New startup accelerator SparkLabs launches and brings Silicon Valley to South Korea


A new startup accelerator in Korea called SparkLabs has launched with the aim of connecting Korea’s entrepreneurs to mentors from Silicon Valley and around the world. It hopes to help these startups expand into the US, China, Japan and beyond.

“Korea has been a powerhouse of innovation in high technology. SparkLabs opens the door to new entrepreneurs to amplify and ignite their new ideas into new and growing businesses,” said Vint Cerf, Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist for Google, who is an advisor to SparkLabs.

The accelerator is started by serial entrepreneurs Hanjoo Lee (co-founder of Hostway), James Kim (former executive at Nexon), and Bernard Moon (co-founder of Vidquik). They have started technology companies in the United States and Korea, experienced going public, raised significant amounts of venture capital and bootstrapped their startups.

“Hanjoo, Jimmy and I are excited about the launch of SparkLabs because of the developing startup ecosystem in Korea and the opportunity to add to it our network, capital and resources. We believe the timing is ideal to contribute to an incredibly strong innovation culture that has produced the first online gaming company in the world (Nexon), created the first online virtual economies and online collective intelligence & search as examples,” said Bernard Moon, co-founder.

The application process for SparkLabs’ first class will open on 30th August 2012.

SparkLabs will provide a similar model and program to Y-Combinator and TechStars in the US while focusing on Korean startups in the Internet, online gaming, mobile, ecommerce and digital media sectors. The three-month long program will provide free office space, relevant seminars, numerous perks and access to a network of mentors from the US and across Asia.

“We’re excited to have an incredible group of advisors and mentors from Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, to Vint Cerf, one of the ‘Fathers of the Internet’, to Charles and Kai Huang, the founders of Guitar Hero, who will be helping to guide SparkLabs and our participating companies,” said Hanjoo Lee, co-founder.

(See full list of mentors)

SparkLabs is a member of the Global Accelerator Network and its first presence in Korea. The Global Accelerator Network consists of independently owned and operated startup accelerator programs in dozens of cities across the US and around the world. To join the Network, accelerators must prove they have a model and terms that are extremely favorable to entrepreneurs. Currently, the Network has most of the top accelerators in the world including TechStars (its charter member), Excelerate Labs, StartupBootcamp and Springboard.

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