How AI And “Gaze Control” Will Help Businesses Reopen Safely

Recent projections by the US federal government estimate that there will be 200,000 new coronavirus cases in the US  by June 1. At the same time, governments around the world are grappling with the complexities of safely reopening businesses, schools and other public institutions.

Technology companies are rushing into that gap with software aimed at keeping people safe, while citizens navigate a patchwork approach to easing shelter-in-place orders. One well-known approach is the use of contact-tracing apps on smart phones created by tech and telecom companies. These apps alert people if they’ve been in close proximity to an infected person.

But other technologies can help. When businesses and other institutions open up, they will need to do a lot of things differently. A new technology called “gaze control” allows people to avoid touching surfaces, like ATM display screens or subway-fare vending machine, that may be potentially contaminated with the virus. Stephan Odörfer is founder and managing director of Munich-based 4tiitoo (pronounced “42”), a startup that creates gaze control technology. Put simply, this technology lets people use their eyes to interact with computers, replacing the need to touch a keyboard, mouse or screen.

Moreover, 4tiitoo has combined gaze control with AI to analyze patterns in users’ eye movement and predict what people want to do next within a particular computer screen or application. “Gaze control allows you to do two things. It controls the computer and we can use it to get an understanding of what the user actually wants to do, “said Odörfer. “By understanding intention, we can proactively support him.”

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New product displays COVID-19 stats on airline, hotel and OTA websites

Bacarai – one of PhocusWire’s Hot 25 Startups for 2020 – has developed a new API service that connects COVID-19 statistics to airport codes and hotel locations so that airlines, hotels and online travel agencies can display the data within their shopping workflows.

SmartCheck provides statistics such as total cases, new cases by day, total tests, number of people recovered and number of deaths, with data pulled from publicly available sources around the world. Airlines, hotels and OTAs can access SmartCheck via an API and then customize how the information is displayed on their sites – for example showing the trend of new cases on a line graph.

Bacarai is part of the current SAP.iO Foundry San Francisco, a B2B travel technology accelerator, and Totten says some of the SAP Concur teams are now looking at SmartCheck.

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SAP.iO Foundry Paris : « Le programme pour les start-up HR Tech est adapté avec le Covid-19 »

Sébastien Gibier, directeur de SAP.iO Foundry Paris, présente la sélection des huit start-up de la promotion Future Of Work. L’organisation a été bousculée avec la crise.

Après avoir traité la chaîne d’approvisionnement, le commerce de détail et les technologies vertes, SAP.iO Foundry Paris aborde l’angle HR Tech. Le programme d’accélération de start-up de l’éditeur de logiciels pour les entreprises (et leader européen), qui avait démarré il y a trois ans, a intégré une sélection de huit start-up (six sont françaises) dans sa promotion “Future of Work“. Sous la forme d’un programme d’accompagnement, elles vont passer plusieurs semaines à développer leurs visions business et leurs fonctions technologiques sous la houlette de SAP. Cette saison a trois particularités (deux officielles et une totalement imprévue) :
– les solutions des jeunes pousses retenues devaient compléter fonctionnellement SAP SuccessFactors, la solution RH de l’éditeur (125 millions d’utilisateurs à travers le monde) ;
– 5 partenaires clients deviennent « coproducteurs » du programme SAP.iO Foundry, c’est-à-dire qu’ils viennent chercher des start-up qui correspondent à leurs propres besoins ;
– La crise Covid-19 est survenue lors de l’activation de la promotion “Future of Work“. Ce qui a nécessité quelques adaptations dans le programme supervisé par Sébastien Gibier, directeur de SAP.iO Foundry Paris. Dans un entretien, il précise les implications de cette crise dans la feuille de route du programme initialement établie.

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What COVID-19 means for a travel startup focused on sustainability

One perhaps unintended consequence of travel coming to a near halt due to COVID-19 is the return of clearer skies and fewer carbon emissions.

For the startup Jet-Set Offset, which is a donation-based carbon offsetting tool for air travel, this is temporary good news on the sustainability front, but the startup is now reevaluating how it can help its partners amid the travel slowdown.

With Jet-Set Offset, named one of PhocusWire’s Hot 25 Startups for 2020, travelers can offset carbon emissions from flying by automatically donating one cent per mile to environmental organizations working to reduce carbon emissions.

However, “as travel has slowed or even ceased, real-time mileage-based donations to our partners are also down,” says the company’s co-founder and CEO, Anna Ford.

“These nonprofits need our help now more than ever to continue their planet-saving projects,” she says, and to that end, Jet-Set Offset has pivoted its messaging and launched a month-long campaign to celebrate April as Earth Month and allow travelers to offset carbon emissions from past flights.

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Simple Checklists to Prepare for COVID-19 Now Free Through Ruum by SAP

By: Stefan Ritter Co-Founder & Head of Product at Ruum by SAP

No matter where you are in the world, times are chaotic. It can feel easy to be consumed by the latest headlines about the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic because information is moving and changing rapidly. In light of these circumstances, it’s important that everyone has a plan.

Whether you own a small business, run a nonprofit, are head of your household, or are just looking to keep yourself healthy, we believe everyone is important. We want to be a partner in enabling you to run your day-to-day operations and, therefore, have created two, free templates on Ruum by SAP that outline an interactive checklist for managing the risks of COVID-19. These custom templates were built as a solution for teams and individuals who want to have a plan in place, but don’t necessarily have the time or resources to build one from scratch.

We want to make it easy for you. Here are COVID-19 planning checklists for Ruum users:

All of the information in these checklists was based on the latest information from the CDC and was not created by SAP. We also recommend reviewing the latest CDC guidelines for businesses or the latest CDC guidelines for households.

Ruum is a lightweight tool that helps users collaborate in real-time. Within Ruum, users create a living document where they can distribute tasks, set deadlines, input comments, and provide feedback simultaneously. It reduces the time spent on administrative and coordination work, allowing teams, families, or individuals to focus more on tasks that really matter. Ruum by SAP operates within the New Ventures and Technologies unit at SAP, which is on a mission to future-proof SAP and our customers’ businesses through technology innovation and product incubation.

Our hope is that having a plan and checklist in place can eliminate some of the uncertainty and fear surrounding this pandemic. For us, it’s essential to put our employees, customers, and public health first in this challenging time.

About New Ventures & Technologies

To future-proof SAP and our customers’ businesses, SAP the New Ventures and Technologies (NVT) organization drives transformative innovation through technology innovation and product incubation. NVT identifies commercial opportunities in the SAP ecosystem, explores and pioneers the business impact of emerging technologies and makes them enterprise-ready. For more information, visit our website.

SAP’s Newest Venture Investment Protects Users’ Identities

In the fast-paced times of digitization, the question of how companies are protecting our digital identities becomes increasingly significant. Almost every online service requires personalized data to identify users. Thus, while surfing on the internet we leave our marks by granting access to our data without the transparency of understanding where that data is being stored, and who can access it.

Many websites and online services claim that data is protected because each individual user must enter a login id and password. But for users, creating and remembering a personalized password for every site is cumbersome and often leads to weak passwords that are used across many platforms. This process is broken because it’s not only inconvenient but also can expose users to data breaches.

Two SAP employees, Dor Shany and Rooly Eliezerov, sought to solve this problem by building a web application, OwnID by SAP, to safeguard personal data on various platforms. Their venture is in the process of creating decentralized, portable identities that users can take with them wherever they go online through their phone. The controls implemented by OwnID will ensure that the user maintains and owns all their own information. After creating a basic profile, users can use their digital identity instead of a username and password on every website that supports the solution, just by scanning a QR code.

“A user will create an identity with basic profile information and will then be able to use it to log in to any website or app that supports this option by scanning a QR code,” Shany said.

Dor Shany, co-founder of OwnID by SAP, states: “Our personal information can feel incredibly dispersed among all of the websites we use every day. We want to give people the freedom to keep their personal information personal.”

The idea of this came to Rooly’s mind while researching for his book “The Digital Identity Crisis” where he came across the concept of self-sovereign identity (SSI) — a term which describes the ability to hold and control your identity-related features. The project lays the foundation for further advancement, eventually leading to data autonomy for end-users and various application scenarios in every sector.

OwnID was chosen as one of the 2019 winners of SAP’s internal accelerator program, resulting in the team joining the SAP.iO Venture Studio to focus on the venture full time. The Venture Studio is designed to invest in small, entrepreneurial SAP teams to build and launch products that create a meaningful impact for business and society. Financial support and business expertise help the candidates go from the articulation of their initial idea to its successful commercialization.

Both founders bring long-term experience in the field of identity management. In fact Rooly founded the SAP acquired customer data cloud Gigya (now SAP Customer Data Cloud) and Dor held leadership roles at Gigya for over a decade.

The team has big plans for OwnID’s integration into SAP. Through partnership with SAP Consumer Data Cloud, OwnID has the potential to serve a huge network of websites and log-in screens which would advance the security and user experience for millions of users. From a long-term perspective, the concept of identity management could also help solve bureaucratic problems requiring proof of credentials in many different contexts, e.g. offering a way of providing identification for people who are not in possession of haptic identity documents such as refugees.

The team joins other incubated ventures within the SAP.iO Venture Studio including Ruum by SAPBrilliant Hire by SAPSpotlight by SAP, and the newly appended startup GreenToken by SAP.

Visit our SAP.iO website for updates and connect with us on social media (LinkedIn and Twitter).

“Have a good understanding of your strengths.” with Penny Bauder & Vanessa Liu

Vanessa Liu is the VP of SAP.iO, a global organization responsible for building an ecosystem of startups around SAP. In her role, she is overseeing SAP.iO’s North American Foundries in New York and San Francisco, including programs devoted to women and diverse-led B2B enterprise tech companies.

Vanessa was most recently the Chief Operating Officer at Trigger Media Group, a $22MM digital media incubator. In her role, she co-founded, incubated and oversaw business operations and strategic initiatives of Trigger’s portfolio companies: InsideHook (the essential digital lifestyle guide for adventurous and discerning men) and Fevo (SaaS technology bringing friends and networks together for group experiences at live events). Vanessa currently serves as a board observer of Fevo and is an advisor or investor in start-ups including Bounce Exchange, Grata Data, GroundSignal, Knotel and Narrativ. She mentors female founders through Declare’s Lead Program.

Previously, Vanessa was an Associate Partner at McKinsey & Company’s Media and Entertainment Practice, based in Amsterdam, London and New York. In this role, Vanessa was responsible for serving clients in a variety of media and high tech sectors including online advertising, magazine and newspaper publishing, television, video content production, and information services, particularly on issues of digital media strategy, emerging market strategy, growth and innovation. Vanessa graduated magna cum laude with an AB in psychology from Harvard University and cum laude with a JD from Harvard Law School. She was a Fulbright Scholar at Universiteit Utrecht in the Netherlands where she conducted independent research on the International War Crimes Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and the International Court of Justice. She serves as Vice President, College Alumni Affairs, of the Harvard Alumni Association.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Ihave always been inspired by innovation — from the age of 12 through my senior year in college, I actually wanted to be an astronaut and spent much of my adolescent life learning about science and innovation that way. In college, I switched gears and decided to go into law, doing research on the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and going to law school. However, I realized very quickly that addressing atrocities years after the fact wasn’t satisfying. I wanted to be a part of the solution in terms of economic development and to prevent these atrocities from ever happening in the first place. So, I started working for McKinsey and went into management consulting. On my third project, I was staffed on a digital media project. I was tasked with helping my client launch a new free internet service provider for the Dutch market. We had 6 months to create a business plan and to launch the service. I was immediately hooked. While at McKinsey, I worked with media companies — newspaper and magazine publishers, broadcasters, information services companies — where I crafted their digital plans and launched new businesses for them.

After 8 years though, I realized I had outgrown my time at McKinsey. I didn’t want to give businesses back to clients to run; I wanted to continue running them myself. At a time when many would regard as least optimal to start a business — I had just moved back to NYC from London and delivered my second child — I teamed up with a business partner and we launched a venture startup studio, called Trigger Media. Over the course of 6 years, we co-founded two portfolio companies — InsideHook, a digital lifestyle publication for men 35–50; and Fevo, a platform that enables groups to purchase experiences together. As the co-founder and interim CEO of both companies at various moments, I realized firsthand how much more difficult it is for women and diverse entrepreneurs to get funding — not because they don’t have the ideas, but often because they don’t have access to the right networks. I joined SAP.iO because I wanted the opportunity to help other underrepresented founders gain the access they deserve to help propel their businesses forward.

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Is Fashion Really Getting More Sustainable?

It’s now boast-worthy to participate in sharing-economy.

Solutions must be more than just green, which is why Stephanie Benedetto talks up financial and inventory-management benefits as she makes the case for Queen of Raw, a technology platform she cofounded in 2018 to connect people and brands with leftover fabrics—an estimated 15 percent of every production run. Queen of Raw caters to home sewers as well as big fashion companies, and Benedetto estimates that dead-stock textiles could become a $120 billion business. “It’s insane, the volume that is out there,” says Benedetto, who has listed fabrics up to a million yards long, or as short as a few yards, for a base of over 130,000 clients. “Never doubt you can change the world,” she says. “We will.”

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29 tech startup founders and CEOs share their fears and strategies for navigating the coronavirus crash: ‘We are now wartime CEOs’

Min Chen, CEO of Silicon Valley data analytics startup Wisy, was born in China but grew up in Panama, where she lived through the turmoil of the 1989 US invasion. She and her co-founders are “wartime survivors” who endured the violence and the disruption of that period.

“That experience, somehow, has prepared us for this crisis,” she told Business Insider. “We come from places where there was nothing, even in times of prosperity.”

Like other startups, Wisy’s biggest challenge right now is cash flow, but Chen and her cofounders hope keep their team together. While other startups have begun shedding jobs, they’re taking a different approach. “Instead of laying people off, we decided to all take pay cuts,” she said.

That adaptation feels critical: “Companies that die are those that couldn’t adapt,” she said. 

In Wisy’s case, new opportunities have come up because of the crisis. An international organization that wants to use Wisy’s technology for tracing infections and anticipating outbreaks has invited it to apply for grants.

“Even if we don’t have the grant, we would help,” she said.

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Building Employee Resilience During A Pandemic

Scientific data is proving to be the bedrock of workforce resiliency in a world reeling from COVID-19. Commonly misperceived as an inborn trait, resilience is actually a tangible skill that Massachusetts-based meQuilibrium is building in employees at Fortune 1000 companies worldwide.

“Every leader is talking about adaptive capacity, resilience, and agility,” said Jan Bruce, co-founder and CEO of meQuilibrium. “We are democratizing executive coaching, helping people manage the stress and burnout associated with constant transformation and rapid change.”

Managing stress with resilience

As the pandemic spreads with head-spinning speed, meQuilibrium’s interactive cloud-based platform appears ideally matched to what’s become a rightfully panicked workforce. Tracking steadily rising stress levels of employees on the meQuilibrium platform, the company sped up product updates to deliver refreshed daily tips and tool kits for managing anxiety, uncertainty, and isolation.

The startup’s worldwide customers cut across industries like pharmaceuticals, finance, telecommunications, packaged goods, and automotive. Many organizations have reported measurable benefits to date. One company reduced high anxiety by 36 percent, high stress by 27 percent, and depression by 24 percent in its large employee population.

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Why Cartier Is Excited About These 3 Brilliant Female Startups

Taking an idea and turning it into a full-fledged company is no easy feat, to say the least. Nobody can do it on their own, so access to support (or lack thereof) can make or break a business. That’s why Cartier has set out to assist female entrepreneurs in their quest to make positive impacts on the world via the Cartier Women’s Initiative, which will be awarding over $1 million in funding this year. Cartier just announced the 21 finalists for 2020, and they all have brilliant ideas to share.

Among the 21 finalists are three exceptional women from North America. First up is Stephanie Benedetto of New York City, who “buys and sells unused textiles, via the Queen of Raw marketplace, keeping them out of landfills and making the world a less wasteful place,” per a statement. The fashion industry could certainly use more help in becoming more sustainable, and Benedetto could easily become a driving force.

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Innovative Solutions from SAP.iO Startups Help Businesses Succeed Amid COVID-19

The exponential spread of the new novel coronavirus — what some might consider a “black swan” event — has sent tremendous shock waves to every foundational socioeconomic system serving humanity as we know it.

Unlike many other disruptions we have weathered through in the past, this is an existential threat to the way we work, live, and play. Every well-crafted business strategy playbook has been temporarily paused as leaders respond to the urgency of the moment, which is to take care of the health and well-being of their people.

As the world pivots quickly to the new normal, a completely different culture of work is evolving. Social distancing is the new anti-viral, requiring each one of us to do our part in preventing further spread. And with social distancing, remote work is the new norm.

As people come to terms with this new reality in their work and life environments, we are likely to drive an accelerated adoption of entirely new behaviors and technologies, many of which will be here to stay post-crisis.

Not too long ago, in 2018, The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated only 29 percent of American wage and salary workers could work at home, while the Organization for Economic Co-operation & Development (OECD) estimated six out of 10 people in the EU had not worked from home. Enterprises that may have emphasized employee co-location as a driver of success in the past are now left to quickly figure out how to manage business continuity, employee engagement and health, and customer success. Despite basic productivity tools such as Slack and Teams or video collaboration tools such as Zoom, enterprises worldwide are still struggling in how to navigate the “new normal.”

At SAP, our purpose is to help the world run better and improve people’s lives. Now more than ever before, we know we need to find solutions together, as part of a global purpose network, an ecosystem of customers, partners, influencers, non-profits, government institutions, and agencies.

The worst of times calls for the best in all of us. In that spirit, we are incredibly privileged to collaborate with an ecosystem of business-to-business (B2B) startup partners through the SAP.iO program. By virtue of being digitally native, managing a distributed workforce has always been their de-facto way of conducting business.

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Facing Covid-19: Net practical insights and learnings from select SaaS B2B ceos and executives

Adapt fast, find hidden opportunities and show crisis leadership

Corona virus, or Covid 19, can now almost undeniably be classified as a ‘black swan’. Many supply chains have paused production, stock markets have been crashing, and many companies find or will find themselves in delicate situations.

Nowhere is this situation felt more acutely than in small businesses and in the startup world. Organizations that had based their business plans on the back of an +10-year bull run have seen their outlooks imperiled as their customers lack near-term visibility, and even viability.

The SAP.iO Fund has the privilege of working with leading B2B SaaS startups and a few select leaders, ceos and executives of these organizations were recently asked about how they are coping with the current environment and planning for the future. Here is a net net summary of their insightful recommendations, summarized in five key categories: Sales and customers, Value proposition and business model, Product and processes, People and Finances.

Overall, their recommendations were to:

  • Adapt fast and fix the organizations to align to new market dynamics.
  • Find hidden opportunities in the new market environment.
  • Show crisis leadership at a time of destructive creation.

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ClearMetal Offers CDX Platform Free of Charge to Suppliers of Healthcare Products

Goal is to Get Needed Medical Supplies Where They Need to Be Faster During Coronavirus-Related Supply Chain Challenges

ClearMetal, a leader in Continuous Delivery Experience (CDX) for Supply Chain and Logistics solutions, announced today that it is offering the power of its CDX platform free of charge for the duration of the pandemic crisis to companies tasked with shipping needed healthcare and medical supplies to combat COVID-19. ClearMetal is committed to onboarding companies as quickly as possible so immediate decisions can be made and solutions implemented based on real-time data. To ensure critical healthcare and medical materials are prioritized, companies must qualify for the free offering based on shipment volume.*

“It’s important that all of us, companies and individuals, come together to contribute what we can to help mitigate the challenges this pandemic presents,” said Adam Compain, ClearMetal CEO. “The reason the shipping industry is so affected when ‘black swan’ events such as the coronavirus occurs is that most supply chains are static and not built to dynamically respond nor react quickly to situations like these. Companies tasked with getting critical healthcare materials where they need to go require a better solution and it’s our duty to let them use it for free during this crisis.”

ClearMetal’s data shows that there has been a 20-30 percent increase in delays, 10-15 percent increase in dwell times and 50 to 100 percent increase in rolls since January. The impact of logistics challenges that affect the speed of shipments for essential items in the fight vs COVID-19 brings an enormous financial impact to companies in billions of dollars of lost sales, written-off inventory and more.

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