We are excited to announce BootstrapAccelerator Korea!

December 3, 2013, Seoul, Korea and San Francisco, California — Silicon Valley-based BootstrapLabs, a global accelerator for foreign entrepreneurs and Seoul-based Coolidge Corner Investment (CCVC), a technology venture firm with $22M under management, today announce the formation of BootstrapAccelerator Korea, a Seoul-based 6 month accelerator program specifically designed to assist young and promising korean technology startups to relocate in Silicon Valley and build global businesses.

Additionally, Coolidge Corner Investment will sponsor BootstrapLabs’ first country specific program, providing Korean startups a dedicated Silicon Valley Fast Track™ to successfully relocate, execute and stay in Silicon Valley. It is important to note that this sponsored program is not exclusive to BootstrapAccelerator Korea graduates but open to all Korean technology startups with serious ambition.

BootstrapAccelerator Korea will work on preparing their startups’ culture, product and team for international expansion from the get go and continuously assess their readiness to join BootstrapLabs Accelerator Program in Silicon Valley. Startups joining the accelerator in Korea will receive up to $100,000 investment, potential additional angel investment from OpenTrade™ deal syndication (Korea’s version of AngelList) and many other perks valued at over US$35,000.

Once accepted in BootstrapLabs Accelerator Program in Silicon Valley, the Korean startups will receive up to $400,000 in additional capital over the course of the 6+6 month program, potential additional angel investment from AngelList deal syndication and many other perks valued at over $35,000.

Both BootstrapAccelerator Korea and BootstrapLabs program enroll startups on a monthly basis, facilitating on-boarding and transitions.

BootstrapLabs Accelerator Program was specifically design to successfully relocate foreign startups with global potential to Silicon Valley and maintain an office in their country of origin to drive future job creation and knowledge transfer. Foreign portfolio companies of BootstrapLabs include: Prezi, Witsbits, AudioDraft and Zerply, among others. Today these startups are valued at $250M+, employ over 200 people, and received over $25M in funding.

 “The Korean startup renaissance movement fueled by President Park’s creative economy policy is really reshaping the entrepreneurial fabrique of the country. Coolidge Corner Investment  has been doing a fantastic job locally, educating, mentoring and investing in promising entrepreneurs and we look forward to working with them in selecting, financing and accelerating global companies” said Nicolai Wadstrom, Founder of BootstrapLabs

Kwon Hyuck-Tae, CEO & Founder of Coolidge Corner Investment echoes these sentiments adding that “our partnership with BootstrapLabs creates a very different kind of accelerator when compared to any other Korean or Silicon Valley-based ones that mostly run 3 month programs. By combining a 6 month accelerator program in Korea and another 6+6 months one in Silicon Valley that was specifically designed to foreign startups, we are truly building a direct and sustainable bridge to Silicon Valley for Korean startups.”

Benjamin Levy, Partner of BootstrapLabs and survivor of Asiana flight #214 crash at SFO last July added: “This is a very exciting time for BootstrapLabs and Korean startups. We have been working extremely hard to establish this cross-border partnership and lay the foundations of a proven program to assist innovative Korean startups and their founders to relocate and stay in Silicon Valley. This is also the first country-specific sponsored program BootstrapLabs is running but certainly not the last. Governments, take notice. We remain dedicated to accelerate Global Innovation Discovery and as one of the most connected countries on the planet with social mobile behaviors a few years ahead of other populations, Korea is likely to remain a hotbed for disruptive technology startups going forward.”

BootstrapLabs and CCVC are already vetting several Korean startups and first enrollments could happen as early as January 2014.

About BootstrapAccelerator Korea

BootstrapAccelerator Korea is a 6 month hands-on accelerator program focused on early-stage capital efficient Korean software startups with global potential that leverage the speed of internet distribution and the scalability of cloud infrastructure, regardless of their vertical or segment. BootstrapAccelerator Korea brings together a Glocal (Global+Local) network of corporates, mentors and investors that provide critical support to its portfolio companies and assist them in building and scaling global businesses.  Startups are continuously prepared and assessed for Silicon Valley readiness. The most promising startups will be offered to join BootstrapLabs San Francisco-based accelerator program to relocate permanently to Silicon Valley and go global. BootstrapAccelerator Korea does not run cohorts and enroll new applicants on a monthly basis.

About BootstrapLabs

BootstrapLabs runs a 6+6 month hands-­on accelerator program in Silicon Valley tailored for foreign startups. We focus on technology startups with global potential and assist them building disruptive companies by relocating to Silicon Valley, while maintaining their roots in their country of origin. Our approach is focused on relationship building and fast execution to accelerate equity value creation. We connect founders to industry thought leaders, strategic partners and smart investors in our network to ensure their long term success. Since 2009, BootstrapLabs has helped foreign startups such as Prezi, Witsbits, AudioDraft and Zerply connect and relocate to Silicon Valley for good, while maintaining offices in their home countries. Today these startups are valued at $250M+, employ more than 200 people, and have received over $25M in funding.

About Coolidge Corner Investment

Coolidge Corner Investment (CCVC), a technology venture capital firm with $22M under management in Korea, is  actively  providing seed+ funding to the technology startups that are filled with full of passion and global growth potential. Coolidge Corner Investment runs CCVC Young Entrepreneur Competition every 6 month in order to find entrepreneurial founders since 2010.

Coolidge Corner Investment runs a CCVC Value-Up Center in Gangnam area to provide fast-growing environment for young entrepreneurs. Sung-Ju Cho, a serial entrepreneur and the head of the center, provides professional support based on his own experience. The center also provides 4 + 2 month professional incubation programs to young and senior entrepreneurs. The curriculum is focused on increasing the business competitiveness of startup companies.

Media Contacts:
Ben Levy, BootstrapLabs, Silicon Valley, Email: ben@bootstraplabs.com, Mobile: +1 415 742 1517
Kwon, Hyuck-Tae, Coolidge Corner Investment, Korea, htkwon@ccvc.co.kr, Mobile: +82-10-9630-2395

"How to Grow a VC Ecosystem" – Reaction to Forbes Article

Recently, Victor Hwang, wrote a guess post on Forbes about How to Growth a Venture Capital Ecosystem. The article is a good first essay on the topic and I am awaiting his updated post featuring “Rules 2 through 5”. The post highlighted a few issues and trends that are at the heart of BootstrapLabs’ differentiated model when it comes to discovering innovation and early stage venture model.

At BootstrapLabs, we spent a lot of time figuring out some of the issues being raised here and like good entrepreneurs do – and we hope like he pioneers mentioned in the article did back then – we designed a new way to source (potentially disruptive) innovation born outside of Silicon Valley but quickly nurture them in both, Silicon Valley and their country (or state) of origin, building from the strength of those ecosystems, and leveraging what each has best to offer.

We did this with @Prezi and it seems to have worked out for them as well as the ecosystem they came from (Budapest), creating 100+ jobs “back home” and bringing Silicon Valley best practices on how to running and growing a tech startups. Prezi has not yet generated significant liquidity for its founders and shareholders but it is already inspiring Angels and VCs back home to catch the next Prezi..too often people (and governments) think that you can jumpstart an ecosystem by reducing the risk to start a company by providing grants, then have angels come out of the woodwork after giving the wealthy some tax incentives, and double on the amount of companies getting funded by doubling or tripling the amount of money injected in VC funds…well all of this works for a while, new companies are created, new angels invest in startups and VC fund more companies, which in turn hire more employees…but in the end (say 5-7years), all this investment risk to fall flat if exits are not there to reward investors, angels and entrepreneurs…and you can’t force exits.

Where you are born as an individual no longer defines where you live. Why should it be any different for startups or innovation!

They are indeed arbitrage opportunities but the kinds that create real value and augment the pie.

I believe that over time, every ecosystem can be criticized for its herd mentality or put another way “you are a product of your environment” or “you can’t think of it unless you feel the pain”. Silicon Valley might not be exempt as some article have suggested in recent past…but the velocity , mentality and depth of the ecosystem will likely keep it ahead of any others for decades to come. If you can’t beat it, join it, right?

This is where a global and connected view of the world’s hot bed for startups & innovation, combined with local intelligence on the ground can reveal an extremely powerful deal flow and exit engine.

I was recently invited to inaugurate the new Global Startup Support Center, Born2Gobal, in Seoul and gave a speech on Globalization. Enjoy 🙂

Looking forward to your comments and feedback.

NextGen Asian Accelerators with Benjamin Levy at beLaunch 2013

Panel with Benjamin Levy on the next generation of Asian Accelerators at beLAUNCH. Which is Korea’s biggest startup and technology conference reaching the global technology communities. beLAUNCH is the flagship event of South Korean startup and technology platform.

BootstrapLabs and MAD Incubator Partner To Launch BootstrapAccelerator Asia

Partnership creates first Southeast Asia-focused accelerator for tech startups with a Silicon Valley Fast Track™

May 1, 2013, Seoul, Korea and San Francisco, California — Silicon Valley-based BootstrapLabs, and Malaysia-based MAD Incubator today announce the formation of BootstrapAccelerator Asia. As a Southeast Asia-focused Tech Startup Accelerator with a Silicon Valley Fast Track™ for its most promising candidates, this is a first.

MAD Incubator and BootstrapLabs share the philosophy of “Making a Difference” by empowering entrepreneurs to build global startups and believe that Southeast Asia will be a hotbed for disruptive startups in the future. Southeast Asia is the third-largest-growing economic zone in the world with a population of one billion and a market potential of US$ 30 trillion by 2020.

“What is developing in Southeast Asia is thrilling. MAD Incubator has been doing a fantastic job locally, educating, guiding and mentoring entrepreneurs and partnering with them to empower startups to grow into global companies makes them the perfect partner to achieve our joint vision,” said Nicolai Wadstrom, founder of BootstrapLabs.

Andrew Wong, CEO & Founder of MAD Incubator echoes these sentiments adding that “our partnership with BootstrapLabs creates a different offering than other Silicon Valley accelerators operating in Southeast Asia. By combining aspects of the local culture and disposition with Silicon Valley execution we are creating the accelerator model of the future.”

BootstrapAccelerator will focus on early-stage capital efficient startups that leverage the speed of internet distribution and the scalability of cloud infrastructure. Selected startups will receive a substantial package of cash grants and other perks valued at over US$35,000. Additionally, the most promising teams will take part in BootstrapLabs’ Silicon Valley Fast Track™, and even relocate to Silicon Valley.

“The Malaysian Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC) will support this initiative in Malaysia, which will catalyze domestic ecosystem expansion to the world. We are thrilled to have BootstrapAccelerator operating out of Cyberjaya and will a range of support through various programs, into the future,” said Dr Karl Ng, Director of Innovation Capital of MDeC’s Innovation Capital Division.

In short, “BootstrapAccelerator Asia is designed to make a difference and is the first and only Accelerator of its kind in the region and possibly globally,” according to Benjamin Levy, Partner at BootstrapLabs, who will be speaking tomorrow at beLAUNCH conference in Seoul alongside Christine Tsai of 500Startups, Bernard Moon of SparkLabs, and David Lee of Kstartup.

Startups can apply at http://bootstrapaccelerator.com/apply/. First enrollment will start July 2, 2013 with a May 30, 2013 application deadline.


About BootstrapAccelerator Asia: BootstrapAccelerator focuses on early-stage capital efficient software startups that leverage the speed of internet distribution and the scalability of cloud infrastructure, regardless of their vertical or segment. BootstrapAccelerator brings together a Glocal (Global+Local) network of corporates, mentors and investors, as well as local government agencies, which bring critical support in everything, from ideation to executing game changing startups.

BootstrapAccelerator is a 12-month program, divided into three stages: Ideation, Incubation and Acceleration. As every startup is different, BootstrapAccelerator will not run cohorts, but will evaluate applicants on a monthly basis and enroll people / startups at the relevant stage. BootstrapLabs is able to offer the most promising startups from BootstrapAccelerator a global fast track opportunity to becoming a global company, through the Silicon Valley ecosystem.



About BootstrapLabs: BootstrapLabs is a Silicon Valley-based Seed+ Venture Capital Fund that invests in foreign startups to relocate to Silicon Valley, and build global companies. They employ an entrepreneurial and very hands-on approach to execution and help startups tap into the opportunities Silicon Valley presents.

Since 2009, BootstrapLabs has helped foreign startups such as Prezi, Witsbits, AudioDraft and Zerply connect and relocate to Silicon Valley, while maintaining their roots.

Today these startups are valued at $150M+, employ more than 150 people, and have received over $25M in funding.



About MAD Incubator

MAD (Make a Difference) Incubator is the largest private incubator and most active entrepreneur development platform in Malaysia, having helped more than 300 startups since its inception in 2009. MAD was founded by Andrew Wong on the premise that every technopreneur deserves to have a chance to succeed and experience technopreneurship to the fullest.

MAD serves only the best programs and support services, and is designed to incorporate diverse technopreneurship experiences, ensuring that startup technopreneurs are able to gain better knowledge to succeed in the technopreneurial world.

The ‘MAD Mission’ is to develop 1,000 startups achieving US$1M turnover by 2015. To achieve this, MAD develops the MAD Entrepreneur Ecosystem which consists of entrepreneur communities, collaborative partnerships, industry/commercialization partners, funding partnerships, government relations, entrepreneur education, coaching, mentoring and platform providers.



About MDeC: Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC) directs and oversees Malaysia’s National ICT (Information & Communication Technology) Initiative, the MSC Malaysia (formerly known as the Multimedia Super Corridor in Malaysia). MDeC is owned and funded by the Malaysian Government, and serves to advise the Malaysian Government on legislation and policies, develop MSC Malaysia-specific practises. MDeC also promote MSC Malaysia locally and globally, as well as support companies which are locating to and located within MSC Malaysia.



Editorial Contact: Ben Levy, BootstrapLabs, Silicon Valley

Email: ben@bootstraplabs.com / Mobile: +1 415 742 1517 / www.bootstraplabs.com


Alice Foong, MAD Incubator Sdn Bhd (868303-D), Malaysia

Email: alice@incubator.com.my / Tel: 03-8994 1750 / 1751 / Mobile: 012-678 3323 / www.incubator.com.my