Venture Voices: A year of and with GreenToken by SAP

Sometimes news unfold on April Fools Day that isn’t a joke, but real and exciting: The founders behind Green Token by SAP share their venture’s founding anniversary with other greats in the tech industry. Here are some of their highlights from their first year.

Founded on April 1, 1976, Apple most certainly wasn’t a joke. Nor was Google’s announcement in 2004, introducing the beta version of Gmail, its new — and free! — web-based email service. And of course, though hard to believe today, SAP was once also considered a start-up. When five entrepreneurs started the company on April 1 in 1972, Hasso Plattner didn’t even own a personal computer.

Today, almost all of the world’s 100 most valuable brands use SAP software and the company has grown to more than 100,000 employees. Even with its storied history and reputation in the tech industry, SAP has not strayed far from its start-up roots. Among its 100,000 employees, some continue to build products and teams from scratch through the SAP.iO Venture Studio, an organization dedicated to fostering employee-driven innovation. Since 2016, SAP has been investing in small, entrepreneurial teams to find and test new areas with products that attack some of the biggest problems in enterprise. On April 1, 2019, Green Token by SAP, a venture building a solution focusing on supply chain transparency for more ethical business, also joined the ranks of SAP’s employee-led ventures. Hear what James Veale and Nitin Jain have to say, looking back on their first 12 months and ahead as venture founders:

Exactly one year ago you started GreenToken by SAP after 18 months of evolving the idea. What happened since?

Nitin & James: “Like one-year-old humans we have learnt an incredible amount in the last 12 months and now proudly stand on our own two feet. Our memorable successes since April 1, 2019 have to be :

  • Building a fantastic team of eleven passionate individuals who go above and beyond in their daily tasks to make GreenToken a success.
  • Great meetings with our motivated advisory board members who have given us excellent guidance and share our drive and enthusiasm for this project.
  • Our launch customers who helped us prove GreenToken at scale at the end of last year and continue to challenge us to make the product frictionless and fit for purpose.”

Biggest misconception on founding and building a venture you had so far?

Nitin & James: “One of the biggest myths we faced was ‘you all have to be based in one location for this to work.’ We have team members in APJ, Europe and North America and we and made it work! What’s more, GreenToken works with global supply chains and our globally distributed team is actually able to talk to any customer or prospect in the world in their local business hours.”

Plans for your second year as venture founders?

Nitin & James: “Our second year is shaping up to be as exciting as our first! This year we plan to release the production-ready version of GreenToken and run it at scale, we intend to expand into new industries across many different raw material supply chains, and we aim at adding new features that will give our customers meaningful insights into their raw material supply chains showing them the good actors, the risk and the blind spots. We want to enable them to make meaningful procurement decisions and help drive sustainable and circular economies. And we already hit the ground running in year 2: Watch this space and our personal LinkedIn accounts for our new initiatives in a circular economy industry.”

Feel free to personally connect with Nitin and James on LinkedIn and never miss a beat on their upcoming projects & results.

About Green Token by SAP

GreenToken by SAP is a supply chain solution that offers companies new levels of transparency through reliable, blockchain-based information. Gain visibility into where raw materials came from and produce products with knowledge about where and how the materials were produced, even in complex, non-batch supply chains. More on www.green-token.io

About SAP.iO Venture Studio

SAP.iO Venture Studio drives a new era of organic growth at SAP. It invests in new ventures founded by small, entrepreneurial teams inside of SAP who are focused on building the future of enterprise business processes. SAP.iO Venture Studio provides design, development, and sales support to help these ventures launch. Founding teams join the SAP.iO Venture Studio primarily through the SAP.iO Intrapreneurship and Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) programs.

Venture Voices: Isn’t it time that we see a Chief Receivables Officer?

Receivables teams might need to look across the hall to their procurement and payables counterparts for a transformation roadmap.

By Andrew Blum, Head of GTM and Customer Engagements, Paid Pronto by SAP

The path is laid out

The procurement and payables space has been transformed by a digital revolution over the last few decades. This has in turn enabled significant automation. I’m lucky to have witnessed it firsthand as a practitioner, consultant, and technology advisor. Procurement and accounts payable organizations have evolved from focusing on tactical, cost-control measures to adding meaningful value towards the organization’s bottom line. Local or regional organization structures have been replaced by centralized global procurement organizations.

Technology has been at the center of this revolution and the results are clear. Compliance and cost-control is managed by the technology which allows procurement professionals to focus on higher-value, strategic initiatives.

This great transformation has increased the importance and visibility of the roles within the organization. Often an afterthought, a Procurement Manager used to be the middle person executing on the tactical parts of purchasing. Now that the tactical tasks are automated, and focus is on adding strategic value to the bottom line, we’ve seen a surge in companies adopting the title of Chief Procurement Officer — a reflection of the value that they bring to the enterprise.

Is Accounts Receivables really that much different than Procurement and Accounts Payable?

When I joined Paid Pronto by SAP and took a deeper look into the accounts receivable space, I realized that it’s very similar to where procurement was 20 years ago and ripe for evolution. In fact the only major differences between accounts receivable and its procurement and accounts payable counterparts are that we’re talking customers instead of suppliers and managing invoices instead of purchase orders.

If the global pandemic has taught us anything in the business world, it’s that a strong cash flow helps prepare enterprises for anything. Outside of increasing sales or improving margins, there are two levers that finance organizations have to improve cash flow: (1) increase payment terms or (2) decrease receivables.

All too often, I see organizations only focus on the first lever. I’ve seen firsthand where a company made a blanket increase to their standard payment terms, from Net-45 to Net-120. And while larger suppliers can (uncomfortably) accept that, this is potentially fatal to smaller businesses that don’t have deep capital pockets.

So, we need to start focusing on the second lever, and optimize receivables. This presents a massive opportunity for Receivables Managers to provide strategic value to the enterprise. They are now at the same inflection point that procurement and accounts payable managers were at 20 years ago.

The opportunity case is there. Improving days sales outstanding by one day provides a $2.7M cash flow benefit for every $1B in sales. Simply put, the receivables team can easily make a material impact on the bottom line. A cash flow benefit of this magnitude is sure to make any C-suite notice, especially in capital intensive industries.

The key to unlocking this value is automation of tactical activities so receivables professionals can use their expertise to focus on the complex problems. A receivables agent typically spends most of their day putting out fires and executing routine tasks, unable to tackle their work in a strategic manner. Whether it’s asks from a customer to update a contact or upload to a portal, internal payment status queries, or just trying to get others to respond, there is a huge opportunity for automation.

It’s uncanny how similar this opportunity is to what procurement and accounts payable teams faced a just a few decades ago. They’ve successfully tackled this problem and have been rewarded with a seat in the C-Suite. So, I ask the question: Isn’t it time that we see a Chief Receivables Officer?

Paid Pronto by SAP is your transformation partner

We at Paid Pronto want to be your partner as you embark on this transformation. Our solution automates standardized receivables tasks, so that your receivables team can focus on the complex, high-value-added activities. Early pilots have shown significant improvement in day sales outstanding, total cash collected, and number of open invoices.

Paid Pronto by SAP is currently looking to expand our pilot program. If you are interested in letting us obsess over your success as part of the program, reach out to paidpronto@sap.com.

Find more also on www.paidpronto.io

About SAP.iO Venture Studio

SAP.iO Venture Studio drives a new era of organic growth at SAP. It invests in new ventures founded by small, entrepreneurial teams inside of SAP who are focused on building the future of enterprise business processes. SAP.iO Venture Studio provides design, development, and sales support to help these ventures launch. Founding teams join the SAP.iO Venture Studio primarily through the SAP.iO Intrapreneurship and Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) programs.

SavingsNow! and Recycletronics Join SAP.iO Venture Studio

avingsNow! and Recycletronics have joined the SAP.iO Venture Studio with goals of scaling and growing business for SAP and its customers. As part of the New Ventures and Technologies organization, the SAP.iO Venture Studio takes an employee-driven approach to innovation by bringing it in-house with an intrapreneurship program.

The two new employee-created ventures have received €1-2 million in funding from SAP through the company’s grassroots Scouting & Acceleration program.

“Entrepreneurs at SAP are in a unique position to shape the future of enterprise software,” said Ram Jambunathan, head of SAP.iO Venture Studio. “SAP’s distinctive understanding of business processes enables ventures like Recycletronics and Savings Now! to leverage data and technology to explore, experiment, and transform how business is done.”

The intrapreneurship program operates as an accelerator that supports entrepreneurial employees by creating an environment that fosters a culture of exploration and innovation. Employees selected for the program can build out and validate their ideas through working with real end users and assigned mentors from across SAP expertise in the challenges faced by SAP and its customers. From these interactions, the teams can then accelerate their idea into a venture with proven market demand.

To better understand today’s business landscape and how their proposed solutions fit within it, teams run through two phases. During the validation phase, teams join an eight-week self-paced program with virtual lectures covering topics from testing assumptions to analyzing markets and building a first version of their product. During the acceleration phase, some get the opportunity to further develop and test their product and to win early-stage customers. They receive feedback from mentors from inside and outside of SAP, including a committee of senior leaders from across SAP, along with founders and investors.

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SAP Invests in Accounts Receivable Solutions with Newest Venture Paid Pronto

SAP’s newest employee-led venture, Paid Pronto by SAP, is an application that automates accounts receivable processes. It has received seed investment and officially joined SAP.iO Venture Studio with the goal of building a new growth business to impact SAP’s business and customers.

SAP.iO Venture Studio cultivates an environment for in-house innovation by investing in small, entrepreneurial teams to build, launch, and scale products that address some of the biggest problems in enterprise. SAP employees are encouraged to tap into their entrepreneurial spirit to pitch product ideas to the program. After a competitive selection process, the founders can develop their product inside the company.

The idea for Paid Pronto came out of an understanding of how difficult and time-consuming the process of collecting money can be for businesses. In the U.S., Atradius reports that 47% of invoices are not paid on time, and approximately two of every three late invoices still are not paid after another 30 days. Typically, to get a customer to pay these invoices, teams have to manually follow up to understand why customers aren’t paying, help them work through issues like billing disputes and invoice updates, and update internal teams on progress.

At enterprise scale, this is a massive undertaking. Keeping up with all of these processes for thousands of invoices and customers can often prove to be challenging. Therefore, improving accounts receivable operations can provide significant benefits for working capital management.

Paid Pronto aims to drive cash into businesses faster by accelerating receivable processes through automation. It does this by automating standardized tasks, like customer correspondence, to support receivables teams in covering their large book of customers. Through the automated communication solution, customers receive personalized and easy-to-digest reminders beginning when an invoice is first released until payment is received. These communications help ensure customers have full transparency into what they owe and can flag issues or questions earlier in the process.

Paid Pronto aims to deliver value to enterprises in three ways. First, it increases the total cash collected by improving customer response rates and getting more customers to pay their invoices. Second, it decreases the days of outstanding sales by surfacing issues sooner. And third, it helps reduce the total number of open invoices, limiting the number of items a collector needs to follow-up on.

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SAP Among the World’s Top 25 Startup-Friendly Companies and Winner of Corporate Startup Accelerator Award

WALLDORF — SAP SE (NYSE: SAP) today announced it has been recognized with a Corporate Startup Stars Award as one of the Top 25 most active companies to encourage open innovation with startups.

SAP also received a Corporate Startup Accelerator Award for its acceleration efforts and identifying worldwide best practices in corporate-startup collaboration. The announcement was made at the digital award ceremony hosted by open innovation advisory firm Mind the Bridge and the International Chamber of Commerce, on December 15.

Engaging with early stage startups is an important aspect of SAP’s holistic open innovation approach to remain agile and resilient in today’s global marketplace. This includes dedicated programs within SAP’s early stage venture arm SAP.iO to scout and accelerate new ideas and talent inside and outside of the company.

“At SAP, we know that we can mutually benefit from outside-in perspectives to inspire innovation and drive business impact for our customers,” said Juergen Mueller, chief technology officer and member of the Executive Board of SAP SE. “Since 2017, we have helped scale more than 270 promising startups across all lines of business and industries in nine locations across the globe. Providing them with the access and resources they need to build on SAP solutions complements our portfolio and internal innovation efforts, which enables our customers to gain even more value from their SAP investments.”

For the fifth year, startups have been asked to nominate the companies that are most active and friendly in working with small businesses. Started in 2016 under the European Commission’s Startup Europe Partnership initiative, the Corporate Startup Stars Awards have been scaled to include corporations and startups worldwide through the partnership between Mind the Bridge and the International Chamber of Commerce.

“SAP has consistently proven to be one of the most startup-friendly corporations worldwide by engaging with startups in multiple modes, ranging from acceleration and partnerships to investments and acquisitions,” said Alberto Onetti, chairman, Mind the Bridge. “We appreciate the approach SAP.iO has taken and its recent evolution. The combination of startup and employee-driven innovation and the renewed focus on scaling companies makes SAP.iO a benchmark globally for rethinking and optimizing the corporate accelerator model.”

To learn more about how SAP is helping innovators inside and outside of SAP build products, find customers and change industries, please visit SAP.iO.

Visit the SAP News Center. Follow SAP on Twitter at @SAPNews.

Media Contact:
Lesa Beber, +1 (650) 390-1629, lesa.beber@sap.com, ET
SAP Press Roompress@sap.com

Building Better Software: Embedded Context Awareness Differentiates Solutions and Improves User Experiences

When startups and development organizations create software, differentiation is everything. Products that set themselves apart from the competition – by offering enhanced functionality or a better user experience, for example – are more likely to win over decision-makers. Adding context awareness to software is one way to create differentiation.

There are two ways to incorporate context awareness into a product: by making it fundamental to the value proposition or by using it to improve the user experience. Each approach has its benefits.

One example where context awareness is fundamental is software based on location data, such as Google Maps. Such products rely on context, including the user’s location, friends who are in the same area, and information about current conditions – like weather or traffic.

More commonly, though, context awareness is used to improve the user experience – yielding small enhancements that can generate big returns. Even a slight improvement in the user experience can compound over time in terms of user retention. Satisfied users spread the word to others, who also become users who share their experience. In this way, increasing the level of context awareness can become a powerful tool for software developers to differentiate their product.

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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).

Fostering an Open Innovation Ecosystem to Buoy HXM

The pace of innovation for human resources (HR) is at an all-time high. Businesses and HR leaders recognize that a motivated, productive, and engaged workforce is essential to compete and succeed in today’s market. However, the old ways of managing talent are simply not as effective as they once were.

Recognizing there are challenges that require specialized solutions, the SAP.iO program helps innovators both in and outside of SAP build products, find customers, and address industry challenges. These startups push traditional thinking and processes and leverage emerging technologies to drive employee- and people-first cultures.

SAP.iO Venture Studio encourages entrepreneurs specifically inside of SAP by funding employee-led innovations. For example, Brilliant Hire by SAP leverages a network of experts to recruit at scale and bring the best candidates to in-person interviews. The solution now integrates with SAP SuccessFactors Recruiting Management. FlexPay by SAP, which recently launched a beta program, allows employees to tap into their accrued earnings ahead of payday to cover unforeseen expenses and avoid costly late fees, overdraft fees and payday loans. Integrated into SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central and SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central Payroll, the solution also offers money budgeting and savings tools.

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Got Talent: Recruiting platform Brilliant Hire raises €1M from SAP.iO

SAP.iO Venture Studio makes a €1 million follow-on seed investment in Brilliant Hire, a bias-free, skill-based pre-screening platform that helps digitize recruiting to provide faster and greater insights

Brilliant Hire co-founders, Swetha and Hemant with Juergen Mueller, CTO of SAP

In most hiring processes, hitting the buzzer to catapult candidates to the next round does usually not occur as quickly as on prime television shows. Talent is nevertheless what both are looking for.

There’s a strong connection between achieving business objectives and hiring the right talent, hence increasing the quality of candidates within the hiring funnel is fundamental to success. Tech is promising a shortcut to identifying the best candidates for job offerings, by also eliminating (un-)conscious bias towards applicants, and improving hiring efficiency. Will software be the next recruiting manager you meet in an interview? Not quite, but it could make all the difference.

Brilliant Hire offers skills-based job applicant screening, providing faster and greater insights without bias. The latest funding allows the venture to proceed with the recently released Brilliant Expert Network. Brilliant Experts is a complimentary service to Brilliant Hire, providing experts who evaluate candidates at any skill level and any discipline. With this service, recruiters simply send candidates the Brilliant Hire link and subsequently receive a full breakdown of a candidate’s skills from the expert. On the backend, the Brilliant Hire teamensures the quality and availability of the evaluating expertsremains high. The platform is unique across the screening industry by combining both machine learning with human evaluators.

Brilliant Experts has been used at SAP by the Silicon Valley Next Talent program over the past few months. With the addition of Brilliant Experts, Brilliant Hire removed the burden of assessment evaluation and decreased the wait time of applying candidates by more than 50 percent:

“We went from a one to two weeks response time to just two days. This resulted in over 400 candidates screened and only 100 qualifying ones to be interviewed – all without burdening recruiters or managers.”

Caitie Sullivan, program manager, Silicon Valley Next Talent Program, SAP

The team has shown early successes, including helping software company SAP SuccessFactors hit their ambitious 2019 hiring targets. This includes hiring over 100 engineers across the San Francisco and Bangalore offices. Beyond SAP, Brilliant Hire has been used by Mercedes-Benz R&D and the Second Harvest Food Bank.

Today, Brilliant Hire is offering a 3-month trial allowing companies to screen up to 300 candidates evaluations for just $1. Simply head over to the SAP Store to start your trial today.

To continue delivering their vision of screening-as-a-service, the new funding enables the team to grow in key areas. During the second half of 2019, Brilliant Hire will add Go-To-Market experts, designers and various engineering resources across San Francisco and Bangalore — hence hiring themselves! If you believe in the team’s mission and are interested in joining, reach out to their General Manager, Ryan Phillips, at ryan@brillianthire.io or check out the team’s career page.


About Brilliant Hire

Your hiring process is biased, we can help you fix it. Be brilliant in the way you hire. Try Brilliant Hire via the SAP Store and find more information on brillianthire.io.

About SAP.iO Venture Studio

The SAP.iO Venture Studio invests in small, entrepreneurial teams inside SAP and helps them build and launch successful products that attack some of the biggest problems in enterprise software. More information on sap.io/studio.

Principled Leadership

Over the course of the last two years, our team has grown from eight people to more than one hundred twenty. It’s been a sight to behold. But growth also brings its own challenges. Two years ago, we were in the trenches together day after day. We were close to the problems. The field of battle was concentrated. Today, the theater has sprawled. We have distinctly different businesses, different foci, and different skills. We have matured as an organization. And that maturity creates distance between each of our leaders and those on the front lines.

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Your Customer Isn’t Always Right

From the largest of the Fortune 500 to the smallest startup, no business is one of infinite resources. You have a certain amount of cash, and then it’s gone. This reality clashes with an underlying value of customer service; customer correctness. It’s impossible to have limited cash and adhere to the slogan that your customer is always right. He’s not…

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