Happy New Year! 2020 is finally over. It was somber for many, crazy for some and forgetful for all. Some things to be thankful for since my father was stricken with COVID-19, near death and recovered.

Another praise is the first time since my junior high years that I received straight As! Of course, these grades really don’t count since they are self-grades for meaningless predictions. But I’ll take this honor with pride since I might be able to win back some lost love from my parents for giving them so much grief for being an underachieving student. …

Ignore the Social Media Echo Chambers

(originally published in TechCrunch as “Ignore the Social Media Echo Chambers”)

After Election Day, NPR, The Washington Post and various blogs described America as bitterly divided or on the brink of civil war. These were by the same journalists, pundits and intellectuals who only know how to sell fear. These were by the same journalists, pundits, and intellectuals who only know how to sell fear. “They want to take away your guns!” and “They want to take your children away!” …

Nations should become more open and transparent

Photo by Li Yang on Unsplash

China, South Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore are all starting to recover from the COVID-19 outbreak. Although Singapore has recently gone into lockdown and experienced a surge in new cases, we anticipate that authorities there will get the new outbreak under control. What we expect to see within months: restrictions continuing to ease in Asia, and the start of recovery, primarily in the countries mentioned above.

While the natural reaction for nations in this age of pandemics might be to become more closed and nationalistic, we believe it will be critical to become more open, transparent, and collaborative. …

Five years ago, Frank Meehan, my SparkLabs Global Co-founder, described the goal of our seed-stage fund as follows:

“The future is data. We are looking to invest in companies that are generating valuable data around usage patterns, customer behavior, company information.”

It was prescient — it has guided us well over the years, but also allowed us to look at relevant startups with a critical eye. During the first three years of our fund, we would look at startups — especially in the Internet-of-Things space — that would collect millions of data points, but most companies weren’t willing to pay…

How to close your round with the best value for your company

Dilution: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Since 2013, SparkLabs Group has invested in more than 230 companies, and my general advice to our founders and portfolio companies hasn’t changed: I always tell them not to overthink valuation, know what they need in terms of capital for their seed round and how there is “good dilution” and “bad dilution.” Whether your dilution ends up being good or bad (or ugly) generally depends on how well you execute.

To solidify my advice, I sometimes go through the math of possible seed rounds and how future rounds can play out. To keep the discussion simple and focus on my…

Happy Lunar New Year from the SparkLabs Group!

This Lunar New Year is the year of the pig. More specifically, it is an “Earth Pig” year and called by some as the Golden Pig year, which supposedly comes every sixty years. While the pig symbolizes prosperity, 2019 is a special year of abundance and success for pigs, so being born in 1971 my lunar zodiac is the pig and things are looking great for my personal and professional life.

It just happens that four out of five co-founders at the SparkLabs Group (Jimmy Kim, HanJoo Lee, Frank Meehan, and I) are born in the year of the pig…

Dino Ha, Co-founder & CEO of Memebox

(originally published in the Maeil Business Newspaper, which is South Korea’s WSJ, where SparkLabs’ has a monthly column)

While catching up with Dino Ha, Co-founder and CEO of Memebox, this week, I was reminded of why we accepted him into our first accelerator batch back in November 2012 when we launched SparkLabs Korea.

(originally published in The Chosun Daily, which is South Korea’s largest newspaper, where I have a monthly column)

Since I co-founded SparkLabs Korea, our first accelerator, with HanJoo Lee and Jimmy Kim in Seoul back in 2012, we have carefully expanded our accelerators across Asia to Beijing, Taipei, Hong Kong, and Sydney. Most recently, we have grown outside of Asia to Muscat, Oman, Washington D.C. and next year we look to creating our first presence in Europe. Our global seed fund, SparkLabs Global Ventures, has been active since early 2014 and majority of our 70 investments has been in the…

SparkLabs Cyber + Blockchain is a global accelerator program, and will be located in Washington, D.C.

We just announced SparkLabs Cyber + Blockchain with some good coverage here, here, here, and our official press release is here. Now to provide further details and background information.

SparkLabs Group (www.sparklabsgroup.com) has invested in over 200 companies across 6 continents through our accelerators and venture capital funds. Two sectors within our portfolio we have been active in and will be moving forward is cybersecurity and distributed ledger technologies.

Image Credit: Chat Karen Studio / Shutterstock

(originally published in VentureBeat on July 14, 2018 as “Why South Korea is ‘crypto crazy’ and what that means for the rest of the world”)

South Korea is truly crypto crazy. While the country has less than 1 percent of the world’s population, estimates indicate it is responsible for 30 percent of all cryptocurrency trading in the world. Steve Lim, CSO of South Korean crypto exchange Coinone said in an interview last year: “People are crazed over it. Grandpas and grandmas come to our office lobby and say they want to put [in] half a billion won ($447,000). …

Bernard Moon

Co-founder & Partner at SparkLabs Group (www.sparklabsgroup.com), which includes @SparkLabsGlobal (global seed fund) & @SparkLabsKorea (startup accelerator)

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