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.

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