July 26, 2018

10 startups selected to shape the future of global messaging as a platform with Rakuten Accelerator

- 13-week intensive accelerator to be based in Singapore at WeWork 71 Robinson -

Singapore, July 26, 2018 - Rakuten, Inc. and Techstars, the global entrepreneurial network, today revealed the 10 startups selected to join the high-profile Rakuten Accelerator, powered by Techstars, in Singapore.

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 program 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. With hundreds of millions of users around the world, Viber also recently become the official communication channel of FC Barcelona and Official Instant Messaging and Calling App Partner of the Golden State Warriors.

"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 program will be one of the most internationally populated Techstars startup accelerators ever, with startups from 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.

10 startups selected to join the Rakuten Accelerator Program, powered by Techstars





South Korea

Changing how people work on research and documents. Additor is a unified document collaboration platform for SMBs and freelancers. 

 AND Global


AI-based mobile lending for the unbanked in Asia. AND Global issues over 500,000 loans annually to tens of thousands of customers.


United Kingdom

A property technology company specialising in communication and property management. Elumium works with super prime residential developments and luxury hotel residences.

 Groovy Antoid


An indie game studio focused on create a world of mobile games with cute, lovable characters.

 Immersive Systems

United States

Reshaping how fans engage with sports on their mobile phones, TV and at sports arenas through a next-generation digital experience platform.

 Jazzy Pay


A unified payment platform that enables customers to pay schools, clinics and hospitals efficiently through their mobile phones.

 Retarget Links


Democratizing digital advertising by making it ridiculously 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.



Using chatbots to connect millennials through AI, gamification and social networking. Rooit has over 300,000 users since launching in Taiwan in June 2017.



Helps brands win customers back from e-com. 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.



Provides chatbot technology to help enterprise communicate via messaging platforms. Talk-A-Bot powers chat for some of Central Europe’s largest banks, utilities providers, and media companies. 

In charge of the program are newly appointed Managing Director Dhritiman Hui and Program Manager Dennis List.

Dhritiman was most recently an Investment Director at Tuscan Ventures, an investment firm based in India, and prior to that an Investment Director at BW Ventures, a global investment firm that both funded startups and provided growth capital to and brick-and-mortar companies. Dennis is the former Partnerships and Program Manager for Impact Hub Singapore, and a tech entrepreneur who founded and was CEO of Rocki, a music tech startup which graduated from Techstars Boston accelerator in late 2014.

Dhritiman Hui said: “Techstars and Rakuten have searched the world to attract the most innovative startups working on messaging-as-a-platform technologies – and are incredibly humbled to have secured the best of the best to come to Singapore to join our program.”

“Our two Singapore companies - AND Global and Shoffr - are joined by eight other startups from Asia-Pacific, Europe and the Americas. All of these companies have developed advanced technology in their fields, many have already gained traction with customers. They will benefit from a transformational experience over the coming weeks, in what is gearing up to be Asia’s most exciting startup technology accelerator.”

The startups will relocate to a dedicated space at WeWork 71 Robinson. With its second location in Singapore, WeWork will be bringing Techstars to the local wider community while seamlessly connecting them to WeWork’s global network. 

About Techstars
Techstars is an early stage accelerator program that has graduated 1000 startups, with a current combined market cap of over US$10bn. 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 programs 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 $265m USD of funds under management.  They have invested in household names such as Uber, Sphero, Twilio and SendGrid. For more information visit www.techstars.com

*Please note that the information contained in press releases is current as of the date of release.

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