Jung, weiß, männlich war gestern: Warum SAP bei der Startup-Förderung einen anderen Weg geht

Das Scheinwerferlicht fällt auf Rania Redas dunkelbraunes Haar, als sie die Bühne betritt, um vor knapp 400 Leuten ihr Augmented-Reality-Startup zu präsentieren. Ihr Herz rast. Auch nach 22 Jahren im Startup-Geschäft und mehr als 70 Pitches spürt sie noch den Adrenalinrausch, sagt sie. Die Zuschauer merken davon jedoch nichts: Jeder Satz sitzt perfekt, die Gesten sind routiniert. Die ägyptische Softwareentwicklerin ist eine von sechs Gründern, die an diesem Abend beim Abschlussevent von SAPs Startup-Förderprogramm „No Boundaries“ in Berlin auf der Bühne stehen.

SAP wagt mit dem Programm derzeit etwas, was in der Branche Pioniercharakter hat: eine inklusive Startup-Förderung. Mit „No Boundaries“ hat sich der deutsche Softwarekonzern das Ziel gesetzt, mindestens 40 Prozent seines Investmentfonds SAP.iO in Startups zu stecken, die von Angehörigen von Minderheiten geführt werden. Weltweit wolle man auf diese Weise bis 2025 mehr als 200 Startups an acht Standorten fördern.

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SAP.iO Foundry Berlin: Accelerator für innovative Startups

Stellen Sie sich doch unseren Lesern kurz vor

Ich bin Astrid Freier und leite seit Mai dieses Jahres den Accelerator SAP.iO Foundry  in Berlin. Es ist für mich ein Traumjob, da ich seit Jahren im Berliner Ökosystem zu Hause bin und hier nun wirkungsvoll die Brücke zwischen innovativen Startups, SAP und seinen Kunden schlagen kann. Mir macht es dabei sehr viel Spaß, mit diversen Teams zusammenarbeiten und meine verschiedenen Verbindungen aus Japan, USA etc. einzubringen.

Stellen Sie uns und unseren Lesern SAP.iO Foundry Berlin kurz vor!

Mit SAP.iO Foundry bieten wir innovativen Startups zweimal pro Jahr gründerfreundliche und equity-freie Programme. Kern dieser sind der Zugang zu unseren mehr als 400.000 Kunden und zu unseren Technologien, um die Lösungen der Startups mit SAP-Produkten zu verknüpfen. Uns ist dabei sehr wichtig, dass wir Gründerinnen und Gründer unterrepräsentierter Gruppen zu fördern. Gerade haben wir sechs großartige Startups im Programm, die von Frauen oder Angehörigen von Minderheiten mitgegründet wurden. Schon jetzt scouten wir für das nächste Programm nach innovativen Lösungen im Bereich Governance, Finance, Risk und Compliance, das am 30. September 2019 startet.

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Recruiters And Job Candidates Love Talking With This AI Assistant

As competition for top talent in every industry heats up, an award-winning AI assistant named Olivia is stepping in to help recruiters and job candidates speed past antiquated hiring norms. The brainchild of Aaron Matos, co-founder and CEO of Paradox, Olivia is entirely mobile and relies on text messaging to compress the timespan between screening qualified people and hiring dates. “The assistant’s job is to get work done, and that’s what Olivia focuses on,” said Matos. “This frees up the recruiter’s time for more valuable responsibilities, like talking face-to-face with qualified candidates.”

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SAP Kicks Off First SAP.iO Foundry in Asia

SAP announced the launch of the first SAP.iO Foundry in Asia: SAP.iO Foundry Tokyo. Over the next 12 weeks, SAP.iO Foundry Tokyo will accelerate five business-to-business (B2B) Japanese technology startups, providing them access to curated mentorship, exposure to SAP technology and application programmable interfaces (APIs), and opportunities to collaborate with SAP customers. Unique to SAP.iO Foundry Tokyo, the cohort also will have access to the newly opened SAP Leonardo Experience Center and Inspired.Lab.

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Software giant SAP launches the first SAP.iO Tokyo cohort to accelerate B2B Japanese tech startups

Back in January, we wrote about SAP when the German software giant and maker of enterprise software announced the launch of its SAP.iO No Boundaries initiative to fund and incubate startups led by women and minorities. Now SAP.io is expanding into Asia. SAP announced the launch of its first SAP.iO Foundry in Asia called SAP.iO Foundry Tokyo. Over the next 12 weeks, SAP.iO Foundry Tokyo will accelerate five business-to-business (B2B) Japanese technology startups, providing them access to curated mentorship, exposure to SAP® technology and application programmable interfaces (APIs), and opportunities to collaborate with SAP customers. Unique to SAP.iO Foundry Tokyo, the cohort also will have access to the newly opened SAP Leonardo Experience Center and Inspired.Lab.

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SAP Kicks Off First SAP.iO Foundry in Asia

The first SAP.iO Foundry in Asia has launched: SAP.iO Foundry Tokyo. Over the next 12 weeks, SAP.iO Foundry Tokyo will accelerate five business-to-business (B2B) Japanese technology startups, providing them access to curated mentorship, exposure to SAP technology and application programmable interfaces (APIs), and opportunities to collaborate with SAP customers. Unique to SAP.iO Foundry Tokyo, the cohort also will have access to the newly opened SAP Leonardo Experience Center and Inspired.Lab.

SAP.iO is SAP’s strategic business unit dedicating to driving startup innovation and new business models for SAP. SAP.iO Foundry Tokyo is the eighth location of SAP’s global network of top-tier startup programs, which include foundries and accelerators that enable startups to build innovative software to deliver value for SAP customers.

The first SAP.iO Foundry Tokyo cohort includes the following startups:

  • InstaVR: Provides a no-coding, web browser–based interactive authoring tool capable of creating, distributing and analyzing a 360-degree view of content.
  • ZENKIGEN: Provides an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered online platform that enables both live and recorded video interviews, while offering sentiment analysis of a candidate’s voice. This allows efficient recruitment and analysis of facial expressions for real-time interview coaching.
  • fuzed.link: Provides a B2B lead generation tool based on social media content that allows companies to build content-driven landing pages for social media traffic.
  • estie: Provides a real estate technology platform that offers interactive mapping. Using AI and machine learning algorithms, estie unleashes the potential of Big Data to simplify office search for tenants and analytics for institutional investors.
  • Innovia: Provides a software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution that helps manufacturers effectively develop and manage the skills of manufacturing workers to improve productivity and efficiency while ensuring International Standards Organization (ISO) compliance.

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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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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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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.