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Author's profile photo Mark Finnern

How Lively is SAP’s Startup Landscape?

Picture nicked and cropped from fellow SAP Mentor Louis Felipe Lanz last year’s tweet. If only he would be here to answer a lot of my questions 🙂

As posted here before my SAP TechEd visit this week is mostly for Old Lang Syne. A commitment from before I started working for CrowdSmart. a platform where smart investors fund startup success.

Reading my friend Jon Reed’s post yesterday: The SAP TechEd stakes — some stories to watch on S/4HANA, SCP and Leonardo crystallized my real mission here in Las Vegas. He writes:

Are we moving toward a vibrant collection of S/4HANA apps customer can use today, or is SAP losing the momentum it tried to spark with the startup program?

Yes, where does SAP stand regarding their ecosystems and Startups? My self-defined mission for the next days therefore is, to understand and report back:

How Lively is SAP’s Startup Landscape?

Before I left SAP 2 years ago there was:

Sapphire Ventures formerly known as SAP Ventures they co-invested in mostly later stage Startups in the enterprise software space. LinkedIn was once in their portfolio. That you were able to share in real time your SAP Developer Network points status on your LinkedIn profile came from a collaboration during that time. SAP Ventures is now fully independent from SAP and I doubt they have a representative here at TechEd. As their focus is on late-stage Startups, they are less likely interested in playing on the CrowdSmart platform at its current state.

SAP Startup Forum celebrated at an SAP event years back, that they had more than 1000 Startups participating in their program. As only 1 in 10 of all Startups succeed, by now there should be 100+ companies doing good business in the SAP ecosystem. Would love to talk to any of them and find out where the forum stands now. This blog post looks promising: 4 Startups you should not miss at SAP TechEd 2017 Las Vegas.

SAP Leonardo is SAP’s latest focus around IoT and its kitchen sink of opportunities. They opened up a SAP IoT Startup Accelerator in Berlin with a very attractive offer to their Startups: You don’t have to give up equity or pay fees if you are part of their accelerator. If I were a Startup founder, I would run to be part of that program. If SAP is able to connect these Startups with their established customers it would be very powerful. Can’t wait to find out what is happening beyond Berlin and what happens with the Startups once they have gone through the program.

SAP App Center as it is called now. Over the years there were many attempts of SAP to create an online marketplace for their partners’ solutions. If that platform is vibrant it would prove, that SAP is a real innovation ecosystem, where you create a product around your idea and be successful with SAP customers.

SAP NetWeaver Venture Fund was set up in 2006 with $125 million to invest in promising Startups that build on that platform. Would love to find out what companies succeeded with this.

What am I missing? You will see me roaming the show floor too. Thank you, Neptune Software for enabling me this opportunity.

For the last two years, SAP’s Press and Analyst program has been focusing on SAP TechEd Barcelona and not Las Vegas. It is going to be interesting to see how many of the above questions I can get answered by my former colleagues or other TechEd participants. Please ping me if you have an answer and would like to talk. I am here until Wednesday morning.

P.S. Also ping me if you are an SAP customer that would like to be part of the SAP Mentor 10-year anniversary celebration tonight, as I am allowed to bring one to the festivities.

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      Author's profile photo Joachim Rees
      Joachim Rees

      Hey Mark,

      Somehow, in my head, SAP and Startups don't fit together.

      Thats' probably because my area of experience is so old-school, with ABAP and ERP.... but I know there are many other areas, too.

      The one I can think of is Celonis, but don't even know what they do ("process mining",ok,  but what ist that?...).


      Well, that's what I can put in here, hope you had a good time at TechEd?!