SAP Kicks Off SAP.iO Foundry San Francisco for “Future of Work” Startups

SAP SE (NYSE: SAP) earlier last week kicked off its virtual accelerator program focused on human resources (HR) technology and the future of work, at SAP.iO Foundry San Francisco. The program is offered in conjunction with SAP SuccessFactors solutions, providing world-leading cloud-based, people-focused HR technology.

Over the next 12 weeks, SAP will accelerate six early-stage HR technology startups that are focused on recruiting, talent and team management, well-being and collaborative learning for human resources.

The selected startups will have access to curated mentorship from SAP executives, exposure to SAP technology and application programming interfaces (APIs), and opportunities to collaborate with SAP customers. The program will culminate at the SAP.iO Cohort Demo Day in December 2020.

“With digital transformation changing the way people work in real time, and a much greater number of employees performing their jobs remotely, we see a trend with our customers to embrace new technologies to ensure employees have the necessary tools to succeed and remain attractive for their employers,” SAP SuccessFactors President Jill Popelka said. “We are looking forward to working with these companies to provide our customers with their innovations as part of the SAP SuccessFactors ecosystem.”

With five out of six startups founded or led by underrepresented entrepreneurs, SAP.iO continues to follow its 2019 SAP.iO No Boundaries initiative and fulfil its commitment to accelerate more than 200 startups around the world.

The SAP.iO Foundry San Francisco program includes the following startups:

  • Cloverleaf uses behavioral tools to provide ongoing insights into team effectiveness and provide customized, contextually relevant coaching to improve performance.
  • Crosschq has pioneered Human Intelligence Hiring, the next essential cloud software category, which includes reference checking and robust talent analytics to help build diverse teams.
  • Cuéntame is the first online mental health platform for Spanish-speaking employees. Cuéntame provides employees access to digital content, meditations and video therapy with certified psychologists, promoting daily mental health care and emotional well-being.
  • Knockri is an AI skills–based assessment tool that reduces bias and scientifically shortlists top-performing candidates to interview.
  • Landit is a personalized career pathing technology that increases the success and engagement of women and diverse groups in the workplace. The platform offers a turnkey solution to enable companies to attract, develop and retain their talent.
  • Mathison is a diversity talent marketplace that uses AI to help employers find candidates for their most important roles. It centralizes the talent network of hundreds of organizations serving underrepresented communities.

How Olivia by Paradox Improved BOK’s Recruiting Process

In a bid to modernise their recruiting process, BOK Financial needed to find a solution that could easily integrate with its existing SAP SuccessFactors tech stack. According to Maciel, the company needed an intelligent solution that could automate administrative work so that its recruiters—what BOK Financial refers to as talent advisors—can focus their time and efforts on more strategic, value-adding work.

The financial institution was experiencing several challenges within its recruitment process, namely:

  • manual administrative tasks were weighing recruiters down
  • candidate expectations were growing—the company needed to match these expectations to keep up with demands
  • candidate foot traffic was increasing and the company felt that its talent advisory team’s ability to keep up was lacking

More importantly, BOK Financial needed a flexible solution. Maciel said it was important for them that the solution can be customised to the way they do business and the way they acquire talent. The company wanted a solution that aligned with its relationship-based business model. Maciel explained,

“We were focused on shifting our time from transactional recruiting to what we call talent advisory. So with the increased traffic on our career site, as well as in our recruiter inboxes, we needed a seamless candidate experience that really aligned with the rest of our business model. The focus for us was engagement through real-time communications.”

Through the SAP App Center, the company found the solution they required. With Olivia by Paradox, Maciel said that BOK Financial was able to transform candidate experience and engagement. She said that the SAP-validated solution enabled them to mirror the positive experience BOK Financial’s customers had with the experiences of its candidates:

“Olivia really helped us transform the way talent explored our jobs, the way they engage with us—providing the same experience that our consumers have come to expect.”

Another positive outcome the company was able to achieve was the increase in the completion rates of candidates who come into BOK Financial’s career site and converse with Olivia—up to 10% according to Maciel. 

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Building an Ecosystem of Innovation for HR Leaders with SAP.iO

With so many changes in the workplace, companies need access to solutions that enable them to be flexible and innovative. Through SAP.iO Fund and SAP.iO Foundries, SAP helps ensure that customers can easily access the latest technologies.

The SAP.iO Foundries program is the company’s global network of equity-free startup accelerators that help promising startups integrate with SAP solutions and accelerate their entry into a curated, inclusive ecosystem whose offerings can be easily accessed and deployed by SAP customers.

This fall, the SAP.iO San Francisco Foundry will kick off its second human experience management (HXM) cohort focused on experiential learning, internal talent mobility and management, agile team management, talent assessment, workforce modeling and human resources (HR) analytics, and culture.

On September 2, SAP leaders and senior HR leaders from BeiersdorfCintasGerdauMicrosoft, and NTT DATA Services met virtually for selection day to hear 13 innovative startups present their solution and identify the final six startups that will participate in the cohort. The selected HR startups extend the capabilities of SAP SuccessFactors solutions. By participating in SAP.iO Foundries, they will receive curated mentorship and support to build out their integrations with SAP SuccessFactors solutions in order to become an SAP partner and list their solution on SAP App Center.

“I loved watching the startups present,” said Vicki Furnish, vice president of Human Capital at NTT DATA Services. “Their creative approaches to the current HR challenges we are facing were inspiring and would definitely have a positive impact on our recruiting and talent initiatives.”

Selection day provided SAP customers with the opportunity to learn about new solutions that can help address challenges they are facing, such as maximizing learning engagement, building a more diverse and inclusive workforce, and supporting employees’ mental health. At the same time, the startups presenting received input and feedback on their solutions.

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Jet-Set Offset Swaps Your Frequent Flyer Guilt for Sustainable Air Travel

The air travel industry is waking up to a post-pandemic world filled with people who have a heightened awareness of climate change and sustainability. The entrepreneurs behind Jet-Set Offset are turning these concerns into action for both consumers and businesses.

Using the startup’s carbon-based offsetting tool, companies can donate one cent for every air mile flown by employees to environmental non-profit organizations.

“Individuals and companies are much more mindful that travel and commuting are a big part of their carbon footprint and need to be incorporated into their sustainability planning and actions,” said Anna Ford, co-founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Jet-Set Offset. “Remote working has brought people together in more authentic ways, increasing demands to align personal values such as sustainability with working norms, including travel.”

Realistic Strategy for Sustainable Travel

Functioning like a fundraising tool for non-profit and charitable organizations that focus on sustainability, Jet-Set Offset’s mileage-based donations are tax-deductible and backed by a realistic business-oriented strategy. During its first year in business, thousands of Jet-Set Offset consumers made donations to a range of non-profits. These organizations offer products, education, and advocacy in areas such as clean transportation, renewable energy, land and wildlife conservation, reforestation, and green buildings. The startup’s next target market is enterprises.

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Paradox Raises $40M Series B to Help Companies Embrace the Future of Work with Conversational AI

Paradox, the conversational AI platform helping HR and talent teams automate administrative tasks and deliver real-time candidate and employee communications, announced today $40M in Series B funding, led by Brighton Park Capital. The Arizona-based startup, whose 200+ global enterprise clients include McDonald’s, CVS Health, and Unilever, will leverage the funding to expedite its vision of a future where AI is a liberating force to help people do their best work.

“No one goes into recruiting or HR because they like screening resumes, scheduling interviews, or managing paperwork,” said Paradox founder and CEO Aaron Matos, who started his career as an HR practitioner. “Our clients love our AI assistant Olivia because she helps them get back to doing the strategic people work that got them into recruiting and HR in the first place.”

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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 San Francisco B2B travel technology accelerator Launches

SAP has launched the SAP.iO Foundry San Francisco business-to-business (B2B) travel technology accelerator, with eight early-stage enterprise startups.


The program aims to improve the travel and expense management experience for SAP’s customers, and includes the SAP Concur portfolio. Startups in the program will have access to curated mentorship, exposure to SAP technology and application programmable interfaces (APIs), and opportunities to collaborate with SAP customers.

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SAP.iO Foundry San Francisco Customer Experience Cohort Caps Off with Demo Day

The 12-week program provided the startups with access to curated mentorship, exposure to SAP technology and application programmable interfaces (APIs), and access to SAP customers. It concludes with an invite-only Demo Day event for customers, partners and industry guests — such as Ronan Dunne, Verizon Consumer Group executive vice president and CEO; Beverly Parenti, The Last Mile executive director; angel investor Dan Scheinman and others — to meet the founders and hear about their collaboration with SAP and its customers.

“We are very excited about what has been achieved in the past three months and that we were able to help these startups deliver winning outcomes and incremental value to our customers,” said Ram Jambunathan, SAP.iO managing director and SAP senior vice president head of Corporate Strategy.

The cohort consists of the following startups:

  • Constructor.io is an artificial intelligence (AI) commerce search and discovery solution that learns from usage to increase personalization and conversation rates. Constructor personalizes results from users on-site and online and optimizes them for business metrics relevant to the retailer.
  • Breinify is a time-driven AI platform that predicts and acts on an individual’s highly dynamic interests. The technology blends traditional machine learning and AI techniques with complex temporal algorithms to make granular intelligent decisions that vary for each individual at any time.
  • FINDMINE increases commerce orders by using machine learning to generate and display product collections that can be used together. FINDMINE ensures shoppers are able to see full product sets that answer the question “How do I use this?” It can be employed for every product and customer, and across every channel (e-commerce, e-mail, in-store, and for associates and customer support).
  • Wisy is an engagement platform that gathers unique consumer and market insights for brands and retailers while increasing consumer engagement through mobile experiences.
  • Idiomatic identifies top product and service issues by analyzing large amounts of customer interactions with AI and machine learning. Idiomatic helps companies turn customer feedback into customer intelligence through its voice-of-customer platform, which identifies and tracks all issues and trends in customer support inquiries, Net Promoter Score survey responses and app reviews.
  • Askdata is a natural language engine that turns text questions into queries that search across enterprise data for the best answer. Business users with no technical skills can search for data in natural language with convenience and productivity.
  • SetSail accelerates pipeline and flexibly drives strategic priorities in weekly sales incentive systems with machine learning and natural language processing. Customer events and e-mail sentiment are analyzed to objectively measure and reward true deal progress, allowing sales leaders to reward their representatives every week

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Just the beginning…

Nov 14th, 2019 marked the culmination of our three months long Experience Management accelerator program, in close collaboration with SAP Customer Experience & Qualtrics. However this is just the beginning of a long term relationship with these startups. Over 100 people gathered (regardless of the rain!) to celebrate the graduation of SAP.iO Foundry San Francisco’s Experience Management Cohort. It was a great moment for our startups to present in front of an audience that was a mix of SAP Executives, SAP Customers, Startup Founders, Ventures Capitalists & industry experts. The following startups presented:

  • Askdata: Powerful Natural Language engine turns text questions into queries that search across enterprise data for the best answer.
  • Breinify: Makes any marketing system smarter by adding individualized & time driven predictions to drive spur-of-the-moment purchases.
  • Constructor: AI-first Commerce search and discovery solution that learns from usage to increase personalization and conversion rates.
  • Findmine: Increases Commerce basket sizes by using ML to generate and display product collections that can be used together.
  • Idiomatic: Easily identify top product and service issues by analyzing large amounts of customer interactions with AI/ML
  • Setsail: Accelerate pipeline and flexibly drive strategic priorities using SetSail’s weekly sales incentive system
  • Wisy: Gathers unique consumer and market insights for brands and retailers while increasing consumer engagement via mobile experiences.

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Reimagining Retail: How FINDMINE is using AI to enhance customer experience

“As a consumer, I was always frustrated that when I’d buy a product, there was always more work for me afterwards. If I bought a skirt, I’d have to figure out how to wear it in an outfit. If I bought a couch I’d have to figure out what rug and throw pillows would look good with it and then buy those things. If I bought a new set of trims for my bathroom I’d have to search for the valves that would fit,” says Michelle Bacharach, founder and CEO of FINDMINE.

She discovered that when it came to recommending products to customers, retailers still relied heavily on manual processes. For instance, while brands know which products might be complementary — which pair of shoes would look great with the bag you’ve just added to your cart and which scarf, jeans or shirt would complete the look — they were just not very good at prompting the customers towards the right purchase. That’s where FINDMINE comes in.

FINDMINE uses AI to help customers “complete the look” and provides retailers an easy, efficient and scalable way of communicating that to customers. “Our engine shows consumers a little recipe for how to use each product they’re buying.” For brands and retailers using FINDMINE, the impact has been incredible. “For our customers the value is threefold. First, we’re helping them gain efficiency in their operations by spending fewer manhours in merchandising. Second, the overall brand experience is augmented for the customer, building loyalty. Third, FINDMINE helps generate revenue, in some cases as much as $60 million for a customer — because we help consumers make the right buying decisions.”

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Experience is everything.

Launching our next SAP.iO SF XM Cohort

SAP is a company that has always been very customer centric and embraced a Listen — Learn — Act approach. In the same spirit we are excited to announce our next SAP.iO SF Foundry program. The upcoming SAP.iO San Francisco cohort will be focused on Experience Management, in close collaboration with SAP Business Units, including SAP Customer Experience and Qualtrics.

We are excited to collaborate with cutting edge startup innovation and improve the experience for SAP’s customers, partners and end users. We are looking forward to welcoming the following startups to be a part of the next SAP.iO SF Foundry —

  • Askdata: Powerful Natural Language engine turns text questions into queries that search across enterprise data for the best answer.
  • Breinify: Makes any marketing system smarter by adding individualized & time driven predictions to drive spur-of-the-moment purchases.
  • Constructor: AI-first Commerce search and discovery solution that learns from usage to increase personalization and conversion rates.
  • Findmine: Increases Commerce basket sizes by using ML to generate and display product collections that can be used together.
  • Idiomatic: Easily identify top product and service issues by analyzing large amounts of customer interactions with AI/ML
  • Setsail: Accelerate pipeline and flexibly drive strategic priorities using SetSail’s weekly sales incentive system
  • Wisy: Gathers unique market insights for brands and retailers while increasing consumer engagement via mobile games.

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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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