SAP Politikbrief Startups Journel

The SAP Government Relations team publishes a quarterly info-journal (SAP Politikbrief) for German political and public administration representatives incl. important decision makers from German executive and legislative bodies, such as the Chancellery, Federal and Regional Ministries and Parliaments, municipalities as well as scientists and academics. The Q3 Politikbrief is dedicated to startups. The journal is published in German and English, online and in print.

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Sustainable Communities Fireside Chat

Ram Jambunathan, SVP and Managing Director of SAP.iO and Head of Corporate Strategy at SAP, participated in a fireside chat with Natasha Franck (Founder and CEO, EON) and Capital Factory Founder Joshua Baer, to discuss the value strategic partners like SAP can have for startups.

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HR Startup RallyBright Delivers Team-Building Playbook for the Modern Workforce

John Estafanous always wanted to be a lawyer, until he realized his overwhelming passions were for team building and technology. So he ended up back in the startup world, launching RallyBright.

As CEO of this cloud-based performance management startup, Estafanous believes that RallyBright could not come at a more opportune time.

“With far more diverse and often distributed workforces, companies need new tools to understand the collective work experience and its impact on team performance,” said Estafanous. “We are democratizing management consulting and coaching, giving managers transparency in how they manage and lead.”

Offering team building for workplaces roiled by change, the name of the platform is appropriately named: Resilient Teams.

”We measure resiliency by how well a team engages with diversity, sustains performance, rebounds from setbacks quickly, and learns and grows from the experience,” said Estafanous. “That’s how the highest-level teams perform. You see a problem, engage with it, and persist together through thick and thin.”

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Expanding our commitment to startups: Launching our First SAP.iO Foundry Program in Tel Aviv

Blog Written by Inbar Yacoby

With the immense potential in the entrepreneurial spirit of Europe and as part of SAP’s strategy, I’m very excited to share the news that SAP.iO recently announced the launch of its first accelerator program in Tel Aviv. SAP.iO Foundry Tel Aviv further expands SAP’s operations in Israel and reflects SAP’s commitment to the dynamic Israeli high-tech ecosystem where we have been active for more than two decades, currently employing approximately 800 developers in our R&D centers in Ra’anana and Tel Aviv.

We are excited to collaborate with amazing entrepreneurs and welcome the following startups to our SAP.iO Foundry Tel Aviv Fall program:

ARpalus

Predictive Analytics using Augmented Reality

ARpalus helps CPG and retailers understand and predict their shoppers’ preferences using an AR-simulation platform, measuring real behavioral patterns and delivering AI-optimized in-store execution.

EasySend

A no-code smart form builder that empowers enterprises to quickly convert paper forms and clunky PDFs into compliant eForms with deep-analytics in less than two weeks.

EasySend serves over forty enterprise customers, including leading financial institutions and insurance companies in the US, Germany, Japan and Israel. EasySend’s has been adopted by over 90% of the Israeli financial and insurance market and tier-1 US and German financial

GrowthSpace

Online coaching platform for enterprise employees.

GrowthSpace replaces traditional employee training, like workshops or seminars, with personalized 1X1 training. Using technology, GrowthSpace offers personalized training at the cost of traditional training. Users hold one-on-one video coaching sessions targeted at a specific professional challenge.

Outgage

A direct mail platform that bridges the gap between offline and online campaigns.

Outgage is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) marketing direct-mail platform that makes a connection between offline and online campaigns to create personalized brand experiences, for effective conversations between enterprises and their customers.

Silverback

Sales decisions hub for online retailers

Silverback is an AI-driven sales decision hub for online retailers, empowering them to offer the top-performing products at the most competitive price and optimize promotions to massively boost sales.

Supersmart

Building the world’s leading fast and easy self-checkout system using AI loss prevention technology.

Supersmart provides the world’s first scan-and-go solution with advanced loss prevention capabilities, enabling consumers to instantly check out their fully-loaded cart or basket and have a positive customer experience.

YOUTILIGENT

We Change the Way Vendors and Consumers Connect.

YOUTILIGENT uses machine learning and the Internet of Things to enable vendors and service providers to change the way they communicate with their appliances, through a new connected consumer solution.

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Plum raises $4.2 million USD, shifts focus beyond recruitment

Plum, the Waterloo-based startup that uses AI to help organizations hire and retain talent, has raised a $4.2 million ($5.57 million CAD) seed round.
This raise comes as Plum has shifted focus within the last year from talent acquisition to now offering tools to help companies understand and make predictions about their entire workforce. Plum is also focused on offering those services exclusively for large enterprise customers, rather small-and-medium-businesses (SMBs).

The round was led by Real Ventures with participation from BDC Capital’s Women in Technology Fund, and SAP’s venture fund SAP.iO. The seed funding brings Plum’s total funding to date to $6.1 million USD ($8 million CAD), with the previous financing coming from Plum’s angel investor round.

Plum works closely with SAP and integrates with SAP SuccessFactors, the company’s cloud-based human resource management system. MacGregor explained that the shift in focus was directly related to that partnership, and becoming a SAP.io portfolio company. She noted that SAP encouraged Plum to use its predictive AI to help address the needs of current, as well as incoming, employees.

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How to Build an Entrepreneurial University

“In particular, aligning on expectations from each stakeholder – academia, start-ups, and corporations – is a key to establishing trust and long-term success,” said Ram Jambunathan, Managing Director, SAP.iO.

Universities and industry have a lot to learn from one another – and partnerships between the two can be mutually beneficial while especially serving the university’s entrepreneurial students.

It can be difficult to get these partnerships right, but with a structured collaborative framework on the part of the university, an eye to common values, flexibility and smart programmes for budding start-ups, these partnerships can benefit all involved.

Here’s how universities can better partner with industry and become more entrepreneurial.

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Talent Data Platform Plum Raises $4.2 Million in Seed Funding

Plum company logo

Plum, a SaaS (software-as-a-service) firm specializing in providing enterprises with the data they need to quantify the potential of their employees, recently revealed that it had raised $4.2 Million in seed funding. Real Ventures, a Venture Capitalist company committed to future-focused startups led the funding for Plum. Adding in the funding it received in the Angel round, the total now moves up to $6.1Million.


The company made the announcement at SuccessConnect Las Vegas, the annual user conference from SAP SuccessFactors. The conference is aimed at helping HR professionals and Senior Business Leaders solve challenges relating to the workforce and predict future trends in order to take anticipatory actions. The other investors for Plum include SAP.iO and BDC Capital’s Women in Technology Venture Fund. Plum’s app integrates with SAP SuccessFactors Recruiting, which is a part of the HCM suite.

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The Fight Over “Employee Experience” is Finally Here

By: Stacia Garr, RedThread Research

The term “employee experience” has become increasingly popular in the last few years — so much so that we began an investigation into what it is and why it matters, which will publish in October. In the course of that research, we came across a wide range of perspectives on what it is, including from vendors like Medallia, Qualtrics, Service Now, and TI People.

But now, the heavy HR technology hitters are here to weigh in on the subject. Today, SAP SuccessFactors announced that their technology category, which we have long known as Human Capital Management, will now be known as Human Experience Management.

Along with this announcement comes a significant redesign of their user experience (UX) to offer a more integrated and holistic view of the information within the SAP SuccessFactors ecosystem in a more accessible format that intends to put individuals, teams, and organizations at the center of the experience. This new interface integrates into one location conversational AI, robotic process automation (RPA), machine learning, nudges, and predictions to try to get people higher quality information more efficiently. There is a lot we like in what the SuccessFactors team has done, and we applaud them for this holistic revamp of their product.

That said, the grand gesture of renaming the category begs us to take a closer look and to ask:

Is this, to borrow my friend and long-time SAPer Steve Hunt’s phrase, simply old wine in a new bottle? Maybe.
Employee experience, as we at RedThread understand it, is about two things:

  • Emotionally-laden events – These often include specific events in the employee life cycle such as the first day at work, a promotion, or returning from a job leave. During these events, employees are vulnerable because their expectations are high, which can suddenly impact their experience.
  • Commonplace exchanges – These are frequent interactions between employees, colleagues, and the organization. These interactions are often relationship-based and happen on an ongoing basis, instead of specific touchpoints, milestones, or moments that matter. During these commonplace exchanges, employees are not as vulnerable as during emotionally laden moments because their expectations are not as high. Yet, these exchanges have a cumulative effect on employee experience. The SAP SuccessFactors team certainly understands the value of emotionally laden events, also called “touchpoints” or “moments that matter”. However, we couldn’t fully tell how this significant user experience redesign will enable managers to better understand – and critically, to enable and improve – how employees experience those touchpoints or commonplace exchanges. It may be that the team is on the earlier parts of the journey or that we just need to see more. So why can’t we just call this new UX old wine in a shiny new bottle? Three reasons:
  1. The Qualtrics acquisition – The SAP SuccessFactors team seems to have a strong vision and appreciation of what Qualtrics, which has a focus on both employee and customer experience, can do (I sure hope so, for $8 billion). They just don’t seem to have turned that into a reality yet, which is reasonable given that the acquisition only closed in January. There are some early indications of their efforts and direction, though. For example, with the new UX, the SuccessFactors team has integrated simple one-question surveys (from Qualtrics) on the quality of manager check-ins into their continuous performance management solution. It sounds like this is just the beginning of what they have in mind.
  2. An ecosystem play – SAP SuccessFactors is making a big deal about it being an ecosystem player, meaning that they acknowledge that they don’t have a monopoly on great ideas and are trying to be better at playing well with others. As a result, the number of apps that can integrate with SuccessFactors has shot up from just 45 last year to more than 250 this year. The variety of these apps enable organizations to build a more customized employee experience that fits their unique needs.
  3. SAP.io – For those of you who don’t know it, SAP.io is SAP’s start-up accelerator, with a vision toward potentially integrating them into the SAP ecosystem. There are several start-ups within SAP.io that are focused on truly transforming the employee experience. One of them, Cultivate (which I have written about several times in other formats), shows significant promise at truly leveraging the existing data and delivering new insights to managers and employees that can help strengthen their relationships (which are so much at the heart of employee experience). We think some of these solutions will increasingly become integrated with this “Human Experience Management” platform.

In some ways, this announcement simply puts an exclamation point on the fact that we are moving away from an era of seeing people as cogs and more toward seeing them as unique humans, which is something we obviously strongly applaud.

From the perspective of being an HR technology market observer, though, we see this as something different. This announcement heralds the mainstreaming of the employee experience concept, which again, is a good thing. As SuccessFactors further refines how employee experience shows up in their platform, they will heighten awareness of the need to take an employee-first perspective.

However, this announcement does also mean that the fight over what “employee experience” really means – and what it should look like from a technological perspective – has really begun in earnest.

And what is a fight without a worthy opponent?

Look out for the good folks in Pleasanton to weigh in with their perspective very soon. I imagine announcements coming from this year’s Workday Rising event in October will carry at least a nugget or two on what they’re thinking.

5 milliards pour la French Tech

A l’occasion de l’ouverture de la conférence annuelle France Digitale Day, Emmanuel Macron a rappelé mardi soir ses ambitions pour la tech tricolore. Le chef de l’Etat a ainsi annoncé la mobilisation d’investisseurs à hauteur de cinq milliards dans les trois prochaines années pour accompagner le développement des startups françaises.

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Cracking the Code: From Startup to Scaleup in Enterprise Software with Ram Jambunathan (SAP.iO), Lonnie Rae Kurlander (Medal), Caitlin MacGregor (Plum), and Dimitri Sirota (BigID)

The startup journey is hard. Data shows that 70% of upstart tech companies fail, while only 1% of these startups will go on to gain unicorn status. Success in enterprise software often requires deep industry experience, strong networks, brutally-efficient execution, and a bit of luck. This panel brings together three successful SAP.iO Fund-backed enterprise startups for an open discussion on lessons learned, challenges of scaling, and why the right strategic investors or partners can be beneficial even at early-stages

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