Join us and over 1500+ developers and entrepreneurs at the 12th annual Rakuten Technology Conference. This
year, we're back with the theme of Rakuten Tech x Startup Tech. If you are excited about the latest
technology trends and stories,
this is a must-attend conference of the year!
Discover emerging technologies, practices, use-cases and stories straight from Rakuten and the startup
Hear from our hand-picked experts across a range of topics: AI, Big Data, Blockchain, Security, API
Economy & CloudNative
Engage with other attendees at our roundtable sessions and networking area.
Thanks to your continued support, this is the 12th consecutive year we have held Rakuten Technology
Conference since its launch in 2007. This conference is planned and executed by members of Rakuten’s
Tech Community each year with a theme relative to disruptive trends.
In the last couple of decades, as we have moved through the advent of the internet and social
networking services, technology has allowed people to express their diversity more clearly. Different
people basically always have different interests, so internet services have been focusing on developing
personalized functions, and we believe we should provide a variety of services more suitable for each
individual. Having said that, it is not easy to live up to the expectations of each user. We deal in
250 million items on the Rakuten Ichiba E-Commerce platform and have 20 million active users who
purchased something in the last 3 months. The possible combinations of items and users are endless. So,
we may want to develop big data platforms, enhance AI technologies such as machine learning, and
analyze the details of customer behaviors by gathering data scientists and researchers. Besides,
Rakuten Institute of Technology (RIT) has conducted academic collaboration and contributed very much to
satisfying user’s various needs in many terms. However, it’s not enough. We need to accelerate the
adoption of state-of-the-art technologies and then think out of the box to re-design our business. We
are always exploring novel ways.
In the past, new services tended to be developed mainly by web engineers. However, currently this has
been shifting from web engineering-centric to startup-centric services. Groundbreaking services now are
created based on the idea of startup companies. Related to that, some internet companies in the world
renewed or are renewing their strategy and company formation, for example by establishing a holding
company or creating a strategic sister company to promote venture businesses with, like driverless cars
or pilotless drones, the sharing economy business, crypto-currencies, KYC or smart contracts on
blockchain, etc. They are now bringing about new businesses by driving individual companies. You see
this kind of trend not only in internet companies, but in many other industries globally. Along with
it, you also see many buzzwords like FinTech, InsurTech, EdTech, AgriTech, Real Estate Tech, Sport
Tech, and so on. This is the end of trying new businesses within your own company. It’s the dynamic
shift to innovation through collaboration with start-ups and external investors on the run.
On a related note, the Rakuten group changed its mission statement from “To become the No 1. internet
service company in the world” to “To be a global innovation company”, expressing our new resolve to
actively launch new businesses. We also think that interaction between startups and existing businesses
plays a significant role in starting an innovative business. What we may want to pay attentions to is,
while startups can experiment with totally new projects, they don’t have so much data to work with.
Therefore it is important that they partner with data platformers who have a well-organized management
system of data utilization. On the other hand, some old enterprises have a huge quantity of data, but
they don’t have as much capacity for generating ideas and innovations as startups do. Naturally, it is
a very significant strategy to connect both of these.
In that context, we come to think it is great to put spotlight on startups which are new challengers to
social value creation, and would like to include the concept focusing on how to interact or interplay
between startup technologies and our own technologies.
That’s why we have chosen as our theme for this year:
“Rakuten Tech & Startup Tech”.
We will reflect those thoughts in the actual sessions. Under that vision, we will cover topics on our
next challenges, with various speakers and panels from startups on AI, data science, robotics,
education, AR/VR/MR, blockchain, cloudnative to world-class OSS, and more. Rakuten speakers will also
be giving talks. You can also hear about overseas group companies, the achievements by Rakuten
engineers, and the latest research by RIT. Plus, we plan to have exhibitions. You will enjoy seeing the
passion of challengers.
Come to think of it, we have taken on lots of challenges for innovation so far. Cloud computing has
emerged. And as smart devices have become common and social network services have grown, big data with
data science are spreading. Service development is becoming complicated. We have implemented
globally-distributed development, agile methodologies and DevOps. Now, IoT is becoming increasingly
popular. AI, deep learning, and now adversarial networks, are garnering attention. They are enabling
groundbreaking technologies such as various robots, UGV, autonomous ships, and transforming industries
inside out. AR, VR and MR are also evolving. Just thinking about changes in the coming 10 years can be
However, it is not enough. It never ends. We should keep running. We would like to keep abreast of new
challengers and embody the venture spirit for innovations through interplays and collaborations with
Join us to see the future and hopefully you will feel the excitement between Rakuten and startups. We
are looking forward to seeing you!
Executive Committee Chair
Rakuten Technology Conference 2018
Feeling inspired? Join us and our friends at Rakuten RapidAPI to build your dreams today.