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Back-end to the future: Why back-office tech will drive scale-ups to success

A new era of businesses is incoming: unicorns and rising stars. In their current state, they are known as scale-ups. Often defined by annual returns, number of employees or levels of funding, what really unites these, typically tech-focused, businesses is their impressive expansion and promising upwards growth trajectory. The UK alone is home to 33,860 scale-ups, contributing £1 trillion to the UK economy annually.

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Learnings from four leaders who exited successfully

IPOs on European stock exchanges rose from 191 in 2020 to 485 in 2021, and 2022 is expected to see even more.

While some argue 2022 may not be the right time to IPO — earlier this month, Dutch file-sharing company WeTransfer cancelled its IPO citing “market conditions” — there are plenty of European companies on the verge of the big exit.

As more startups seek funding and investors look to put their capital to good use, we asked startup leaders, from founders to CFOs, on the most valuable lessons they learned.

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5 Visionary Companies Transforming Their Supply Chains with Startup Innovation

Now more than ever, businesses need to respond effectively to changes in supply, demand, and market conditions – and we’re proud that over 25 SAP.iO startup solutions for supply chain management are integrated with solutions like SAP S/4HANA and are available on SAP Store to help our customers become more agile.

In this round-up, we’re proud to highlight 5 stories featuring visionary companies that are working with startups to transform how they manage their supply chains.

 


Coca-Cola Hellenic & Shippeo: Leveraging real-time transportation visibility for logistics operations

Coca-Cola Hellenic worked with Shippeo to improve functional efficiency and simplify their operations. By leveraging real-time transportation visibility powered by Shippeo, they were able to improve collaboration with carriers to improve service levels, reduce transportation costs and simplify back-office activities.

Shippeo works with SAP Industry Cloud & SAP Logistics Business Network and is available on SAP store.


Anheuser-Busch & Wise Systems: Proactively planning out deliveries and reducing late deliveries by 80%

Anheuser-Busch collaborated with Wise Systems to optimize its delivery network in record time. By replacing manual planning with an app-based delivery routing platform, Anheuser-Busch was able to reduce late deliveries by 80% and reduce their fuel costs by 6% year-over-year.

Wise Systems work with SAP S/4HANA & Industry Cloud and is available on SAP Store.


Danone & Flowlity: Optimization of raw materials and packaging in the food industry

Danone, a world leading food company, worked with Flowity to optimize its stock levels and increase the accuracy of their consumption forecasts. By deploying Flowlity, Danone is now able to dynamically adjust their safety stock and replenishment, resulting in a reduction in shortages and inventory levels.

Flowlity works with SAP ERP & SAP S/4HANA and is available on SAP Store.


Unilever & Scantrust: Farm-to-Fork Traceability with QR codes

Unilever worked with Scantrust to differentiate their products from their competition and validate origin statements by introducing a blockchain-powered traceability solution. By embedding QR codes on their packaging that linked to Scantrust’s gateway containing farm-to-fork details, Unilever was able to develop a new level of trust with their consumers and increase sales for their food and beverage products in Vietnam.

Scantrust works with SAP Logistics Business Network & SAP Industry Cloud and is available on SAP Store.


EnergyAustralia & NET2GRID: Unlocking new revenue streams for EnergyAustralia

EnergyAustralia was looking for a way to analyze energy data in order to empower their customers to take actionable measures to reduce their electricity bills. They worked with NET2GRID to connect smart meter data with a consumer-facing app that resulted in greater customer engagement and increased customer loyalty.

NET2GRID works with SAP Industry Cloud, SAP Extension Suite and SAP Integration Suite and is available on SAP Store.


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Jina.ai raises $30M for its neural search platform

Berlin-based Jina.ai, an open-source startup that uses neural search to help its users find information in their unstructured data (including videos and images), today announced that it has raised a $30 million Series A funding round led by Canaan Partners. New investor Mango Capital, as well as existing investors GGV Capital, SAP.iO and Yunqi Partners also participated in this round, which brings the company’s total funding to $39 million to date.

Read More on TechCrunch

5 Innovative Companies Transforming Their Employee Experience with Startup Innovation

Since 2017, our team has been scouting and accelerating innovative startups from around the world with the goal of helping the world run at its best. Today, over 30 solutions from startups in our portfolio are integrated with SAP SuccessFactors and are available on SAP Store. These solutions are uniquely positioned to solve some of the most important challenges facing businesses today that will define a new era in the future of work.

Taking charge of change requires a bold vision and we’re deeply inspired by the five stories below that demonstrate the art of the possible when working with startups to put people at the center of how we work.

 


Nestlé & Pulsifi: Finding Top Talent with AI & Predictive Analytics

Nestlé Malaysia & Singapore received a huge number of applicants for their popular Management Trainee Program and faced a lack of data consistency, a long screening process, and unmet requirements. They worked with Pulsifi, a people data platform, to better understand candidates’ behavior with 97% accuracy and improved efficiency in the processing of candidates by over 70%.

Pulsifi works with SAP SuccessFactors Recruiting and is available on SAP Store.


GE Healthcare & Immerse Learning: Transforming Radiography Training Through VR

GE Healthcare was able to increase the quality and number of practical training hours for their radiographer trainees with the help of Immerse Learning. Together, they created a VR environment that helped enable faster training processes and real-time tracking to enable instant review and feedback on performance.

Immerse Learning Limited works with SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central and is available on SAP Store.


ENGIE & Andjaro: Improving operational performance by identifying and redeploying internal talent at scale

ENGIE, the world’s third largest energy company, was struggling with developing a systematic and flexible approach for managing their field technicians and reducing inter-project periods. With the help of Andjaro’s operational performance tool, ENGIE was able to reclassify 94% of its available technicians, reduce their interim costs, and improve inter-agency collaboration.

Andjaro works with SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central and is available on SAP Store.


Stanley Black & Decker & 360 Learning: Improving ROI of Training Programs

Stanley Black & Decker chose 360 Learning to empower and enable trainers to create programs in real time and receive feedback in an easy-to-use platform. By using 360 Learning, their trainers now produce programs in 2 hours compared to a process that would have previously taken several weeks.

360 Learning works with SAP SuccessFactors Learning and is available on SAP Store.


Bentley Systems & Plum: Driving Equitable Talent Decisions Based on Proven Science

Bentley Systems is leveraging Plum’s predictive data-driven platform to capture candidates’ skills to enable better hiring decisions. Plum’s insights are presented in their SAP SuccessFactors Recruitment Dashboard so hiring teams can quickly evaluate external candidates, match them to open roles, and reduce bias in the hiring process.

Plum works with SAP SuccessFactors Recruiting and is available on SAP Store.


Interested in collaborating with a startup in our portfolio? Let us know!

 

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Navigating to Zero with Startup Innovations in Sustainability

The 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP26, is currently being held in Glasgow, Scotland under the co-presidency of the United Kingdom and Italy. The focus of the conference is to work towards securing global net zero by mid-century keeping 1.5 degrees within reach, adapting to protect communities and natural habitats, mobilizing finance, and working together to accelerate an action plan. It is a topic that is of utmost importance and we see action being taken globally across all types of businesses and industries to use innovations to support more sustainable ways to live and do business.

 From consumer to enterprise to federal government action

An economic transformation is underway that can be attributed to new sustainability practices, a call to action that is changing the future of business. Regulatory committees, investors, consumers, and employees increasingly call for more socially, environmentally, and economically responsible goods and services. The market is seeing consumers requesting sustainable products and services through their buying behavior. Evidence to which we can see in the numbers. According to a STERN Center for Sustainability Business report, products marketed as sustainable grew more than five times faster than conventionally marketed products and three times faster than the CPG market. When given choice, today’s consumer is more likely to select the more environmentally responsible option.

Sustainability has become a critical topic for enterprises to reduce emissions and waste, increase circularity, and use socially responsible practices throughout product lifecycles. Simply put, business leaders are listening to the customers’ call to buy sustainable products and are looking to address how to make sustainability profitable. Accenture’s CEO study confirmed that 99% of CEOS from companies with $1+ Billion in annual revenues believe sustainability is important to the future success of their business. When it comes to the workforce, research into workplace priorities of Millennial and Generation Z employees has found they rank sustainability as a leading concern when evaluating the companies they choose for employment. Sustainability matters, from the products you make and how you make them, to the type of talent you can attract can all hinge on your company’s sustainability model.

Even federal governments are stepping in to take action. Recently an alliance of German companies, including SAP, called for more tangible measures for climate protection from the federal government. The companies said in a joint statement that Germany must be put on a “clear, reliable and predictable path to climate neutrality.” Besides SAP, other participants include Allianz Insurance, Eon, Bayer, Adidas, General Electrics, Deutsche Post, and Ikea. With governments requesting action, there is a huge opportunity to engage technologies that optimize carbon emissions, increase operational efficiency by activation of circular business processes, and connect with socially responsible partners to help organizations make better informed decisions.

Among CEOs that see sustainability as a driver in the future is SAP’s own Christian Klein, stating, “Sustainability is no longer optional but has become key to the long-term success of any business. It’s about defining new competitive advantages, lowering risks, building resilience to pricing regulations, gaining ground with investors, and being ahead of emerging consumer demands.” Earlier this year, SAP launched its Chasing Zero movement focused on using the power of technology to create a world of ZERO emissions, ZERO waste, and ZERO inequality. In support of SAP’s initiative and in response to new sustainability requirements of the market, SAP.iO engages globally with the latest startup innovations to deliver on the vision of helping customers gain insights into their carbon footprints, material flows, and diversity and inclusion initiatives.

We run programs to accelerate startups focused on sustainability.

From the consumer to the enterprise to federal government action, our startup innovation has it covered. The SAP.iO team has the privilege of partnering with startups whose technology assists organizations as they shift their priority towards sustainability. During our partnership with these companies, we bring them together with SAP customers and can learn firsthand what resonates and what solutions meet the industry’s ever-changing needs. Alone this year’s fall / winter cohorts support a wide variety of sustainability goals:

  • Foundry Singapore’s Future of Work Program focuses on helping customers increase the value of their workforce by developing, managing, engaging, and empowering their people to develop a skilled, healthy & inclusive workforce.
  • Foundry Munich’s New Mobility Program is helping customers manage connectivity in transport, fleet management, charging and battery management, and automated and autonomous driving. Solutions that enable incremental steps towards sustainable mobility for urban, sub-urban and intra-urban mobility needs.
  • Foundry New York’s Sustainability in Retail & Consumer Program helps customers in the Retail, Consumer Products & Fashion industries drive sustainability across the value chain, including circular packaging, responsible & ethical sourcing, and responsible design & production.
  • Foundry San Francisco’s Sustainability in Energy & Natural Resources Program supports customers in the Energy and Natural Resources industries build sustainable businesses, improve experiences, and manage their environmental footprint and sustainability goals, including compliance, regulation, tracking, & carbon trading.
  • Foundry Paris’s Circular Economic Program helps drive circularity for customers in service industries such as passenger & cargo travel and engineering construction and operations by helping redefine the design, production, demand, and supply of products through their use cycles for reusability, waste reduction, and new value creation.

What we’ve seen:

This past spring SAP.iO Foundries Berlin & Munich teamed up with Accenture on a Sustainability focused startup program to help address critical challenges across industries and create a positive impact on both society and business. The main objective of our collaboration was to attract the world’s most talented founders by providing the perfect environment to grow their business. Combining Accenture’s industry expertise and specialized skills, with leading SAP technologies, expert mentors, and APIs, we will be able to jointly identify innovative use cases and startups that have the potential to transform our global economy into one that benefits all stakeholders. You can take a closer look at the innovative companies that participated here. In working with Accenture and our startups we were able glean important information which we compiled in our thought leadership paper entitled: Sustainability: The Next Digital.

Drive sustainable impact with SAP.iO startup solutions

How is this done? How do we begin to steer the ship in a direction that will meet all our sustainability goals? In working with SAP customers and SAP.iO startups, we’ve seen that the desire to impact this matter coupled with the innovative technology needed to turn the tide, but it must be looked at as a journey instead of a destination. Industries and companies are at different stages of maturity, with requirements in other areas across teams. The challenge is how to make sustainability profitable.

The good news is as an SAP customer you can act now; you don’t have to wait; we can help move you along this journey faster. How? We start by initiating an innovation session to define and prioritize the critical sustainability areas. Then we leverage our experience and startup ecosystem to discover innovative solutions specifically for your business and provide the opportunity to meet with startups to learn about their solutions. Then you can pilot and implement startup solutions that will help achieve your sustainability ambitions.

This post was originally published by Alexa Gorman on LinkedIn. To learn more about SAP.iO sustainability programs, you can visit sap.io/sustainability.

Four SAP.iO Startups Named to Inc 5000 List in 2021

SAP.iO is proud to announce that four startups in our portfolio were named to Inc. 5000 Fastest-Growing Private Companies in America list for 2021.

BigID (Backed by SAP.iO Fund) was recognized for 14,421% 3-Year Growth. Their solution helps organizations discover, manage, protect, and get more value from their personal data and is available on the SAP Store.

Paradox (Accelerated by SAP.iO Foundry San Francisco) was recognized for 1,922% 3-Year Growth. Their conversational AI software helps companies automate human resources tasks and is available on the SAP Store.

meQuilibrium (Accelerated by SAP.iO Foundry New York) was recognized for 216% 3-Year Growth. Their solution helps businesses build workforce well-being and potential with predictive analytics, biometrics and neuroscience and is available on the SAP Store.

Jebbit (SAP.iO Foundry Tel Aviv) was recognized for 119% growth. and is available on the SAP Store.

SAP receives the European startup-friendly certificate and takes the lead on GlassDollar’s corporate-startup collaborations ranking

We are excited to announce that SAP has received the European startup-friendly certificate by ranking 4th in GlassDollar corporate startup collaborations ranking for 2021. At SAP.iO, we take a lot of pride in helping innovators start up and scale with SAP and help deliver cutting edge solutions to our customers via our open innovation ecosystem. We would therefore like to congratulate everyone that has been part of this incredible journey and may the future be just as exciting for SAP and our customers.

Learn more here.

 

Celebrating Innovators Transforming Industries

In honor of International Women’s Day, we’re celebrating innovators in our global community that are transforming industries. We believe that diversity yields better innovation and are proud that 50% of the startups we work with have a female or underrepresented founder/CXO. To kick off the week, we caught up with Alexa Gorman, SVP of SAP.iO to learn about her journey in tech.

Alexa Gorman - BLN

What started you off on your road to tech?

I was always interested in tech and after completing my studies in business administration in France and Germany, I developed a keen interest in the possibilities that software offered to the business world. I started my career at SAP at a very exciting time for the tech industry, as it was just at the height of the Internet boom and the tech industry started changing the business landscape forever. It was the place to be and the place for me to make an impact! I haven’t regretted that decision once.

Who or what has been your greatest inspiration?

The greatest inspirations of my life are both of my parents. They started with little resources but a large desire to discover the world. They went early in their careers abroad, to England, Paris and the Caribbean (where I grew up), at a time when this wasn’t as normal or easy as it is today. It was a risky move and they had to work extra hard to succeed. It taught me early in my life to stay curious, be open minded to new things, to believe in myself and never stop learning!

What does your work involve and what would your typical day look like?

One of the great things about my work at SAP.iO is that rarely two days are the same, so there is fortunately no typical day. A big part of my role includes working with a great team around the globe to continuously improve the way SAP scouts for startups (internally and externally), accelerate the partnership journey with the startups to ultimately deliver more value to our key stakeholders, SAP’s customers.

What has been your best experience/ greatest success in your career?

The most fun I’ve had during my career was helping build SAP.iO. It is like working in a startup within a large corporation. We have a passionate team and a lot of freedom to continuously improve and experiment how to drive value for our customers, startups, and SAP. It’s incredible to see and learn from startup innovations and bring value and impact to our customers as well as back to SAP. Over the past 4 years we have grown from 2 locations to 9 across the world and been able to build something that is recognized as unique in our industry with multiple awards.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Be bolder and always question the limits you think are there. I’ve learned over time that most limitations only exist in our heads and once we overcome those ANYTHING is possible!

What do you hope to achieve and what is your vision for the future?

My vision for the future is a world in which diversity is no longer a topic but lived broadly – especially in the tech industry where we still have a long way to go.

Out now: Femventures – a podcast on adventurous women in tech

Femventures is a podcast by SAP.iO that brings you stories of women who are currently shaping the future of the tech industry. You will hear from women at SAP who are the heads of innovation departments, founded their own business or are running start-up accelerators inside the company. Hosts Lisa and Leonie put a spotlight on their experiences in a male-dominated field, and invite you to listen to them as they talk about overcoming challenges, taking risks and embracing failure. This show is an opportunity for people looking for actionable advice and inspiring female role models working in tech. Find us on openSAP, Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

Our first guest is Vanessa Liu, who dreamt of becoming an astronaut but became a tech entrepreneur instead. Tune in to get her insights on investing in female founders and the importance of role models (like her 79-year-old mom counting Cardi B among her clients).

Listen Now

Innovative Solutions from SAP.iO Startups Help Business Succeed Amid COVID-19: Employee Health & Wellness

We are living in an unprecedented time. Amidst worries of family, health, and finances, employees are more uncertain than ever. Many worry about how this shift in work environment will impact their jobs. Yet we know, without people we cannot run, cannot thrive as a community or business. The positive that we see in dark times like these are the innovations that come from them. Companies that look at the world and say, how can I help? How can I make this better? In this episode of Innovative Solutions from SAP.iO Startups Help Businesses Succeed Amid COVID-19 we take a closer look at employee health and wellness featuring Jan Bruce, CEO of meQuilibrium, and CEO Toby Hervey of Bravely.

We can’t do it with out them. Employees keep the whole thing running. Right now, employees everywhere are more likely to be stressed as a result of the COVID-19 virus. Organizations looking to successfully navigate this time of uncertainty need a workforce made up of resilient and agile people. Jan Bruce, of meQuilibrium has started a company that provide tools to help employees build resiliency so that as we move forward we can better manage the pressures resulting from this global pandemic.

meQuilibrium is the wellbeing and performance platform that harnesses behavioral psychology, neuroscience, and AI to empower a workforce facing uncertain times. Their method utilizes a unique process to facilitate self-awareness and cognitive improvements. The approach also applies to teams and managers of teams and helps employees develop and then maintain a practice effective skillsets to drive performance and success. Making sure companies are coping and adapting during COVID-19, meQuilibrium is offering a free resource center with actionable tools to help at www.mequilibrium.com/coronavirus/

CEO Toby Hervey of Bravely talks about how the idea of Bravely came from an experience he had helping a friend through a difficult situation at work, where he joked that there was a need for HR Urgent care. We go to people in our personal lives to talk through issues at work because it might be difficult at times to do that in a work environment. This sparked the idea…what if you could have a conversation with a coach outside your workplace, talk in real time when you have something going on, and figure out a plan and a path forward?

Bravely is a technology in support of workplace health, connecting employees with professional coaches for confidential conversations in the moments they need it most, and helping HR leaders improve productivity and retention in turn. Using the platform, employees can book a session to address whatever they’re facing, from coworker conflict and performance-related stress to unfair treatment. Based on their background and the issue they’re facing; they’re matched with the coach best suited to provide them with actionable guidance and a game plan for going forward.

Bravely has seen a 150% increase in weekly session growth over the last seven weeks almost all about stress and working through COVID. In order to provide additional support, they are offering a free webinar about how to work best in this difficult time, providing actionable ways employees can thrive at work in the coming weeks while working remotely during a period of high stress. Bravely also offers a free professional coaching session to each employee who attends a webinar. Find out more at workbravely.com/blog/solutions/covid19-support/

We proudly support these startups so focused on employee wellbeing using technology to connect people to people. Be sure to check out how over 60 of our SAP.iO startups have stepped up to show their support during this time by creating COVID-19 specific offers to help make the world a better place.

Innovative Solutions from SAP.iO Startups Help Business Succeed Amid COVID-19: Customer Intimacy

As almost every aspect of life has shifted due to our global pandemic, businesses are taking a hard look at how this effects their business. At the end of the day companies need customers to grow their business and this is where we are focusing today, the customer. In this edition of Innovative Solutions from SAP.iO Startups Help Business Succeed Amid COVID-19, we look at how three amazing startups are enabling their customers through focus on awareness and customer intimacy, Ryan Leslie, Founder of SuperPhone on managing effectively the sales journey, and the fulfillment experience.

Nadia Masri, CEO and Founder of Perksy, is a born entrepreneur starting her first company at 17. Always interested in people, she studied marketing and enjoyed market research but thought the tools at the time where outdated. Asking the question, how do we make research relevant for the mobile generation, lead her to the idea for Perksy. Perksy’s consumer insights platform powers real-time research with everyday people through its immersive mobile app that rewards them for their responses. Brands today don’t have a month to sit around and wait for research results, because what their audience wants today may not be what they want tomorrow. Perksy enables any brand anywhere to get instant feedback from any audience at scale, be it in-store, by state or even a one-block radius.

Simply put, they help customers get close to their customers, a goal important to brands as they try to understand how needs have shifted due to COVID-19. Helping companies ask the right questions by understanding what you need to ask, is the art of customer intimacy. During this time, Perksy has seen engagement rate of upwards of 80% when compared to industry standards 2-5%, because of the experience that they designed. Catering to the consumer first is what makes the app successful.

Another important factor when engaging with the customer is evaluating the sales engagement process. Ryan Leslie, Founder of SuperPhone, was Looking for a better way to stay connected to people and in doing so created a tool with the most powerful inbox for any volume of text. SuperPhone is the first full-featured, automated, scalable inbox and CRM for managing any volume of text, giving brands a beautiful platform to drive commerce and manage relationships via SMS. SuperPhone gives brands and SMBs a beautiful platform to drive commerce and manage relationships on text. Exchange messages with any number of subscribers/customers at scale, use personalized data & insights to deliver messages that drive conversions, and achieve ROI that beats email by 10x, no coding required.

Recently one of the largest electronic stores in NYC had to close because of COVID-19 restrictions as they were considered a non-essential business. Looking for options that didn’t lay off their entire sales force, they gave the team the option to use SuperPhone. Selling from the comfort of their homes saw conversations between sales and customers increase 6,000% over the last 30 days. Keeping jobs alive working through the SuperPhone platform, they had the greatest month in their history to date. And even better yet, they saw an amazing 70% conversation to sales. Leslie says the best way to move forward is with authenticity, honesty, and transparency. Building a relationship where the customers do not feel as they are being sold to but have a partner that will help them with what they need, driving real value in relationships during the whole sales engagement process.

In the digital marketplace, the customers experience does not end when you receive payment. With the requirements to stay home during these past few months more and more customers are ordering online, making it increasingly vital to provide the best experience to online customers. And it is key to ensure the best service all the way through the fulfillment process

You can sell the best products in the world, but if it is not delivered correctly the customer experience is not fully realized. Tobias Buxhoidt Founder and CEO of parcelLab understands the benefits of focusing on the operations experience. parcelLab is a cloud solution for personalized post-checkout communication. parcelLab enables retailers and shippers to regain control over their customer experience post-checkout. Rather than handing over the customer engagement to DHL, FedEx, etc., parcelLab retains those touchpoints thereby closing the post-checkout gap in the customer journey and shopping experience. Retailers use parcelLab’s communication automation to provide a consistent brand experience, offer proactive customer care and maximize cross-selling.

Working with more than 450 brands, parcelLab’s customers have seen a significant reduction in customer inquiries. This solution is helping businesses build brand experience and offers a way to extend and continuing the relationship with the customer. In times of these uncertainties, it is more important than ever to over-communicate pro-actively with end customers to reduce customer inquiries and strengthen the revenue contribution of the post-sales channel. Therefore, parcelLab is offering free PoCs for a period of three months.

What we heard from these startups is that if you want the best for your customers, you listen to, focus on, and build trusting relationships. We proudly support these startups using their experiences and innovative technology to improve the customer experience. Be sure to check out how over 60 of our SAP.iO startups have stepped up to show their support during this time by creating COVID-19 specific offers to help make the world a better place.