Startup Junkie Forms Arkansas Korea Alliance, to Launch New Accelerator

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Startup Junkie Consulting of Fayetteville announced Thursday the formalization of a partnership it sought earlier in the year and the establishment of a new accelerator focused on South Korean companies.

The entrepreneurial support organization also named the companies that will participate in the first iteration of that accelerator.

Startup Junkie said it has officially partnered with the Korean International Trade Association to form the Arkansas Korea Alliance, the first joint startup program between South Korea and northwest Arkansas. The AKA aims to connect international startups to established companies and to domestic venture capital firms. 

Eleven companies that have raised about $32 million are participating in the new accelerator.

They are: 

  • Lounge Lab, which offers an unmanned store augmented with artificial intelligence, allowing customers to experience “grab and go” when buying.
  • Mobidoo, which offers a live commerce platform and technology designed to facilitate customer shopping in live streaming contents, while providing live commerce functions for clients.
  • Nota, which compresses AI models to make AI smaller, faster and more energy-efficient. Its offerings aim to remove the need for any server or cloud computing.
  • OddConcepts, which aims to recommend products and outfits that consumers will like using machine learning technologies to recognize, analyze and search images for fashion styling.
  • PiQuant, which provides a portable food and beverage contamination checking device using spectroscopy-based detectors.
  • PureSpace, which works to free your storage area from pollutants, reduce fruit losses, reduce inventory risk and provide “extra freshness” for retail customers.
  • SeaVantage, which is a maritime data company developing and supplying innovative products and services to that industry based on big data and AI.
  • SolidWare, which provides an automated machine learning product that aims to enable enterprises to generate high-performing prediction models by discovering complex and hidden patterns within the data that users already have.
  • SSenStone, which provides a new generation authentication/identification technology that allows businesses to identify its users. 
  • WeavAir, which offers proactive end-to-end software and hardware products for air distribution systems that prevent the spread of air contamination and infection, while saving energy and reducing operational and maintenance costs.
  • Wright Brothers, which has a platform offering bike certifications using non-destructive inspection with X-ray to verify integrity of frames and fair valuations using big data, AI and data analytics.

“Creating a strong bridge between the northwest Arkansas venture ecosystem and strategic partners in Seoul, South Korea can be a game changer for both regions,” Startup Junkie Founder and Managing Director Jeff Amerine said in a news release. “We see this as a first tangible step in building a robust two-way bridge for innovative Korean ventures looking for a North American gateway and for United States ventures looking for an Asian Pacific gateway. We are excited about the future prospects for both regions.”

Louis Diesel, Startup Junkie’s Head of Asia, said South Korea has “a surplus of world class startups.”

“Combining that with Startup Junkie’s HQ being in Northwest Arkansas, and all the great enterprise relationships on our side, this partnership brings a geographic arbitrage situation with in-house teams on the ground both in the U.S. and in Korea,” he said.  

Startup Junkie was also recently added to the Innobranch partner list, an open innovation platform launched by KITA that provides multi-lateral connections between and among startups, venture capitalists and large/medium sized enterprises.