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SparkLabs, a Startup Accelerator in Korea, Selects Its First Class and Adds Ray Ozzie and Michael Crow as Advisors

Ray Ozzie, CEO of Talko and Former Chief Software Architect at Microsoft, and Michael Crow, President of Arizona State University and Chairman of In-Q-Tel, Join SparkLabs' Honorary Advisory Board

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA -- (Marketwire) -- 11/26/12 -- SparkLabs (www.sparklabs.co.kr), a new startup accelerator in Korea, has selected its first class of startup companies. The companies range from big data to edtech to online gaming, and from bootstrapped financing to those who raised a Series A round.

"We're excited about our first class. The overall quality of the applicants was amazing. Most of the final selection pool were further along than we expected. Many already closed investment rounds of $500,000 to over $1 million and several had revenues of $1 million or greater, but all of them apply because they were looking to expand their businesses outside of Korea," explained Bernard Moon, co-founder of SparkLabs.

Additionally, SparkLabs added two new members of their honorary advisory board: Ray Ozzie and Michael Crow. Ray Ozzie is co-founder & CEO of Talko, a startup focused on a new generation of mobile communications apps and services. Previously, he was Chief Software Architect of Microsoft, the company's most senior technical strategy & architecture role previously held by Bill Gates. Michael Crow is President of Arizona State University where he's guiding their transformation into one of the nation's leading public metropolitan research universities. Dr. Crow is also Chairman of In-Q-Tel, the CIA's venture capital arm, and was the founding director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University.

SparkLabs' accelerator program launches December 5, 2012 in Seoul, Korea. The first class is the following:

NFLabs (Big Data)
Funding: $500,000

NFLabs is the leading big data platform developer in Asia. Their product, Peloton, provides a full end-to-end solution to store, manage, process, and analyze massive amounts of data. NFLabs combine the power of Hadoop with a distributed, real-time search technology, enterprise grade connectors, and wrap it in an easy to use interface, to provide a true plug-and-play big data solution. The company secured partnerships with Hyosung Information Systems (Korea) and Hortonworks (U.S.).

KnowRe (EdTech)
Funding: $400,000

KnowRe is an educational technology company that develops an adaptive learning solution focused on providing a personalized learning experience for each student. KnowRe's engine provides an accurate assessment of a student's strengths and weaknesses and offers a personalized curriculum tailored to each individual's learning needs, all in an engaging user experience.

Ablar Company/Bulletin (Incubation Company)
Funding: $3 million

The ABLAR Company seeks to "innovate the offline world through technology" and build great products with a core team of talented engineers. The founder of the ABLAR Company, Jungseok Roh, was also a founder of Tatter&Company which was the only startup that was acquired by Google Korea.

ABLAR has launched various mobile applications, such as 'Reservation King, Poing,' which is a mobile application that enables people to make reservations at 30,000 restaurants in Korea, and 'Bulletin,' which is a social mobile Craigslist. The ABLAR Company plans to release two more products in this year.

Merrywind (Online Gaming)
Funding: $400,000

Merrywind is an online gaming studio whose first product was a Facebook game called Hotel Casino. The company's core team is from Nexon, the leading online gaming company in Korea.

WePlanet (Mobile Social Service)
Funding: bootstrapped

WePlanet has a mobile social service focused on tracking life activities through icon-based check-ins and providing aggregated information through infographics.

Memebox (E-commerce/Beauty Products)
Funding: $200,000 (self-funded)

Memebox ("me-me box") became the leading beauty subscription commerce company after 2 months of launching in February 2012, overtaking Glossybox (Rocket Internet), which was in operation for 9 months. After becoming No.1 in beauty subscription commerce service, Memebox expanded into e-commerce in August 2012 signing up 140 beauty brands. In 2013, Memebox is focused in building out their mobile presence and targeting other markets in Asia.

About SparkLabs
SparkLabs is a startup accelerator founded by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs in South Korea. The focus will be on startup companies from the Internet, online gaming, mobile, ecommerce and digital media sectors. The mentorship-driven program will be three months in length and provides funding, office space, a structure program and access to a top-tier network of entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, angel investors and executives. SparkLabs seeks to contribute to and help develop South Korea's startup ecosystem. For more information, please visit www.sparklabs.co.kr

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Bernard Moon
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