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.

SAP to launch its first Asian startup incubator in Japan

SAP, one of the world’s biggest enterprise software companies, is about to launch its first startup accelerator in Asia and has picked Japan for its first foothold in the region. While many large corporations see uprising startups as threats, SAP is developing a unique model that works for customers, the startups and itself.

The Japan accelerator will start in July. The application process for the Japanese program has closed, and there are more than 50 applications, from which SAP will select six to eight startups for the program.

Ram Jambunathan, managing director at SAP.iO, the Germany-based technology company’s business unit focused on incubating innovation, recently talked to the Nikkei Asian Review about what startups they seek in Japan and SAP’s ambitious game plan in Asia.

Read More

SAP.iO: Two Years, Three Key Learnings

Once upon a time, the startup vs. big company story was like that of David and Goliath. The large company, comfortable in its market dominance, only to be upset by the agile, hungry, underdog startup who used its lowly position to have an ear closer to the ground of innovation. The managing Director of SAP.iO had the privilege of helping to direct a different story: that of the mouse and the lion realized how their unique strengths and sizes can complement each other.

Read More

U First Capital will invest with DowDuPont division in IoT and AI

U First Capital is bringing together big companies, venture capitalists, startups, universities, to to explore investments in internet of things (IoT) and artificial intelligence startups. U First Capital’s advisory board has venture capitalists and executives from Fortune 500 companies including SAP’s  Ram Jambunathan (managing director, SAP.io venture capital fund) and Manju Bansal (vice president, SAP).

Read More

SAP.iO No Boundaries to Fund and Incubate Over 200 Startups Led by Women and Minorities

WALLDORF — SAP SE (NYSE: SAP) today announced SAP.iO No Boundaries, an initiative to offer venture capital and incubation to underrepresented entrepreneurs.

As the first company in the business software industry to do so, SAP pledges to commit up to 40 percent of the investable capital in the SAP.iO Fund and scale the SAP.iO Foundries program with focus on inclusive entrepreneurship. The goal is to help at least 200 startups around the world within the next five years.

Read more

Inc. Magazine: Venture Fund from SAP Aims to Combat “Sexism, Racism, and Bro-ism”

On Sunday, January 20, software giant SAP became the latest company–and, it says, the only business software company–to target a share of its venture investments directly to women and underrepresented minorities.

Its fund, called SAP.iO, was launched in 2017 and invests in business-to-business startups that are a fit with SAP’s own technology platforms. With $35 million to invest, it’s already put about $4 million to work in 15 companies, 60 percent of which are in the U.S. Now, under an initiative called SAP.iO No Boundaries, the fund will invest 40 percent of its money in women and underrepresented minorities, says SAP chief strategy officer Deepak Krishnamurthy. He says the company will start ramping up its Asia-Pacific focus within the next year.

Andjaro raises 5M Euros

En bouclant un second tour de table auprès du fonds londonien Balderton Capital et de SAP.io, la start-up française Andjaro auparavant connue sous le nom de Ouiteam compte accélérer le déploiement de sa plate-forme de gestion des ressources multi-sites en Europe avec l’ouverture d’un nouveau bureau au Royaume-Uni. Avec cet apport, elle prévoit également d’intégrer des fonctions d’analyse prédictive à son offre.

Read More

Funding Female Founders Without Fanfare: SAP’s New Fund In San Francisco

As a female entrepreneur, I’m always on the lookout for companies that are helping women break through the proverbial glass ceiling. And, there is no shortage of public announcements, blog posts and tweets by many players in the startup scene proclaiming their commitment to bringing more female founders into the ecosystem. It’s been proven time and again that it makes business sense to invest in companies with female founders and leadership. But, in Silicon Valley, startups with female CEOs still win only about 3% of investment dollars….

Read Full Article on Forbes