About Rakuten Techstars

It is difficult to describe the feeling that Talk-a-Bot has received since July. Of the 480 companies from 38 countries around the world, we are among the top 10 in Techstars’ first Southeast Asian accelerator program. In this post, we are going to show you the structure of the program starting with the Mentor Madness part!

Being a Techstars backed company is not just a new period in the life of Talk-a-Bot, but also a huge international opportunity to open new markets and dimensions to the company. It’s extremely interesting to see this organization with a Japanese mentality where respect and orderly manner are the main values and where employees start their week with clean their own table and wipe the chair’s legs in the office. Yes, even the 7th richest man in Japan, the CEO as well. This worldwide, well-known and excellent organization, Techstars, has a relationship with over 10,000 mentors whom kindly offer their helping with strategy-building. Talk-A-Bot, in turn, believes it is able to be the best enterprise chatbot provider not only in Hungary but internationally. Good pairing, huh?

The schedule of the program is pretty busy. There are no empty passes, you have to hit the iron until it’s hot. This is also typical in the startup world. In that very moment, you have to be there and make the best of it. After the introductions and acquaintances, the program began. For over three full weeks, more than 60 mentors waited to get acquainted with 10 startups from 10 countries around the world, who were selected by Techstars. During the “Mentor Madness” period, every company had only half an hour to tell their message and get a reply on the spot. Our mentors from all over the world travelled to Singapore to help the emerging companies. Before the mentor meetings, we got the names of the mentors, the exact location and time, and a link where the mentors’ curriculum vitae was. Ákos, of course, studied the professional life and publications of the mentors all day long previously, so they could easily connect to each other. During the days and then weeks you could share any topic or question with them, but only in the 30 minutes. It did not matter that your area was unfamiliar to him, as everyone should be able to understand your innovation and ask questions from their own point of view. Then there were those 3-4 really relevant mentors whose advice really came from gold. One of the mentors was so committed to the program that after Ákos introduced the sketch of our latest product, the next day he brought his own housekeeper to the office with whom Ákos could make a product development interview.

This dynamism lasted throughout the program and we loved every moment of it. After the Mentor Madness, each team could choose lead mentors who will be closely involved in team life, not only during the program but beyond. Talk-A-Bot lead mentors will be Michael Shmilov, Viber COO and Haruna Tanaka, head of Strategic and Planning Bureau of Rakuten HQ.
Our next post will be about the workshop weeks, where Techstars shares its know-how to the participants.. Stay tuned!