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On the heels of a tremendously successful first ever Techstars Demo Day in Asia, the Rakuten Accelerator, Powered by Techstars is searching for its next class of founders to join the 2019 program, hosted in Singapore. Applications are open January 7–April 7, 2019, and the program starts in July, with Demo Day in October.

Rakuten was founded in Tokyo in 1997 as an online marketplace that now offers services to more than 1.2 billion customers around the world. It has formidable presence in its home market in Japan, offices in South East Asia and the Indian subcontinent, and businesses in the U.S. and Europe. Rakuten is also the main global partner of FC Barcelona, one of the world’s most legendary football teams (soccer to you Americans), and official partner of reigning NBA champions, the Golden State Warriors.

In addition to its geographical span, the variety of businesses and industries that Rakuten operates in makes it a highly interesting partner for founders to work with. Rakuten Group’s broad range of more than 70 online and off-line businesses span e-commerce, travel, FinTech, digital contents and communications, as well as credit cards, banking, securities, insurance, electronic money and professional sports. Founders who go through the accelerator will gain access to all of these business units during the course of the three-month program.  

Beyond the opportunity to work with Rakuten, the program’s location in Singapore is ideal for founders wanting to explore Asian business opportunities. Approximately three billion people across the Far East (Hong Kong, China, Japan), South East Asia, and the Indian subcontinent can be accessed via a short one to five hour flight from the island city-state. As a result, Singapore is the Asia headquarters for numerous Fortune 500 companies, including Unilever, BMW, Microsoft, Apple, Google, GE, Procter & Gamble, CISCO, Levi’s, UPS, Walt Disney, Pfizer, Novartis, Twitter, Sony, Philips, DHL, and more. Founders will have the opportunity to meet key decision-makers from all of these companies during their stay in Singapore for the program.   

The Rakuten Accelerator, Powered by Techstars focuses on the Future of Communication, Data Marketing and Digital Commerce. The program will provide 10 ambitious startups with the opportunity to explore global aspirations by levering Rakuten’s resources from around the world. The three-month immersive mentorship-driven program includes initial funding and an inspiring work environment, and offers founders access to the Techstars worldwide network of more than 10,000 industry specialists, mentors, founders, and investors. The Techstars global portfolio of over 1,600 companies, including companies like SendGrid, Digital Ocean, PillPack, and Classpass, continues to grow, and to offer unparalleled value to founders who want to build global businesses.

We welcome applications from founders from across the world who are working on technologies that apply to communication, data marketing and digital commerce. Start your application now or keep reading for more information about meeting us or requesting office hours.

Meet the Team

We are holding office hours from January to early April, all over the world, between conferences and Meet & Greet events. If you’d like to meet with us, please check out the dates and times below and fill out this meeting request form. We’d love to hear from you even if we are not able to visit your city. We’ll be hosting frequent virtual office hours.

Schedule (upcoming):

Rakuten Accelerator powered by Techstars Live AMA’s:

  • 8 Feb, 3pm SGT / 8am CET (Join)
  • 19 Feb, 9am EST / 3pm CET (Join)
  • 14 Mar, 3pm SGT / 8am CET (Join)

We also recommend that you follow us on Twitter for specific updates, new event postings, and live Q&A. Connect with us here: #TechstarsRakuten and @Techstars.



Dhritiman Hui Dhritiman Hui
Dhritiman is the Managing Director of the Rakuten Accelerator, powered by Techstars, and was most recently an Investment Director at Tuscan Ventures – an investment firm based in India, and prior to that an Investment Director BW Ventures, a global investment firm that funded both startups as well as provided growth capital to and brick-and-mortar companies.