The past couple of weeks were really exciting in the Techstars and Rakuten accelerator program. Each team presented what idea and purpose they had. Then, based on their startup profiles, they received flight tickets to three different countries. Talk-A-Bot went to San Francisco!
After a 15 hours direct flight Talk-A-Bot arrived in the States and in San Francisco. Our primary goal was to meet as many company leaders as possible. The HQ’s café on the first floor was the most suitable place to meet. We talked to Djamel Agaoua, the global leader of Viber. Also, to Stuart Simms, the marketing CEO of Rakuten US. And last but not least, to Yaz Lida, the president of Rakuten US. We also had the opportunity to meet and pitch for Hiroshi “Mickey” Mikitani, CEO of Rakuten Viber.
The timing was just perfect. Talk-A-Bot and the other two startup CEO were selected for the Rakuten Optimism. Rakuten Optimism is the first global conference of Rakuten. All of the “Japanese Amazon” 70 business lines were presented in the program. Besides many prestigious branches, the most prominent one, the American EBATES, which joined the Rakuten family in 2014. The popular company guarantees credit to its registered customers after every online purchase. In cash.
The Bill Graham Civic Auditorium was an excellent venue for the event. The high-quality opening and the performances were in the concert hall. On the other hand, the reception was in front of the auditorium, directly at Grove Street. The one-day meeting program featured key players such as Mike Brown and Jordan Bell, the famous NBA Golden State Warriors team coach, David Alpert, the producer of Walking Dead and of course Hiroshi “Mickey” Mikitani, CEO of Rakuten.
Rakuten’s vision and the reception
In his speech, Mickey highlighted Rakuten’s vision and the next new development steps. All 40,000 dealers in Ichiba, Japan’s largest e-commerce store, will have their own Japanese speaking chatbot. He also emphasized that chat and chatbots are now a part of every business or commercial application. Forbes’ choice of the top 20 most innovative companies in 2002 continued to keep pace with its fast growth rate. The best example was Curbside, best in offline-online conversion, which had been bought up for $ 100 million recently.
At the reception, we met a gentleman by chance who was sitting at the closest table. After a few sentences, it turned out that he was one of the best neurosurgeons in the United States. In addition, he was the husband of Mickey’s cousin. In our more than 2 hour conversation, we talked about so many things. Singapore, the famous Hungarian Tokaj wines, his book about aging, and of course the secrets of Mickey’s success.
When everyone finished dinner, we took our places at the Auditorium. Hundreds of famous performers had shows there, such as Kiss, U2 and Madonna. Now Shakira dazzled the audience. The fantastic pop star appeared full in gold and has shown the album, El Dorado, supported by Rakuten. Besides the new songs, we got to hear the well-known classic hits. Our night was truly once in a lifetime. We liked to move it move it for Waka-waka! 😉
Talk-A-Bot’s 12 weeks incubation is coming to an end. On the Closing Day, the 10th of October Talk-A-Bot will announce its new product developed during the program to more than 70 VCs invited to the elegant closing event. Talk-A-Bot had a blast in San Francisco!