SparkLabs Group, a network of startup accelerators and VC funds, has launched SparkLabs Connex, a new program focused on Internet of Things (IoT), smart cities, and proptech.
Connex aims to support startups working with key market drivers and tech enablers such as 5G monetization, sustainability, green building initiatives, low-power wide-area networks, eSIMs, AI, and security, according to a statement.
Charles Reed Anderson, founder of Singapore-based IoT and smart city advisory firm CRA & Associates, will lead the program as managing partner. He previously served as a senior advisor at McKinsey & Company and led IDC Asia Pacific’s mobility and telecoms practices.
The South Korean venture builder will be investing up to USD 100,000 in each startup that will participate in the program in exchange for a 7% equity share, Anderson told Tech in Asia. As a global accelerator, the company will be accepting startups from any location, but those selected must be in Singapore for the first session and the demo day.
“This is basically an expansion of SparkLabs IoT and creating a better accelerator program with a wider mandate and stronger partnerships,” Anderson added. “Now it’s not just Songdo, South Korea, but Singapore, Taipei, Darwin, and Australia.”
SparkLabs IoT is a global initiative that the company launched in Songdo, a business and residential complex that Korea considers as the world’s first purpose-built smart city. The program was launched in Singapore in November 2018 through a partnership with local investor and venture builder IncuVest.
SparkLabs has tapped corporate partners such as Nokia, True Digital, Skyroam, international smart-city network Go Smart, and the Urban Technology Alliance to bolster the Connex program. It will announce more partners in the near future, Anderson said.
Founded in 2013, SparkLabs says it has invested in over 280 companies across six continents to date, including healthcare firm Docdoc, fintech startup Aire, and beauty ecommerce company Memebox.
Apart from Connex and SparkLabs IoT, the group’s ecosystem includes Seoul-based SparkLabs Korea, agritech- and foodtech-focused SparkLabs Cultiv8 in Australia, SparkLabs Taipei, SparkLabs Frontier in the US, and innovation-as-a-service platform SparkLabs Foundry, among others.
This article first appeared in Tech in Asia.