Rakuten FinTech Conference 2016 September 28, 2016 at Hotel New Otani TokyoRakuten FinTech Conference 2016 September 28, 2016 at Hotel New Otani Tokyo

Technological innovation is paving
the way to a radically new future in Finance.

Get a glimpse into the global growth of Finance x Tech innovation.

In Feb 2015, we welcomed leading experts and entrepreneurs at the forefront of IT and financial fields to our premier conference.

> Catch a glimpse of the conference here


All videos of Rakuten Financial Conference 2015 were posted!


Innovative financial businesses are flourishing all over the world as technology evolves from day to day.
Virtual currencies such as 'Bit Coin', advanced payment systems optimized for mobile, as well as their collaborations with Finance & Technology are rapidly emerging.
Alongside these new movements, various types of new financial services provided by Internet, telecommunications and startup venture industries are making new trends in the Finance business.
Furthermore, large investments not only from major IT companies, but also venture capital and finance industries show the extent to which this sector is growing.
In this torrent of innovation, how will the financial industry be shaped and transformed?
This conference invites leaders from both Finance and IT industries all over the world to explore cutting edge Finance & IT innovation a.k.a. "FinTech" on a global scale.


Thank you for continued support for Rakuten, Inc. and the Rakuten Group’s financial services companies*.

The Rakuten Financial Conference marks the first event of its kind hosted by Rakuten and its financial services firms.

Rakuten engages in a wide range of businesses, with Internet technologies at its core. Through our efforts, we have also established a unique position within the financial services sector as well.

In recent years, the field of “FinTech,” combining finance and technology, has drawn the interest of Japan and other developed countries. This signals a great change for the financial services industry, which has been viewed as very conservative in nature.

This brand new conference will cast a spotlight on the field of FinTech, which is also garnering a great deal of attention among start-ups.

This conference will serve as a platform for promoting active discussions and delivering the latest information from renowned experts and entrepreneurs in the field, both from Japan and overseas.

By participating in this conference, you will be given the opportunity to gain insight into the latest trends in global financial markets.

I cordially invite you to attend, and sincerely look forward to seeing you there.

Chairman of the board & Chief Executive Officer,
Rakuten, Inc.
Hiroshi Mikitani

* Rakuten Group’s financial services companies:
Rakuten Card Co., Ltd.,
Rakuten Securities, Inc.,
Rakuten Bank, Ltd., Rakuten Life Insurance Co., Ltd.,

Rakuten Edy, Inc., Rakuten Insurance Planning Co.,Ltd.,

Rakuten Investment Management, Inc.


Keynote Speech

Heizo Takenaka

Keio University, Professor of Faculty of Policy Management

Heizo Takenaka is a graduate from Hitotsubashi University. After holding various posts, including Visiting Associate Professor of Harvard University and Professor of the Faculty of Policy Management of Keio University, he served in prominent positions, such as Minister of State for Economic and Fiscal Policy in 2001 in the Koizumi Cabinet, Minister of State for Financial Services, Minister of State for Privatization of the Postal Services, and Minister of Public Management. From 2006, he served as the Director of the Global Security Institute at Keio University. From 2010, he also served as Professor of Faculty of Policy Management at Keio University.
His major publications in Japanese include “Beneficial Economic Classics” Kobunsha Co., Ltd. (2010),“Economic of Research Development and Capital Investment”TOYO KEIZAI INC. (1984) and others.

Panel Discussions

Peter Thiel

PayPal, Co-Founder

Peter Thiel was an active venture capitalist in his personal capacity, funding companies like FACEBOOK, where he was that company’s first outside investor and director. His contributions to technology, finance, and entrepreneurship have been widely recognized, including by the World Economic Forum, which honored him as a Young Global Leader. He was also named for the 25 most influential people on the Web by Business Week.

James Anderson

MasterCard, Senior Vice President of Shared Platform Services and Emerging Payments

James Anderson is the Senior Vice President of Shared Platform Services and Emerging Payments at MasterCard. He leads teams that are responsible for developing all digitization, tokenization, cardholder identification and verification, mobile money, personal payment and wallet platforms for use by card issuers and digital players. He recently completed the build of MasterCard’s Digital Enablement Service, the flagship platform that supports Apple Pay. He has spent his career at the intersection of mobile, payment and internet technologies in the functional areas of Product Development and Business Development.

Rohan Mahadevan

PayPal Asia, Senior Vice President

As PayPal’s Senior Vice President of Asia, Rohan Mahadevan provides strategic direction for one of the company’s fastest-growing regions covering many of the largest commerce markets in the world, including Greater China, Japan, India and Southeast Asia. Based in Singapore, he is responsible for increasing the company’s presence and local payment capabilities to capitalize on the explosive growth of e-commerce and m-commerce across all Asian markets. Rohan has been with PayPal since 2004 in various leadership roles. Prior to his current position, he held the dual roles of Vice President of Global Cross Border Trade and Vice President of Latin America.
His passion to work and understand the challenges of growing businesses is not new; his career started with his own start-up where he was founder and CEO of Aftermind Inc., a software company in the aftermarket protection industry.
Before he started his own company, Rohan was a post-doctoral scientist at Cambridge University, England. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics from the California Institute of Technology and a PhD from Harvard University in the field of astrophysics.

Peter Bell

Highland Capital Partners, Partner

Peter Bell specializes in technology investments with an emphasis on information security, cloud infrastructure, enterprise software, and mobile communications industries. He serves on the board or works closely with the management teams of Bitnet, Bromium, Desktone, ExaGrid Systems, Gigamon, iddiction, InXpo, Leap Motion, Nebula, RethinkDB, SCVNGR, Violin Memory, Virtual Computer, VMTurbo and WePay. He is a former board member of Ocarina Networks (acquired by Dell), RentJuice (acquired by Zillow) and Virtual Computer (acquired by Citrix). Before joining Highland in 2006, he was Managing Director and founder of Stowe Capital, which specialized in providing capital and management expertise to emerging growth companies. Prior to establishing Stowe Capital in 2002, he was the co-founder, Chairman and CEO of StorageNetworks, an information storage software and services company. Under his leadership, he took the company from a pioneering concept to a successful IPO. He began his career at EMC Corporation, where he held positions in marketing, operations and sales. He holds a B.S. in Accounting from Boston College and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.

Eli Broverman

Betterment, LLC Co-Founder & COO

Eli Broverman is a co-founder of Betterment, LLC and serves as its Chief Operating Officer. An expert in securities and financial institutions law, he also serves as Betterment's General Counsel. He has designed a wide range of structuring and compliance initiatives for broker-dealers and investment advisors. Prior to forming Betterment, he practiced law at the international law firm Proskauer Rose LLP, where he advised Fortune 500 companies and their senior management on securities, tax, and compensation matters. He is a graduate of Brown University and New York University School of Law.

Wences Casares

Xapo, Co-founder & CEO

Wences Casares is a co-founder and CEO of Xapo, a bitcoin wallet and vault startup. He is a technology entrepreneur, based in California, with global business experience specializing in technology and financial ventures. He launched Internet Argentina S.A. in 1994, and founded Patagon in 1997, which is the Argentine online brokerage and become the Latin America's first comprehensive Internet financial services portal. He founded Wanako Games in 2002, and co-founded Banco Lemon, a retail bank in Brazil. He was also the founder and CEO of Lemon, a digital wallet platform. He was selected as one of the World Economic Forum's “Young Global Leaders”in 2011. He is on the board of the Viva Trust, and is the founder of the Fundación Síntesis. He studied business administration at the University of San Andrés, in Buenos Aires, and completed the Management Program at Harvard University.

Michael Laven

Currency Cloud, CEO

Michael Laven is the CEO of Currency Cloud, a rapidly-growing FinTech company that is transforming how businesses move money around the world. Currency Cloud is well positioned to bring long-awaited change to the international payments landscape, by exchanging and transferring money as a cloud-based service. Joining in 2012, Mike is the driving force behind the firm, growing it to $10bn in international payments.
An accomplished entrepreneur, Mike is highly skilled at building and leading venture-backed FinTech companies towards profitable growth. Over the past two decades, he has held leadership roles with a number of FinTech firms in London and Silicon Valley, including Infinity Financial Technology, Cohera and Coronet, FRS Global and Traiana.
Behind Mike’s easy-going personality lies one of the sharpest minds in the financial technology industry. Mike has a BA from Wesleyan University and advanced degrees from Harvard and the School for International Training.

John McDonnel

Bitnet Technologies Ltd, Co-Founder & CEO

John McDonnel is the co-founder and CEO of Bitnet Technologies Ltd, a payment processing platform that enables merchants to accept digital currencies. Prior to founding Bitnet, he has held executive roles at Visa, CyberSource, Paymo (now BOKU), and PaylinX. He also served as Executive Vice President - Chief Strategy Officer, General Counsel and a member of the board of directors of TNS, a global provider of business-critical communications services to card processing, financial services and telecommunications industries. Earlier in his career, he practiced securities law and has also been an active private investor with extensive board experience. He earned his B.A. degree with honors from Stanford University and his J.D. from UCLA law school.

David Milligan

Matchi.biz, CEO

David Milligan has an extensive background in innovation management within banking, as well as strategy consulting. In his banking career, he headed a number of new business units for over 10 years, as well as heading up strategy development in both commercial and private banking divisions of a major bank. During this time he led teams responsible for the successful launch of new-to-market banking technology and new revenue lines within banking. Prior to that, he was a strategy consultant for Monitor Group (now Monitor Deloitte). He is passionate about "bringing new ideas to the discipline of the market" - which he sees as true innovation. He holds an MBA from the University of Cape Town, and has spoken on innovation at banking conferences around the world.

So Saito

Attorney / New York Attorney / Consulting lawyer, Auditor of JADA / Instructor of Chuo Graduate School of International Accounting

So Saito graduated from The University of Tokyo, Faculty of Law, and joined the Nishimura & Asahi Legal Office in 1999. In 2005, he graduated from the New York University School of Law (LLM). He has specialized in the legal advisory of finance and IT ventures and enterprises for over 15 years. Since 2013, he has given talks in several BitCoin related seminars and has published written works on the topic of BitCoin. Currently, he advises and consults on the establishment of guidelines and the trade association of the Liberal Democratic Party’s IT committee. He serves as consulting lawyer and auditor-secretary of JADA, the trade association of BitCoin. His main talks and works include “Regulations for BitCoin under existing law”(Monetary and Fiscal Context in March, 2014), “Bitcoin Regulation and Activities of the Japan Authority of Digital Assets” (NY Bitcoin Center in September, 2014) as well as others.

Yukio Noguchi

Economist / Waseda University, Adviser of the Center of Finance Research / Professor Emeritus at Hitotsubashi University

Yukio Noguchi is an expert in Finance Theory and Japanese Economic Theory. He graduated from The University of Tokyo, Faculty of Engineering, and joined the Ministry of Finance in 1964. In 1972, he received his Ph.D. in Economics from Yale University. He served as a Professor at Hitotsubashi University, Director of the Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology at The University of Tokyo, Visiting Associate Professor of Stanford University, as well as Professor of the Graduate School of Finance, Accounting and Law at Waseda University. He has a deep interest in BitCoin and published “Innovation of Virtual Currency” Diamond, Inc. (2014).
His major publications in Japanese include “Japanese Economy collapsed by Monetary Easing Policy” DIAMOND, Inc. (2013), “Fictional Abenomics” DIAMOND, Inc. (2013) and others.

Hiroshi Mikitani

Rakuten, Inc., Chairman & CEO

Hiroshi Mikitani is Chairman and CEO of Rakuten, Inc., one of the world's leading e-commerce companies. He has been referred to as a maverick in his approach and is widely seen as the leader of an emerging, 'New Japan', one which increasingly turns away from traditional modes of doing business. Born in Kobe, Japan, he graduated from Hitotsubashi University in 1988, and earned his MBA from Harvard Business School in 1993. Personal tragedy in the 1995 Great Hanshin earthquake inspired him to leave a promising career in investment banking to create something that he thought would be more meaningful to society. Starting out with just a handful of team members, he launched the "Rakuten Ichiba" marketplace in May 1997. Today, Rakuten is the world’s third largest e-commerce company by revenue and is listed on the First Section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange.


Rakuten, Inc., Manager of Rakuten SmartPay

Shigenobu Kobayashi is the manager of the Rakuten SmartPay business. In 2010, he joined Rakuten, and worked abroad to expand the Rakuten Ichiba business overseas. In 2012, he returned to Japan and established the “Rakuten SmartPay” service, a mobile payment service for merchants.


Waichi Sekiguchi

Nikkei Inc., Editorial Writer / Member of the Editorial Board

Waichi Sekiguchi graduated from Hitotsubashi University in 1982 and joined Nikkei Inc. In 1988, he entered into the Institute of International Affairs of Harvard University to study abroad as a Fulbright Researcher. From 2000, he served as an editorial writer in the fields of information and communication and also served as a Part-time Professor of Waseda University and Meiji University. His major publications in Japanese include “Flag-Bearers of the Personnel Computer Revolution” Nikkei inc. (2000), “Information Seeking Method” Nikkei Inc. (2006). He co-authored “REIMAGINING JAPAN” KINOKUNIYA COMPANY, LTD. (2011), “Information and Communications Policy to Create the Future” NTT Publishing Co. Ltd, (2010) and others.

Kevin Krolicki

Reuters, Japan Bureau Chief

Kevin Krolicki is Japan Bureau Chief for Reuters, a position he took in April, 2012. He was Detroit Bureau Chief for Reuters from 2006 to 2012 and led coverage of the auto industry in that role. Before moving to Detroit, he was Los Angeles Bureau Chief from 2000 to 2006. He was editor for Reuters Financial Television in Tokyo from 1996 to 2000. A native of Detroit, he is a graduate of Harvard University (AB) and the University of Michigan (MA), where he studied Japanese and journalism.

He is an SABEW (Society of American Business Editors and Writers) award winner for coverage of GM’s failed merger talks with Chrysler in 2008 and a profile of Ford Chairman Bill Ford he wrote was selected by Columbia University for its “Best Business Writing of 2012” publication. The Tokyo Reuters staff have been honored by the Society of Publishers in Asia for coverage of the Fukushima disaster (2012) and Abenomics (2014).

Steve Lewis

CNBC Strategic Content and News Partnerships Group / Responsible for “Americas Top States for Business” and “Disruptor 50”

From the historic collapse of Enron to the 2008 global financial meltdown, Steve Lewis has covered some of the most important business news stories of the past 15 years. As Coordinating Producer in CNBC’s Washington Bureau, Steve spent nearly three years chasing politics and policy stories across multiple beats including corporate governance, healthcare and energy. He returned to the network's Global Headquarters in 2005 and helped relaunch CNBC’s signature morning show “Squawk Box.” In 2006, Steve was named Assistant Managing Editor. Today, Steve leads the Strategic Content and News Partnerships group. This innovative cross-platform editorial team is responsible for developing and scaling some of CNBC’s most influential franchises including “Americas Top States for Business” and “Disruptor 50.” Additionally, Steve and his team seek out new content and technology partnerships that enhance audience experience. Steve lives in Bloomfield, NJ with his wife Marlene, 8 year old son Sam, and Pug puppy – Cece. He loves yoga, biking and watching the NFL.


Sean McArdle

Management Consultant

Based in 7 cities including Tokyo, New York, Paris, Singapore and others, Sean McArdle Kawakami is a strategy consultant for both Japanese and foreign-capitalized companies in various business sectors and also provides advisory services for local authorities, national government and public administrations, and manages an investment fund. He also works to provide support in venture establishment and development, and has also established “The SMK School of Executive Education,” providing skill development and language training for business leaders. His major publications in Japanese include “Five Essential Conditions of Professionals” Asahi Shimbun Publications Inc. (2009), “Live Broadcasting of MBA Lectures - Management Strategy“ TAC Co., Ltd. (2008) and others.

* Please note that the program, including the speakers, may change without notice.


Monday February 23rd, 2015

Doors Open
12:30 -
Opening Remarks
12:35 -

Keynote Speech

The Issue with Abenomics and the Economic Environment Surrounding Japan

Heizo Takenaka
Keio University, Professor of Faculty of Policy Management

The House of Representatives election in which both the LDP (Liberal Democratic Party) and Komeito achieved victory, has now passed, and the Abe Cabinet has been inaugurated for their third term. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe claims “Abenomics is still only at its halfway mark” and “to those who have yet to gain, we will make it our mission to deliver results”, promising to advance Abenomics. In order to advance Abenomics, the ‘third arrow’, representing a phase of their growth strategy, makes it essential for us to target deregulation and the creation of new industries. Formerly under the Koizumi administration, and with experience as Minister of Financial Affairs, Minister of Economic & Fiscal Policy, Minister of Postal Services Privatization, Minister of Internal Affairs & Communications, Economist Heizo Takenaka speaks on the future of Japan, and his outlook on the global economy.
13:20 -

Panel Discussion

The Rise of Bitcoin

Wences Casares Xapo, Co-founder & CEO
John McDonnel
Bitnet Technologies, Co-Founder & CEO
So Saito
Attorney / New York Attorney / Consulting lawyer, Auditor of JADA / Instructor of Chuo Graduate School of International Accounting
Yukio Noguchi
Economist / Waseda University, Adviser of the Center of Finance Research / Professor Emeritus at Hitotsubashi University

Waichi Sekiguchi
Nikkei Inc., Editorial Writer / Member of the Editorial Board

Following the rise in acceptance of electronic money such as Edy in Japan, we are seeing a different kind of currency to the Japanese Yen or the US Dollar, and those issued by Central Banks, what we’re seeing is Bitcoin and other digital currencies coming into the market. Although there have been incidents involving Bitcoin, such as bankruptcies in the past, Bitcoin has been gaining support globally, and gaining an increasing presence in emerging countries. What are the advantages and disadvantages of Bitcoin? How will digital currencies evolve in the future?
14:15 -

Panel Discussion

Year 2025, the Evolution of Payment

James Anderson
MasterCard, Senior Vice President of Shared Platform Services and Emerging Payments
Rohan Mahadevan PayPal Asia, Senior Vice President
Shigenobu Kobayashi
Rakuten Inc., Manager of Rakuten SmartPay

Kevin Krolicki
Reuters, Japan Bureau Chief

Currently, the environment surrounding payment settlement is being greatly affected by the growth of e-commerce as well as increasing use of smartphone devices. Furthermore, globally new players such as Apple Pay are entering the market, and there are signs that more changes will be seen. How will payment systems change in the next 5 years, 10 years? In 2025, how will we be paying for goods and services in our daily lives? How will our lifestyles change as payments become fused into the services we use?
15:05 -
15:15 -

Panel Discussion

The Forefront of FinTech

Peter Bell Highland Capital Partners, Partner
Eli Broverman Betterment, Co-Founder & COO
Michael Laven Currency Cloud, CEO
David Milligan Matchi.biz, CEO

Steve Lewis
CNBC Strategic Content and News Partnerships Group / Responsible for “Americas Top States for Business” and “Disruptor 50”

Initially focused mainly on payments, FinTech brought about a wide range of new services in the financial field. What business developments from entrepreneurs are we seeing at the forefront of FinTech? What kind of startups are Venture Capitalists investing in and backing? What trends are we seeing in FinTech ventures? And, how will the technological innovation from FinTech ventures impact the future of finance? What is required from Japanese entrepreneurs to be able to succeed in the FinTech industry?
16:10 -

Panel Discussion

Wrap-up Session - New Financial Services Resulting from Technological Innovation

Peter Thiel PayPal, Co-Founder
Hiroshi Mikitani
Rakuten Inc., Chairman & CEO

Waichi Sekiguchi
Nikkei Inc., Editorial Writer / Member of the Editorial Board

In the ever evolving world of IT, entrepreneurs around the world are developing increasingly more innovative financial businesses. Amidst this torrent of innovation, what kind of financial services are we expecting to see in the near future? Moreover, how will financial services evolve through the application of Big Data, and how will this affect our individual lifestyles?
17:15 -

* Please note that the program, including the speakers, may change without notice.

Peter ThielZERO to ONE
Complimentary Gift

We will be giving a copy of Peter Thiel's recently published book "Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future" (Japanese, NHK Publishing, Inc.) to all attendees of the conference.
More details of the book.  
Hardcover | e-book


Palace Hotel Tokyo
Aoi no ma (Conference)

1-1-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, 100-0005
TEL. 03-3211-5211

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Access Info
By Train
Otemachi Station (Subway Line) C13b exit directly connected to the hotel by underground walkway.
Tokyo Station (JR Line) 8min
From Airports to Palace Hotel
From Haneda International Airport
Airport Limousine Bus: 70 - 85 min (Limousine Bus Schedule)
Monorail and JR Line: 30 min
Taxi: 30 min
From Narita International Airport
Airport Limousine Bus: 80 - 120 min (Limousine Bus Schedule)
Monorail and JR Line: 60 min
Taxi: 60 min
Venue Information

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