation commerce company in South Korea that is focused on premium organic breads from local bakeries. Every morning it delivers fresh breads from handpicked bakeries to customers. Building from their online and offline expertise, HeyBread plans to expand its service to the entire fresh food industry.
Petsbe (subscription e-commerce)
Petsbe, based in Seoul, is a premium subscription service which delivers pet food and monthly supplies based on your pet’s individual information, such as age, weight, health conditions, and other factors. Petsbe launched its beta service in February 2013.
Lateral SV, headquartered in San Francisco, CA, has a resolute mission to redefine the fundamentals of online search. Lateral SV specializes in technology that revamps outdated methods of search, providing users with an “experience” over an otherwise tedious task.
DesignPlusD (productivity application)
DesignPlusD, based in Seoul, focuses on productivity applications, such as note taking, alarm reminders and calendars. Their “Remember – Block” memo app hit #1 productivity application in the App Store in 12 countries and was the top paid app in Korea during January 2013.
TrakInvest, headquartered in Singapore, is an online social investment platform for equities to be launched in June 2013. The unique trading format, proprietary analytics, and sponsorship model will seek to both identify and create future “alpha” generators. The company has partnered with Thomson Reuters to provide research and analytics to its customer base and other partners will soon be announced. The company is led by Bobby Bhatia, former Managing Director and Head of Principal Investments at AIG for APAC.
Earlier this year SparkLabs showcased its first round of startups at a Demo Day event at COEX, attended by both media and international investors.