When I first heard about SAP opening a cafe in a former cinema in downtown Palo Alto, I was surprised. This is after all not the company’s core business. But then I realized, it is. For this cafe, called HanaHaus, will be a hang out point for sleep-starved programmers and entrepreneurs who spend hours discussing and debating ideas for launching the next big thing.
SAP’s Sanjay Shirole says he wants to foster a creative environment where anyone — non-SAP people will be welcome — can have coffee and talk with others who are passionate about technology. Refreshments will be available, and anyone who buys coffee or food can sit for free. And best of all, SAP engineers and independent consultants will be at hand to offer advice about software design or HANA or anything tech.
In an area where Google, Facebook and Apple all have their head-offices, and which is a short distance away from Stanford University, this cafe will help SAP connect to talented millennials who are eager to use technology to make the world a better place. And today, technology is not just about programming for a tech company — even journalism is using programmers for enhanced interactive visualizations. SAP is providing a great place to do just that and more.
Along with this news, came another in a different part of the globe. SAP India says it will invest in Indian startups. “The amount of money to be invested s not yet decided but we will definitely do it this year,” said Bernd Leukert, member of the executive board, told local media.
While a cafe and investing in startups might appear to be two very different operations, it is actually with a similar goal. In both cases SAP is helping entrepreneurs and talented millennials discover their potential and giving them a platform to grow. And with its global reach, SAP is making a difference in multiple countries at the same time.
The Indian economy today is growing faster than any other BRIC country, except China. But China is slowing after years of scorching growth, and Indian entrepreneurs want to step into that space. They have good technical skills and dream big. All they need is encouragement and investment to scale to the next level. Recent examples include e-commerce companies such as Flipkart, Snapdeal and Jabong, all of which have attracted huge amounts of investment from some of the world’s top venture capital and private equity firms.
But SAP can bring much more than just investment. It has previously enabled startups to achieve the next level of growth through HANA. There are about 1,700 startups on HANA now. So be it a startup that’s trying to save people’s lives through cancer research or mapping genetic codes, or startups that are building a risk management solution, they can all build on HANA. These are companies that SAP is funding and also partnering with around the world in a go-to market strategy so that they can get off the ground and be on the path to success.
So be it running a cafe or investing in startups, SAP is helping millennials and companies grow and realize their dreams. That’s the power of running simple.