South Korean accelerator SparkLabs to launch in China, aims to help local startups expand globally

Anisa Menur
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SparkLabs accelerator will start with Beijing in May, followed by other cities such as Shanghai and Chengdu

South Korean accelerator programme SparkLabs announced that it is going to launch in China, according to a report by TechCrunch.

The programme will be launched in Beijing in May 15, with other cities such as Shanghai and Chengdu following up.

It is led by Colin Qu and partners with CITIC Guoan Group subsidiary Guoan Academy.

According to SparkLabs co-founder Bernard Moon, the programme has begun to explore options to enter the Chinese market since two years ago.

It saw a trend in Chinese tech companies “having more global influence” and aims to help more local startups achieve that status.

“Not just the largest players (Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent), but even smaller players such as Xiaomi and Cheetah Mobile,” he said.

The programme itself will be open to startups from various industries such as artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR), mobile, the Internet of Things (IoT), gaming, fintech, and healthcare.

Also Read: How US-based accelerator Plug and Play is tackling the Southeast Asia ecosystem through partnerships

However, Moon stated that SparkLabs will avoid industries that take “a lot of capital to prove out” such as pharmaceutical and cleantech.

The programme’s honourary advisory board is set to include Mandalay Entertainment CEO Peter Guber; Twitch co-founder/former Y Combinator partner Justin Kan; Microsoft’s Fuse Labs general manager Lili Cheng; and LinkedIn co-founder Eric Ly.

SparkLabs will also include venture partners such as former Kingsoft CTO Sun Shaw and TechNode CEO and founder Gang Lu.

Moon believes that the programme’s track record will set it apart from competitors in China, such as Microsoft Accelerator Beijing, Plug and Play, Startupbootcamp, Chinaccelerator, and HAX.

“Seventy-nine per cent of our 65 graduates received global funding so far with an average over US$3 million. The average raise prior to entering our program is over $400,000,” he said.

Through its Seoul-based programme, IoT accelerator, and global seed fund SparkLabs Global, SparkLabs has invested in 93 companies and is currently in its ninth cohort.

Image Credit: rabbit75123 / 123RF Stock Photo

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