SparkLabs Group operates a network of accelerators and venture capital funds, and today it is adding to them with the creation of a new global accelerator program focused on cybersecurity and blockchain-related startups in Washington, D.C.
SparkLabs already operates accelerators in Korea, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Australia. The group recently launched an energy-focused accelerator in Oman, and it is now expanding into the U.S. for the first time.
SparkLabs Cybersecurity + Blockchain will be led by two seasoned entrepreneurs: Brian Park and Mike Bott. Park is a three-time entrepreneur and the former chief operating officer of Startup Grind, one of the largest entrepreneurial communities in the world. Bott is the former managing director of The Brandery, which was recognized as a top 20 accelerator under his leadership.
“We’re excited to bring the SparkLabs brand, connections, and expertise to D.C.,” Bott said in a statement. “Immediately, within weeks of our agreement, the SparkLabs team brought in an incredible network of advisors and partners that would support this new accelerator and the startups that we will be investing in. If you are building the next big thing in cybersecurity or blockchain anywhere in the world, any founder should look at this exciting new accelerator we are launching.”
The advisers include Ray Ozzie, former chief software architect at Microsoft; Charlie Lee, the creator of Litecoin; Michael Crow, chair of In-Q-Tel and president of Arizona State University; Eric Ly, cofounder of LinkedIn; and Rich DeMillo, HP’s first chief technology officer.
In addition, venture partners include Samson Mow, chief security officer at Blockstream; Andrew Lee, cofounder of Handshake.org; Ryan Selkis, CEO of Messari; and Monique Morrow, former CTO for New Frontiers Development at Cisco.
“We want to foster and grow a robust ecosystem in both cybersecurity and distributed ledger technologies,” said Park, in a statement. “We believe these two verticals are [synergistic] by nature, but we will seek innovations beyond the overlap. Our team is looking for core innovations in security across all technology platforms to new innovations across the decentralized world. It’s so early within this space that we are only seeing the Friendsters and MySpaces of the blockchain world. The next Facebooks and Twitters will be developed over the next several years.”
The SparkLabs Cyber + Blockchain program is based in Washington D.C. The first class will start in March 2019, and applications will begin in January 2018.