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SparksLab Global Venture

SparksLab Global Venture are a team highly experienced in finding such talent and helping our entrepreneurs to develop, grow, network, and scale into other markets throughout the world.

Spark Energy Corporation Review: Enjoy Your Choice for Energy Dallas’ Best Electricity Plans

 

In Dallas, you have the freedom to select an electricity provider that works best for your home or business - not the other way around. The state of Texas is one of 19 states that enjoy energy deregulation, which gives consumers different options for receiving their electricity. This makes providers compete for your business, giving the entire industry the boost it needs to provide the best service to its chosen customers.

 

With Spark Energy, you get competitive electricity and natural gas plans from a proven company you can trust. By choosing Spark, you’re choosing to support a company that has been working in the energy capital of the world for close to 30 years. We pride ourselves on customer service, community support, and providing you with savings on your electricity bill.

 

But don’t just take our word for it! Here’s a closer look at the best electricity plans that you can get when living in Dallas:

 

Choice 12

 

Lock in the same rate for 12 months with no base fee! With Choice 12, your energy charge is 4.0 cents per kilowatt-hour. With no monthly base charge and no minimum usage fee, you can enjoy peace of mind knowing that your bill will directly reflect your usage. The price for 2000 kilowatt hours is just 7.9 cents! This plan is best for residents who won’t be leaving their homes in Dallas anytime soon.

 

Choice 6

 

Similar to Choice 12, Choice 6 gives you the opportunity to lock in your rate for 6 months without a base fee. With market rates constantly fluctuating, wouldn’t it be nice to know just how much your energy bill will be each month? Choice 6 requires a monthly energy charge of 3.2 cents per kilowatt hour, but no minimum usage fee or monthly base charge. Enjoy rates as low as 7.1 cents per 2000 kilowatt-hours! This plan is best for Dallas residents who may be looking for a new home within the year.

 

Prepare and Protect 12

 

The Prepare and Protect 12 plan is great for those who want to give while they receive - sign up today to receive a free solar-powered lantern for yourself as well as one to donate by Spark on your behalf to an area in need! Lock in your rate, as low as 9.3 cents per 2000 kilowatt-hours, for 12 months of uninterrupted energy. With Prepare and Protect, you incur a monthly usage charge of $8.99, but without a monthly base charge and monthly energy charges as low as 5.4 cents/kWh, what’s not to love?

A SparksLab Global Venture: PayByGroup Partners with Homeaway Software to provide split payments for vacation rental travelers

 

SAN FRANCISCO, March 17, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- PayByGroup today announces a partnership with HomeAway Software®, the leading provider of property management software for professional vacation rental managers. HomeAway Software`s platforms, EscapiaSM, V12.NET®, First Resort™, Entech™ and PropertyPlus®, connect property managers to the leading vacation rental listing sites HomeAway.com® and VRBO.com, in addition to aiding the managing and operation of vacation rental inventory.

 

PayByGroup (www.paybygroup.com/business) gives travelers the ability to split the cost of a vacation rental with family or friends directly from the booking website. This increases guest satisfaction ratings and reviews, cuts booking cycles by five to nine daysi, boosts marketing reach by 40 percentii, and protects managers and their homeowner clients by collecting contact information and rental agreements from every guest in the booking party.

 

With the new PayByGroup for HomeAway Software integration, property management companies that use Escapia, V12.NET, or any other HomeAway Software platform can now easily add the PayByGroup checkout option to their website without any integration work or changes to existing processes.

 

PayByGroup`s volume has grown 172%iii over the past month, and 10 to 20 percentiv of travelers choose PayByGroup as their preferred checkout option on vacation rental websites that offer it. That number continues to rise as the payment option becomes more widely available throughout the travel and e-commerce industries. The PayByGroup for HomeAway Software integration streamlines the group booking process by connecting directly to property managers` inventory and tracking multiple travelers` payments in real-time. As an added benefit to property managers, the average traveler group spends 16% more on accommodations when they are able to split payments.

 

"We`re excited to incorporate PayByGroup for HomeAway Software customers. Our software platforms are designed to help vacation rental managers serve guests and owners by integrating innovative solutions to meet their needs. PayByGroup is an incredibly valuable solution for our customers," said Bill Furlong, HomeAway Software.

 

"The PayByGroup for HomeAway Software integration is a huge win for the travel industry. Thousands of property managers can now see immediate booking and revenue boosts by eliminating the nightmare of multiparty payments and catering to what travelers want," noted Frank Langston, President and COO at PayByGroup.

 

HomeAway Software users can learn more about the service and sign up for a free PayByGroup for HomeAway Software trial to start boosting their bookings and revenue today. PayByGroup accepts payments using all major credit and debit cards, including Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover, and uses industry-leading security to protect user information and credit card data.

 

About PayByGroup

 

PayByGroup is the world`s leading group payments platform. It integrates with businesses` existing payment processors to provide consumers with a best-in-class group purchasing experience.

 

Vacation rental businesses that choose PayByGroup reliably capture extra marketing leads, screen renters more effectively, and boost their revenue with additional bookings. To learn more about adding PayByGroup to your business website, go to www.PayByGroup.com/business or contact Frank Langston at flangston@paybygroup.com.

 

About HomeAway Software

 

HomeAway Software is the leading provider of property management software for professional vacation rental managers. HomeAway Software solutions consist of powerful productivity tools that automate key vacation rental management tasks, streamline operations, and help vacation rental managers maximize their online potential through world-class websites, booking engines, and the industry`s leading distribution programs. HomeAway Software is part of HomeAway, Inc. AWAY the world`s leading online marketplace of vacation rentals.

 

i Derived from HomeAway traveler survey of average days to book (10.4). Survey conducted Q1 2012 of 2,199 participants.

ii Derived from calculation: 10% or more of bookings choose the PayByGroup option when booking; the average PayByGroup transaction containing 5 participants.

iii PayByGroup transaction volume in December 2014 versus January 2015.

iv Based on random sampling of PayByGroup merchants

A SparksLab Global Venture: Countertop is a connected kitchen gizmo to simplify balanced meal-making

Meet Countertop: the latest connected kitchen gizmo from Google Ventures-backed Orange Chef which reckons it has found the perfect blend of smart and dumb kitchenware to help consumers prepare healthier meals and quantify the nutritional balance of what they eat.

 

Countertop is going up for pre-order today, costing $99.95, which is half the planned full retail price, with a shipping date of fall 2015. It’s U.S. only for now.

 

The device consists of a smart board that can weigh and track ingredients plus an app that recommends recipes, dispenses step by step meal making instructions and tracks nutritional intake, such as calories.

 

The bigger twist is that the board is also able to recognize some of your existing kitchenware, such as blenders and crock pots, when you retrofit them with dedicated Countertop adaptors.

 

It can also integrate with fitness wearables, such as Jawbone’s UP, and with Apple’s Health data repository in order to factor in personal activity and sleep cycle data to its meal recommendations — with the pitch being that enables Countertop to offer tailored nutrition suggestions customized to the individual user.

 

“Countertop suggests personalized, easy-to-make meals or snacks that are healthy and tailored to your palate and nutritional goals,” says Orange Chef CEO Santiago Merea. “We’re not trying to encourage folks to make a culinary masterpiece — in fact, most of our meals generally include five or less ingredients. We walk each user through the process of adding, prepping, and cooking their meal, and along the way we hope our users learn more about what kind of nutrition they are getting.”

 

The company behind Countertop, Orange Chef, started back in 2011, when it was called Chef Sleeve, selling simple plastic sleeves to protect iPads being used in the kitchen. It’s steadily expanded its culinary-focused product portfolio, pushing into connected kitchen devices in 2013 — with a smart Bluetooth kitchen scales (plus app) called Prep Pad that also focused on helping people eat healthier.

 

Countertop continues the startup’s expansive trajectory by looping in existing kitchen devices via dishwasher-proof, heat-resistant NFC stickers (the aforementioned adaptors). So while there is some overlap with Prep Pad, the forthcoming gizmo can tap into more of your kitchen gadgetry.

 

“When the user places an appliance on Countertop, the app now understands the context of what the user is trying to accomplish in the physical world and can give recommendations based on this,” explains Merea. “Furthermore, it helps our base understand when the appliance is being used during Make Mode (dumping ingredients step by step without pre-measuring) and scales the recipe accordingly according to the model, capacity, etc.”

 

Orange Chef has partnered with Vitamix blenders (which is also a seed investor) and Crock-Pot slow cookers to push the system, with dedicated NFC adaptors ($9.95 and $4.95 for those devices respectively, during the pre-order period).

 

It says it plans to expand the system further, with Merea noting it is talking to “several large, beloved kitchen brand mainstays about ways of integrating their product lines with Countertop”.

 

Despite the fresh focus on partners, Countertop does not require other gadgets to work. But partnering with existing kitchen brands is evidently its preferred route to grow its own business.

 

“You don’t even need add-on adapters or other kitchen gadgets for it to work. We made a bet that users will want to use Countertop with their Vitamix and Crock-Pot because these are two broadly adored products with communities of actively engaged users,” adds Merea.

 

Orange Chef has raised $4.8 million in seed funding from investors including Google Ventures, New Enterprise Associates (NEA), Lerer Ventures, Forerunner Ventures, Vitamix and individual angel investors including Warby Parker co-founder and co-Chief Executive Dave Gilboa.

 

It’s not currently breaking out sales of its existing devices, such as its Bluetooth kitchen scales, with Merea merely dubbing them as “significant”.

 

At this nascent stage in the Internet of Things startups are having to come up with workarounds to blend their own connected devices with existing dumbware to massage their usefulness — such as Countertop’s NFS adaptors. How robust and usable these bridging techs are remains to be seen.

 

The grand vision for the connected kitchen of the future is, presumably, a smart refrigerator which automatically orders the fresh ingredients required to prep your next set of nutritionally-optimized meals. But we’re a ways off that fully automated health-quantifying, grocery-delivering future. And so enter more NFC stickers.

The Team of Sparks Corporation - A SparksLab Global Venture

 

Net Jacobsson, Co-Founder & Partner

 

Net Jacobsson is a Co-Founder & Partner at SparkLabs Global Ventures. He is a former Facebook executive, entrepreneur and investor with vast international experience from many pioneering companies.

 

Net started out in Sweden Ericsson Mobile Communications (now SonyEricsson) in 1998 with user interface design but then moved into different start-up product, business development and marketing roles. In Israel Net led international business for Icq/AOL and then joined Chinese browser company, Maxthon in 2005 as partner & SVP. Net put Maxthon on the world map and brought in CRV and Google as investors. Today, Maxthon has over 1 billion downloads.

 

In 2007 Net joined Facebook as the head of International business development with focus on new user acquisitions, new markets and early M&A opportunities. In addition Net was responsible for Facebook's mobile business and led a number of deals with mobile operators and handset manufacturers.

 

Since 2009 Net has been involved an advisor and investor in Crowdstar, OpenFeint (sold to GREE for $104M), Playhopper (Founder), PixOwl, P1 (Board of Directors), and Cellogic. During 2012, Net assumed the role as CEO for Ginger Software. Net is also a Partner at SparkLabs, a startup accelerator in Seoul, Korea.

 

Frank Meehan, Co-Founder & Partner

 

Frank is a Co-Founder & Partner at SparkLabs Global Ventures and a Partner at SparkLabs, Asia’s premier accelerator based in Seoul. Frank was selected as part of the 2012 Wired UK Top 100 in tech, and Vanity Fair's The Next Establishment list 2010.

 

Previously Frank was with Horizons Ventures (HK), representing them on the boards of Spotify, Siri, Summly, Affectiva, Bitcasa, Fixmo, DoubleTwist, Ginger, Desti and Magisto. He also is the founder of Kuato Studios, a leading educational games studio, and INQ Mobile which was an early pioneer in mobile internet, winning Best Handset at Mobile World Congress 2009.

 

Frank started with Ericsson in 1994 as a coder and troubleshooter, lived in Singapore and HK, and then joined Hutchison Whampoa in 2001 and was responsible for the technical integration of the first 3G(WCDMA) networks around the world, launched under the Three(3) brand in multiple countries in 2003. He then ran the Three Groups’ global handset business, and developed and launched a range of products (Skypephone and INQ1), which pioneered mobile and internet communications

 

Bernard Moon, Co-Founder & Partner

 

Bernard Moon is a Co-founder & Partner at SparkLabs Global Ventures. He is also a Co-founder & Partner at SparkLabs, a startup accelerator in Korea. Previously, he was Co-founder & CEO of Vidquik, a web conferencing & sales solutions platform. Bernard was a Managing Director at the Lunsford Group, which is a private investment firm with holdings in real estate, healthcare and other industries. Bernard was Co-founder & VP of Business Development of GoingOn Networks, a social media platform for companies, and also led their product development where BusinessWeek recognized them in their "Best of the Web" list. Previously, Bernard was a Director at iRG, a leading boutique investment bank in Asia, where he focused on TMT companies.

 

Bernard co-founded a couple of other startups, raised over $50 million in venture capital, and enjoys helping other entrepreneurs as much as possible: He serves as a mentor to MuckerLab, a startup accelerator in LA, and SixThirty, a fintech accelerator in St. Louis.. He is a frequent guest writer to various technology journals, such as VentureBeat, Mashable, TechCrunch, and ReadWrite, and has been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and other publications.

 

Bernard has spoke and lectured about startups and entrepreneurship at Stanford University, Global Entrepreneurship Congress, American Chamber of Commerce in Korea and other organizations. He was selected as one of 8 global judges for EDF's innovation contest (EDF is the world's biggest electricity producer based in France)

 

He completed a post-graduate fellowship with the Coro Foundation. He received his MPA in Telecom and New Media Policy from Columbia University and a BA in English and Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.