SparkLabs IoT program announced that it is opening Nov. 16 with the support of South Korea’s President Park’s innovation center initiative, Songdo International Business District, Cisco Innovation Center in Songdo, Syntrend in Taipei and other partners.
SparkLabs Songdo provides a 6-month accelerator program for seed to early-stage startups that have the potential to expand globally.
Alex Namkung, Director of SparkLabs’ new IoT program explained, “It took a lot of coordination and some patience to work with the various entities involved, but I’m excited that we are ready to launch. The SparkLabs IOT Program represents an unprecedented opportunity where IoT startups can test and deploy in the world’s first smart city, in the world’s most connected country.”
SparkLabs’ IOT program invests $30,000 to $50,000 in all startups in exchange for up to 8% equity. Invested companies may be eligible for up to $70,000 in additional funds on a case-by-case basis. This percentage is negotiable depending on the startup’s size, stage and investment status. Each startup gets matched with 2 to 4 mentors.
Every week, startups participate in teaching or mentoring sessions, where they have the opportunity to learn from and network with renowned Korean and international entrepreneurs. With full-time hands on staff with diverse backgrounds ranging from startups to hardware engineering, SparkLabs Songdo provides the essential knowledge and resources for IoT startups to succeed. Songdo as a location offers a unique situation as the initial smart city, with a priority mission to promote strategic partnerships with local government, universities, and world-class prototyping labs to develop innovative tech solutions for the future. In addition, during Office Hours, startups can seek intensive feedback from SparkLabs’ General Partners.
The program will run till April 19 next year and each company will receive up to $50,000 in investment along with free office space and numerous perks. The early entrants into the program reflect the wide range of technologies related to the Internet of Things and smart cities. There are some consumer hardware startups, but the majority are related to building more intelligent cities, improving industrial operations and applying technologies, such as computer vision and artificial intelligence, to enterprises.
SparkLabs’ IoT Accelerator focuses on innovations center around the Internet of Things and Smart Cities, but will encompass a wide range of startups from industrial to consumer. Many of them will focus on the smart home, infrastructure, logistics, and industrial IoT.
Currently over 36,000 residents live in this smart city built from the ground up which holds 80,000 apartment units. There is 50 million square feet of office space and 10 million square feet of retail space with over 1,000 retail and hospitality businesses that are currently operating here. Songdo is also a global leader in achieving LEED standards for the built environment with 20 million sq ft (1.9 million sq m.) of LEED-certified space. 40 percent of the city has been set aside as green public space.
The SparkLabs IoT program is open to local and overseas startups where program participants can take advantage of Songdo as a development center and test bed, while also having access to local and global corporations, investors, and suppliers/manufacturers in the world’s most connected country.
“I’m excited to be supporting the new innovations and companies that go through our IoT program. I know first-hand that startup life is not easy, so hopefully our guidance can make their path less difficult,” said Charles Huang, Venture Partner and former COO of Leeo & Co-founder of Red Octane/Guitar Hero.
Mentors for the program are located across the globe and come from such companies as Cisco, SAP, IBM, Sphero, Samsung, Evrything, Verizon Ventures, Autodesk and others.
“I’m excited to have an incredible team and network to support our startups. From our venture partners, Kai Huang, Charles Huang, Carl Wescott and Jeffrey Guo,” stated Alex Namkung, Director of SparkLabs IoT accelerator. “Carl is a serial entrepreneur from Silicon Valley and Jeff Guo brings his experience and network with some of the leading hardware manufacturers in the world. Kai and Charles have built a billion-dollar franchise in Guitar Hero while learning about the pains of supply chain management. Also our honorary advisors are incredibly supportive, such as William Wang, who built a multi-billion-dollar consumer electronics company. Teddy Zee and Martin Hartono who have been long-time supporters of SparkLabs. We are really appreciative of all of our mentors and advisors.”