SparkLabs Group, an international network of venture capital firms and startup accelerators that include such notables as SparkLabs Taipei, SparkLabs Korea and SparkLabs Cultiv8, recently announced that it has debuted SparkLabs Connex, an entirely new global accelerator program with a focus on smart cities, Internet of Things (IoT) and property technology (proptech). The new startup accelerator program is seen as an expansion of SparkLabs IoT, which is a worldwide enterprise that the group launched in South Korea as part of the country’s initiative to develop a smart city, Songdo, from the ground up. In that sense, the new SparkLabs Connex initiative can also be viewed as an improved accelerator program with firmer partnerships and a wider authorization.
According to a statement, SparkLabs Connex will join the startups that supply much of the innovative approaches and means to the enterprise consumers, tech vendors, industry players and cities that require their services and solutions, thus integrating both components of the smart city, IoT and property technology ecosystems into a unified whole to facilitate the process of innovation. Therefore, the new accelerator program will be directed to put their investment focus on startups that can see to key market drivers such as sustainability initiatives and fifth generation wireless technology capitalization, as well as startups that operate in the emerging technology space such as artificial intelligence (AI), security, 5G and eSIMS. It is understood that SparkLabs will be investing upwards of US$100,000 in each participating startup of the new accelerator program provided that SparkLabs maintains a seven percent equity share. Startups from any place worldwide are welcome to join SparkLabs Connex, though those chosen must make themselves available in Singapore for the accelerator program’s demo day and first session.
According to Jay McCarthy, co-founder and partner at SparkLabs Group, the group feels lucky to have Charles Reed Anderson onboard as managing partner at their new accelerator program SparkLabs Connex, as Charles is one of Asia’s most prominent figures in advising tech vendors, governments and enterprise customers on successfully navigating and traversing the progressively complex and intricate property technology, Internet of Things and smart city solution ecosystems. Seeing as Charles is a globally renowned thought leader in these sectors, SparkLabs Group is pleased to have Charles with them for their SparkLabs Connex startup accelerator program. Charles has previous experience working as a senior advisor on IoT to American management consulting firm McKinsey & Company, and is additionally a founding member of Singapore-based Internet of Things advisory company CRA & Associates.
According to Charles, he envisions the SparkLabs Connex startup accelerator program to be a leading innovation center for the property technology, IoT and smart city ecosystems, and he is quite ecstatic with the high standard and number of partnerships that the program has established with at launch. Charles views the SparkLabs Connex program as not just a startup accelerator but also an ecosystem play, and believes that it enables a unique value proposition for investors, partners and startups.
Thomas Jakob, managing director of TEGEOS Consulting, said that in an increasingly interconnected world where artificial intelligence-driven Internet of Things solutions are becoming more prevalent, having a unified ecosystem where all of the various stakeholders can collaborate together to realize innovations and scale them up is particularly important. Therefore, under the capable leadership of Charles, the SparkLabs Connex accelerator program can unify both sides of the IoT, proptech and smart city ecosystems such as the startups, tech vendors, enterprise customers, cities and industry players together to further drive innovation and change.