These startups come from nine different countries — Singapore, Canada, Hungary, Lebanon, the Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, the UK and the US. The companies offer products on a wide range of social messaging related technologies including AI, chatbots, adtech, payments, and collaboration tools.
Selected based on their ability to shape the future of ‘messaging as a platform’ for new technologies, the 10 startups will undergo an intensive 13-week mentor-driven programme to rapidly develop their products and go-to-market strategy, with the support of the Techstars and Rakuten global networks.
Each startup will receive a US$120,000 investment, access to the Techstars network of over 10,000 founders, alumni, and mentors, and 400 perks worth over US$1 million.
Participants in Rakuten Accelerator will also have access to resources from across Rakuten’s global ecosystem of more than 70 services, including Rakuten Viber messaging and voice platform.
All these 10 startups will relocate to a dedicated space at WeWork 71 Robinson.
“We are thrilled to welcome an amazing group of talented entrepreneurs from around the world who share Rakuten’s passion for innovative thinking and empowerment,” said Michael Shmilov, COO of Rakuten Viber. “For Rakuten Viber, our mission of borderless communication means constant innovation for the way people connect around the world and we look forward to working together with our inaugural Accelerator class to revolutionize how businesses and consumers use messaging to conduct business and stay connected.”
The programme will be run by Managing Director Dhritiman Hui and Dennis List.
Here are the 10 startups:
Additor (South Korea)
Additor aims to change how people work on research and documents. Additor is a unified document collaboration platform for SMBs and freelancers.
AND Global (Singapore)
AND Global is an AI-based mobile lending platform for the unbanked in Asia. AND Global issues over 500,000 loans annually to tens of thousands of customers.
Elumium is a property technology company specialising in communication and property management. Elumium works with super prime residential developments and luxury hotel residences.
Groovy Antoid (Lebanon)
Groovy Antoid is an indie game studio focused on create a world of mobile games with cute, loveable characters.
Immersive Systems (US)
Immersive Systems aims to reshape how fans engage with sports on their mobile phones, TV and at sports arenas through a next-generation digital experience platform.
Jazzy Pay (Philippines)
Jazzy Pay is a unified payment platform that enables customers to pay schools, clinics and hospitals efficiently through their mobile phones
Retarget Links (Canada)
Retarget Links is democratising digital advertising by making it easy to advertise in premium online publishers. Everyone from small businesses to global agencies and brands like WPP, Omnicon, P&G, and Uber use Retarget Links to get the right banner ads in front of the right people.
Rooit is using chatbots to connect millennials through AI, gamification and social networking. Rooit has over 300,000 users since launching in Taiwan in June 2017.
Shoffr helps brands win customers back from e-commerce. Shoffr converts online missed sales to in-store footfall with a white-labelled solution that tracks online to offline customer journeys across social, chat, and web platforms.
Talk-A-Bot provides chatbot technology to help entreprise communicate via messaging platforms. Talk-A-Bot powers chat for some of Central Europe’s largest banks, utilities providers, and media companies.
Techstars is an early-stage accelerator programme that has graduated 1000 startups, with a current combined market cap of over US$10 billion. The organisation runs programs across the world from New York to Cape Town, London to Los Angeles from headquarters in their hometown of Boulder, Colorado. Techstars has partnered with global leaders Disney, Nike, Virgin Media, Barclays, Target, Sony, Sonos and many others to create innovative accelerator programmes that span industries such as hospitality, retail, healthcare, Internet of things, mobility and music across the globe.
Techstars Ventures, the venture capital arm of Techstars, founded in 2009 has US$265 million of funds under management. It has invested in household names such as Uber, Sphero, Twilio and SendGrid.