H&M, Microsoft, PVH Corp Collaborate in Circular Fashion Initiative

H&M, Target, PVH Corp, Microsoft, Waste Management and others have collaborated on CircularID, an initiative designed to promote circularity by creating a new standard for communicating information about fashion products. The project would provide access to information such as materials, origin, authenticity, price, style and recycling instructions that stay with goods throughout their life.

CircularID™ is a Digital Identity standard that enables products to consistently communicate and share information about themselves essential for identification and management of the products and materials in the circular economy.

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Sneak Peak of Spring Cohort SAP.iO Foundry Paris

Following the exciting Kickoff in April, the 8  Retail and Customer Experience startups have been working tirelessly with mentors, SAP technical experts and SAP customers to deliver the intelligent enterprise. On July 9th 2019 SAP.iO Foundry Paris hosted its Demo Day at the department store « Le Printemps » – here’s a sneak peek of the program’s highlights.

AI-Based Career Mentoring for the Masses

Personalized career development is no longer a perk for the privileged few at the top. An intelligent mentoring app called Ellen matches mentors and mentees from all levels of the organization. Launched by San Francisco-based NextPlay.ai, the Ellen app is popular with a growing number of major companies worldwide, including in the U.S. and Asia. NextPlay.ai was among the HR startups that recently participated in the SAP.iO Foundry San Francisco.

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WeGift Closes £4 Million Investment as It Sets to Revolutionise Global Digital Rewards Industry

SAP.iO Fund and Unilever Ventures join Series A investment round as WeGift reports 500 per cent annual revenue growth. This investment round will help WeGift deliver on its vision of creating the world’s first real-time infrastructure for digital rewards and incentives. The funds will be used to further scale WeGift’s operations, as well as to support the company’s expansion to the US, and for further investment in its technology platform.

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AI-Based Career Mentoring For The Masses: When People Talk, Innovation Happens

Personalized career development is no longer a perk for the privileged few at the top. An intelligent mentoring app called Ellen is matching mentors and mentees from all levels of the organization. Launched by San Francisco-based NextPlay.ai, Ellen is popular with a growing number of major companies worldwide, including the United States and Asia. Unlike traditional manual mentorship tools, the machine learning algorithm generates better matches at a massive scale by factoring in numerous, individualized parameters.

For companies, mentoring can boost succession planning, diversity and inclusion efforts, and employee retention. Employees at one organization were 25 percent more likely to strongly recommend working at their company after six months of participating in the program. Another customer identified a multimillion-dollar business opportunity after Ellen linked a mentee in product development with the director of sales.

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SAP.iO Continues to Extend Resources and Investment to Startups

In 2017, SAP.iO, an open innovation model enabling visionary startups to use the power of SAP data, APIs, platform technologies and new business models, launched its two components, the SAP.iO Fund, and SAP.iO Foundries. The SAP.iO Fund invests in external, early-stage enterprise software startups that enable SAP customers to realize the new, highly incremental value to investments in SAP solutions. The SAP.iO Foundries are SAP’s global network of top-tier startup programs, including accelerators that enable startups to build innovative software that delivers value for SAP customers.

Since its launch, SAP.iO Fund and Foundries have driven early stage startup innovation helping its customers win in their markets. To date, SAP.iO has over 125 startups in more than 8 locations across 25+ industries. Last year, SAP.iO Foundry launched a demo event for nine female-led startups in New York.

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3 Things with Ram Jambunathan

1. Ram, SAP is a purpose-led organization. What is one thing you do, in life or business, that demonstrates this?

I am often asked why we are doing this.  Well, fundamental to everything we do is for our customers’ benefit, which is in turn reflected in business performance. It turns out that these groups of founders, such as women and minorities who have traditionally been ‘underinvested in’, consistently deliver high business returns, because they are building solutions that customers want.  It makes sense to prioritize and emphasize our efforts and investments to support these groups – they’re doing all the right things.  

As managing director of SAP.iO, I have global responsibility for supporting early-stage external startups through our unique mix of investments and incubation.  As part of this, I am extremely proud to be driving SAP.iO No Boundaries, our commitment to supporting underrepresented entrepreneurs in business to business tech, through which we have pledged to support more than 200 select, high potential B2B tech startups by 2023. 

Some critics ask if we have lowered the bar. My response to that is absolutely not! It simply means we need to search harder to find these entrepreneurs because they generally don’t have the access or the network to find funding or customer introductions that other groups typically enjoy.  So it’s not about giving special favors, but it’s about ensuring we are able to hear their voices. 

I personally know of the struggles and hurdles that women or other underrepresented entrepreneurs in tech face – in building a network, getting funding, attracting customers and being taken seriously.  I personally know women who were told ‘You don’t need an investor, you need a rich boyfriend’‘I can’t invest in someone if they are going to have a family at some point’, or even (believe it or not) ‘You won’t date an investor? Sorry, I can’t work with you’

As an entrepreneur and innovator, myself, this one is personal for me and we need to change the status quo!

2. Ram, who is the one person you consistently read and why? 

One person who I consistently read, and follow is Horace Dediu (@asymco), author of the asymco blog and an expert on how innovations are absorbed by markets, and why some platforms end up winning.   Horace combines a structured way of thinking with deep content expertise that results in foresight on how the future will evolve, including in areas such as mobile computing and the future of transport (e.g., micro-mobility, electric vehicles).  He then tests these predictions over time with a rigorous, data-driven approach, but also notes: “All great insights I’ve ever seen have come from n=1 [data points]”. 

I first discovered Horace in 2009 when I stumbled onto his initial blog post where he shared his predictions (starting from 2007) how Nokia / like competitors would evolve through 2014.  And, as the years evolved, his predictions came to be stunningly prescient.  He ended his first post in this way: 

“The key takeaway from this analysis is that the industry standard product cycle for an integrated, platform-based product is 5 to 8 years and if one competitor can achieve a 2 to 3 year cycle, then the more nimble competitor can “turn inside” the industry and, within two cycles, dominate it. Although smaller competitors are able to turn product faster, they are usually unable to sustain the platform heavy lifting (which takes an order of magnitude more effort/assets).” 

I think all of us at SAP can recognize parallels to what’s happening in enterprise software, and the importance for SAP to run nimble and simple. And I’ve been hooked since. 

3. What is one life lesson that you’d share with your younger self.

About Ram Jambunathan

Ram is the Managing Director of SAP.iO. In this role, Ram is responsible for the SAP.iO Fund, which makes direct investments into early stage startups and the SAP.iO Foundries, a global network of top-tier, primarily zero-equity ask startup acceleration programs for startups in areas strategic to SAP. Ram has been with SAP for 10 years, leading various strategic initiatives. Before joining SAP, Ram was consultant at McKinsey & Co., a founder of T-Networks (now part of Broadcom), and a Member of Technical Research & Development at Lucent Technologies. Ram has more than 5 patents and more than 10 peer-reviewed publications, and received his doctorate in Electrical Engineering from the University of Michigan Ann-Arbor. In his spare time, Ram practices freestyle rapping about SAP.iO.

Gentry Women in Tech Conference 2019

On June 20th, SAP.iO & SAP presented the Gentry Women in Tech Conference 2019, themed: INVESTING IN FUTURE LEADERS in Palo Alto. It brought together some of Silicon Valley’s leading VCs, C-Suite Executives, Founders, and Entrepreneurs. The conference spotlighted innovative and creative ways women in technology are forging their careers and fostering up-and-coming women in the tech space. The packed agenda was kicked off by Judith Williams, Head of People Sustainability and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer @SAP and emceed by Diane Dwyer, Emmy-Award winning journalist. Anita Sands, Board Member @Symantec, Service Now, and Pure Storage gave an impressive speech on what “being a women in tech” means and how important it is to ensure more equality by shaping a diverse future in tech. She also encouraged the audience to focus on the 5 “A”s (ASK, ADVERTISE, AMPLIFY, ADVOCATE and ASSERT), in other words and bottom line: “If you don’t ask you don’t get and who gets the credit does matter”.  

Next was a great fireside chat with Anna Brockway, President and Co-Founder @ Charish and an insightful panel with another group of inspiring leaders including Jennifer Pardini (Moderator), Sr. Editor @ Gentry, Keri Yen NG, former VP Quality/Regulatory/Clinical @Willow, Meredith Hoffer, Director of Marketing @Google Search, Robyn Sue Fisher, Founder & Chief Brrrista @ Smitten Ice Cream and Sarah Schaaf, Attorney and Founder @Headnote. Main takeaway was to “drop the rubber balls and keep on juggling the glass ones”.

The afternoon continued with a discussion on THE POWER OF NEGOTIATION with Rachel Forin, PhD, CEO @Terapore as well as Derek Blazensky, Partner @ The Pareto Group, followed by the BUILDING A PERSONAL BOARD panel moderated by Sherri Douville CEO @Medigram including Kara Egan, Principal @ Emergence Capital, Vanila Singh, MD, CMO @ The US Dept of HHS, and Elizabeth Vilardo, MD, CEO of Foundations @ Sutter Health Bay Area. THE MALE ALLIES panel including Steve Sordello, CFO @ LinkedIn, Don Heider, Executive Director @ Markkula Center for Applied Ethics @ Santa Clara University and Mylea Charvat, PhD Founder + CEO @ Savonix  moderated by Kristi Markkula Bowers, CEO @ Flyx Systems highlighted the importance of male allies and how to work hand in hand with men as mentors, collaborators and sponsors. 

The event concluded with a rooftop cocktail party after two fireside chats with Linda Yates, CEO Mach49 in conversation with Linda Grasso, Host @ SheSez Podcast, editor In Chief @ Ventura Boulevard and Michelle Zatlyn, COO + Co-Founder @ Cloudfare in conversation with Judith Williams, Head of People Sustainability and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer @SAP. The conference celebrated the second annual gentry women in tech issue brimming with carefully curated interviews with some of technology’s most fascinating rising stars.

Ready, Set, Go: The ‘What’ and ‘Who’ of An SAP.iO Foundry Program

Originally published on Medium by Dima Durah

A typical SAP.iO Foundry program spans over 12-weeks and consists of one-on-one mentor meetings, focused workshops, executive visits, SAP customer visits, weekly status-update sessions, individual IT support and technical integration sessions (we have a dedicated expert on the team), individual business development sessions (we also have a dedicated BD expert on the team), a sprinkling of community events…all leading to Demo Day and it’s legendary after-party.

With SAP.iO Foundry, our mission is to help startups build “with” SAP, via integrations or APIs and provide startups with unprecedented exposure to SAP’s +400K customers. It’s no secret that Inclusive Entrepreneurship is high up on SAP.iO Fund and Foundries list of priorities and a big part of our mission. We want to empower women and minority entrepreneurs to build successful businesses around SAP.

We put together the #Noboundaries initiative to execute programs that can have real impact. After 3 months of planning and doubling our team size in EMEA, we’re excited to officially kickoff our Women and Diverse-led Tech Enterprise Acceleration program on Tuesday, 28 May in Berlin.

Below is an overview of what is planned for the next 12-weeks at the #FoundryBerlin.

More and more workshops, talks, and visits keep being added to the program. Our basic “programing” blocks are split into 4 segments each focused on a fundamental piece of a startup’s acceleration journey with SAP.

Are you ready for the next 12-weeks?

An overview of what the #FoundryBerlin team planned for the summer cohort

Behind this audacious plan, is a small yet effective team (small input, outsized output). The familiar faces/suspects are now joined by two new members — who have been working tirelessly to build a program that executes 1. on SAP.iO’s overarching mission and 2. adds real-value to the startups’ journey with and beyond SAP.

Our two latest additions to the team on the ground in Berlin are: Astrid Freier,SAP.iO Foundry Berlin Head and Miroslav Dimitrov, Foundry Berlin Program Manager.

We sat down with Astrid and Miroslav to find out their motives behind joining the #iOfamily and what they’re bringing to the table in terms of expertise, skills, and hidden talents.

Miroslav Dimitrov and Astrid Freier

Q. What made you decide to join the SAP.iO Foundry Berlin?

Astrid: I am a believer in the SAP.iO Foundry concept because it is a frontrunner for forward looking business models. The combination of: fund, accelerator, and the expertise of SAP and its customers with the added emphasis on “no boundaries initiative is very unique.

Miroslav:What first captured me was the mission — helping innovators inside and outside of SAP build products, find customers and change industries. It is very rare to have the opportunity to work with industry leading companies as well as small and innovative startups. Then, I got to meet the team behind this big initiative and I immediately know that I had to be part of it. Frankly, I cannot think of a better job that satisfies all my interests and at the same time gives me the opportunity to wear so many different hats.

Q. How can your unique background, set of skills, expertise, or network help the Foundries’ startups?

Astrid: I am excited to bring in my holistic view of business model and tech and financing/VC to help scale sustainable businesses.

Miroslav: My experience spans from being a consultant, helping our customers implement SAP software, to being part of the Presales Business Architect team, dedicated to advise our strategic customers in Eastern Europe with their digital transformation roadmaps and strategies. Therefore, I believe I can help them with b2b sales, business case development and GTM strategy.

Q. What is a SaaS tech trend/breakthrough you’re most excited about?

Astrid: There is still a lot of unlocked potential in AI and ML, especially when it comes to strategic customer value. If we can prove how much value was provided this will help our clients’ organizations align their marketing, sales, customer success, and product initiatives around these measurers to really drive customer value creation.

Miroslav: Not a SaaS trend, but it is tech trend I am most excited aboutQuantum computing. Although in its very early stages, I believe that this emerging technology would bring incremental change to a range of industries like automotive, chemicals, pharmaceutical and financial services, to name a few. In the long run, it could make the fastest supercomputer today look like an abacus. However, there is still a (very) long way to go.

Q. Who is your role model or #lifegoals?

Astrid: Ada Lovelance Byron, a mathematician of 19th century, who worked on Charloes Babbage’s proposed mechanical general-purpose computer.

Miroslav: Fictional one — James Bond (Daniel Craig), If you think about it, he operates in startup mode — he always ends up doing 90% of the work alone and he does it in style.

Q. Name a book that influenced you beyond words?

Astrid: It is Marc Uwe Kling’s Quality Landbecause he tries to think about our digital society in a futuristic way.

Miroslav: Skin in the game. I like how Nassim Taleb is arguing for/ ‘pro’ the idea that decision makers in all fields should be more accountable of the consequences of their actions — both positive and negative.

***

Prior to joining SAP.iO:

Astrid established and managed the digital ecosystem for Deutsche Bank across Germany’s major startup hubs. In addition to her corporate career, Astrid is also a founder focusing on AI and ML regulatory solutions for banking and insurance industries.

Miroslav is joining us from our field organization unit. He spent 3 years at SAP Bulgaria advising our strategic customers on their transformation projects. Before his stint at SAP, Miroslav was an SAP consultant team lead and project manager working on international implementations across Europe.

Mission driven employee engagement — CariClub is using tech to bridge the gap between talent and nonprofits

Moving to the US when he was just twelve years old, from Saint Lucia, he worked hard through school and college, landing a coveted job on Wall Street. But for Rhoden, he was yet to find his true calling. “While working for one of the largest banks in the world was rewarding, it felt like something was missing, and I tried to fill the void by working harder, but it wasn’t the answer.”

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