SAP has launched the SAP.iO Fund and SAP.iO Foundry program to invest in and incubate early-stage software startups, two new components of the SAP open innovation model designed to enable innovators both inside and outside of SAP to create new products and digitally transform industries.
“SAP.iO will create a new ecosystem to help accelerate digital transformation for our 350,000 customers,” said Bill McDermott, CEO, SAP. “We have a message for entrepreneurs: if you have a bold dream to solve one of the world’s most significant challenges, join us and let’s chase your dream together,” he said.
Seeded with an initial US$35 million, the SAP.iO Fund will provide strategic early-stage investments in software startups that can leverage the power of SAP data, APIs and platform technologies to enhance the SAP ecosystem and drive customer value.
Incubating software startups that embrace technologies such as machine learning and blockchain, the global SAP.iO Foundry program locations are in San Francisco and Berlin, with the latter managed by entrepreneur network, Techstars. The Foundry locations are expected to complement existing SAP.iO startup incubation partnerships with Techstars IoT in New York City and the Junction in Tel Aviv.
“In addition to empowering our employee innovators, SAP.iO will use its fund and foundries to invest in entrepreneurs that develop industry-changing software,” said Deepak Krishnamurthy, chief strategy officer, SAP.
The first startup to receive seed funding through SAP.iO is Silicon Valley-based Big Data analytics firm Paradata, which uses machine learning to increase supply chain transparency, complementing SAP Ariba’s direct material sourcing and supply chain visibility capabilities. Paradata will also receive mentorship, customer introductions and access to platform integrations and APIs from SAP.iO and SAP.
Promoting an overall culture of innovation, SAP’s existing innovation programs include SAP Labs Network, with 19 labs in 16 countries and SAP Innovation Centre Network, with 10 locations worldwide providing a startup-like environment focusing on new ideas.