Phil Libin sets up AI startup studio in SF, adding bases in Tokyo and Paris next spring


See the original story in Japanese.

Phil Libin, the Russian-born tech entrepreneur raised in the US, left Evernote which he nurtured into one of the most successful startups to commence his career in startup investment and entrepreneur support last year. He recently founded a AI startup studio called All Turtles this year.

At the debut event of All Turtles held in Tokyo in late July, Libin stated the reason for the establishment of All Turtles:

I think the innovation model centered upon Silicon Valley is not enough. The ideas that can raise billions of dollars are only required there, and creators are needed to be CEO in addition to creating ideas and products. A person with writing ability is never required to found a publisher, or a person who loves music is never required to found a music label, and yet a creator is required to possess so many abilities beside making an excellent product and popularizing it in the world of startups.

Most of startups’ failure can be due to work outside of making the product such as management or fundraising. The AI startups studio which supports and allows startups to concentrate on their products leading to success – is All Turtles.

Eight projects shown below have already joined All Turtles which got started in San Francisco.

  • Growbot……chatbot for improvement of employees’ incentive
  • Replika……personal AI friend, learns through text conversations
  • LEADE.RS……conference / event organization platform
  • Edwin……chatbot for online English learning
  • DoNotPay……online lawyer bot
  • OCTANE AI……bot creation platform
  •……company knowledge sharing bot
  • sunflower labs……drone-based home security

In addition to the eight projects above, two stealth projects have been ongoing in San Francisco. LEADE.RS is a pivot of the new startup conference organized by Loic Le Meur who had formerly managed Le Web.

Regarding the Tokyo base, All Turtles is going to open its office this fall, and start accepting applications for the first batch which will start with five teams from April 1st of 2018. Japan’s Digital Garage (TSE:4819) having much experience in incubation support through Open Network Lab will support its operation. All Turtles will also start operations at the Paris base in the same program timeline with the Tokyo base.

Phil Libin shows a mug repaired by the Kintsugi technique.

All Turtle has fundraised more than $20 million in total, and the investors include Xavier Niel who recently completed the world’s biggest startup campus Station-F, Boston-based VC firm General Catalyst which Phil Libin serves as a Senior Advisor, Hiroshi Mikitani who is CEO of Japan’s Rakuten (TSE:4755) and Digital Garage. Since the full announcement of its operation is planned at a later date, the number of investors or supporters is expected to increase further.

In this event, Libin mentioned the chance to create new value from failure referring to “Kintsugi”… the Japanese art of restoring broken pottery… and said there are so many concepts applicable to startup policy in  Japanese culture.

Translated by Taijiro Takeda
Edited by “Tex” Pomeroy

From left: Phil Libin and Kaoru Hayashi (CEO of Digital Garage)