Sr. Director of Global Partnerships - Rakuten

Rakuten, Inc. is the largest e-commerce company in Japan, and third largest e-commerce marketplace worldwide. Rakuten seeks to empower merchants to deliver Omotenashi, a hospitality mindset, which helps sellers create lasting relationships with customers.

At Rakuten, we offer competitive salaries, benefits, annual bonuses, a stocked kitchen (including catered breakfast and lunch daily), and a dynamic office environment in San Mateo, CA. We love investing in our people and when it comes down to it, we think our entire team is pretty awesome. As a technology focused company, we understand the importance of an energizing atmosphere that promotes collaboration and innovation.

If you're a natural at convincing brands, publishers, and the F100 that 1 + 1 = 3, we need to talk.

Rakuten is seeking apartnership guru to be a founding member of its Global Ads & Services pillar: Rakuten Interactive. We need a personality and futurist to win over Series A, B startup CEOs, cultivate a portfolio of VARs and investments, value-up pure-plays with our branding assets, and quickly go to market as leading platforms and solutions. It's a simple formula but a bold message to drive joint value in a consolidating and economically competing industry.

Our ideal candidate is a creative doer who has significant years of framing opportunities and driving complex initiatives in digital and cloud, fulfilling promises as the evangelist for partner orgs and the revenue/delivery requirements of a Rakuten business owner.

This is neither a pure strategy role to pontificate nor is it a desk job to talk up "mutually beneficial partner relationships". The mandate and challenge is scale a consolidated ad platform to compete with the likes of Adobe and Amazon and manage solutions against the leading interactive consultancies.

You will be in charge of these core pie ingredients:

  • Strategic initiatives: develop competitive advantages in CPG, Financial, and Retail sector markets, build internal interest, value potential, deal requirements, and financial impacts.

  • Rapid execution: negotiate rev-share margins, communicate value via storyboarding and financial models, know how to say no to entrepreneurs, and take many coffees to intimately understand each product.


  • Drive best-in-class product integrations into Rakuten Interactive via JV, white-label, investment, or M&A to create revenue platforms across front-line ad sales, consultancy, outsourcing, and managed services

  • Work with CEOs, investors, corporate development teams to onboard cutting-edge Series A, B startups as solution partners and prioritize the entire pipeline

  • Connect and process complex or orphan solutions as marketable platforms: Commerce Gateway, Commerce Cloud, etc. with licensing agreements, revenue share, and credible GTM strategies

  • Embed self and team into startup ecosystem, developer events, hackathons to lay partnership pipeline

  • Support initial pre-sales activities and GTMs for US and Japan (coordinating)

  • Hire channel partner managers to grow into new verticals: CPG, Financials, Healthcare, O2O Retail

  • Hire Sales Empowerment Specialists (sales and marketing marcom) to sustain and scale inbound marketing

  • Develop individual metrics for partnership success, distribute playbook globally

  • Evangelize "Land and Expand" strategy for partner organizations and Rakuten Interactive stakeholders. Regularly educate team, sales force, and internal divisions of Rakuten


  • Cross-discipline solution building is a must, from productizing, to sharing headcount, to working with ISVs and vendors

  • 10+ years in strategic partnerships at mid-late stage tech or SaaS startup, small to mid-cap VC, blue-chip technology firm, corporate finance technology group, corp. dev at F100

  • Comparable to above: 7-10+ years of direct sales with strong solution selling experience, majority of which in the channel

  • Material partnerships that have added to top-line, accretive revenue. E.g., beyond LOI/MOU into contract and implementation

  • Existing relationships and book of business: this is not an on-the-job-training role

  • Domain expertise in business intelligence, analytics, paid search/social, display advertising - insights and martech gamut

  • VC, accelerator experience is a huge plus

Team Fit:

  • Smart, humble, hungry, and start-up clairvoyant

  • Hunter mentality, existing book of business / relationships

  • Agitator, friend, and driver mentality to make partners successful

  • Self-direction in fluid and ambiguous environments

  • Right kind of ambition: growing people and products, no bureaucracy or politics

  • Not a 11am-3pm Mountain View job: legwork and persistence required


  • Bachelor's degree, computer science a plus

  • MBA a plus, but not overly necessary

  • Self-starters with Udacity, Coursera, Udemy nanodegrees and coursework welcome

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