SAP Foundry: Accelerator For Startups Focusing On B2B Customers

SAP Foundry Munich is an accelerator program that helps B2B startups develop customer-friendly solutions. Of course, one goal is being able to use the solutions for SAP itself. However, the accelerator also provides a very extensive network of partners and customers. How exactly do startups like Parcellab, Presize and Rapitag — to name a few graduates — benefit from being a part of the program? An interview with Erica Davis, Community Manager, and Philippe Souidi, Head of the SAP Foundry Munich.

Munich Startup: Please introduce yourself!

Erica Davis: SAP.iO Foundry Munich is part of the SAP.iO Foundries, a global network of top-tier accelerators enabling startups to build innovative software that delivers value for SAP customers. SAP.iO Foundries offer equity-free, in-residence programs that feature curated mentorship, access to our technologies and APIs, and opportunities to engage with SAP executives, partners, and over 400.000 enterprise customers across 27 industries.

An embodiment of open innovation, the SAP.iO Foundry Munich is a collaborative effort between the SAP.iO Fund & Foundries organization, SAP Customer Experience, and our partners such as UnternehmerTUM . Our Foundry is unique in that it focuses exclusively on accelerating early-stage B2B startups that create transformative enterprise solutions in CRM and Customer Experience. We are fortunate to have our office in the middle of the SAP CX headquarters, sitting amongst the expert developers and sales colleagues who advise our founders on a regular basis. Given this entrepreneurial environment, our working culture, and the fact that we are a fairly small but resourceful team, one could say the Foundry Munich operates very much like a startup itself!

We have just started our second cohort, which focuses on Marketing and Commerce and runs from now until May.

SAP Foundry: “We help the startups mature and scale”

Munich Startup: What do you focus on when working with startups?

Erica Davis: When selecting our startups, SAP.iO Foundry Munich identifies “rising star” companies that leverage new business models and emerging technologies (such as Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, etc.), who will complement and enhance SAP’s capabilities and solution portfolio, and who have a proven product-market fit and funding with early traction. Furthermore, we look for well-balanced teams with founders that have clear vision and are open to the challenges and opportunities of partnering with a corporation.

Throughout our programs, we help the startups mature and scale comprehensively while emphasizing the SAP alignment: improving every aspect of their business and products, leveraging customer-facing opportunities such as high-profile industry events, building seamless integrations to SAP products, and more. Our ultimate goal is to have each startup deliver tangible value for themselves, their customers, and the SAP ecosystem.

“Vision, validation, and execution”

Munich Startup: To be successful, a startup needs …?

Erica Davis: Vision, validation, and execution. Vision means knowing the problem they are solving and who they are solving it for, providing clarity and determination that brings everyone (employees, investors, customers) fully onboard. Validation is the necessary proof that your company is on track and the continued demonstration of your ultimate commitment to the customer. Execution needs no explanation – own it and get it done!

Munich Startup: Why does a good startup need you in the back?

Erica Davis: For startups to be successful with enterprise customers, they need to be ready to play their own game end-to-end…but according to new rules and at higher levels. Challenges range from adapting to long sales cycles, different pricing models, and meeting extensive customer demands. This is where SAP can help – with comprehensive expertise and guidance, abundant resources, and invaluable door-opening capabilities.

Munich Startup: What is the biggest mistake a startup can make?

Philippe Souidi: No matter how great an idea for a product or service is, if a business is not solving a real problem that real customers face, and doing it in a way that is unique to (and better than) their competitors, they will ultimately struggle. This is most crucial at the startup stage, when there is still room to make big pivots before fundraising and scaling up – again, validation is key!

“Doing good is good business”

Munich Startup: The trend of the year is …!

Erica Davis: Environmental and Social Action. Building on the impactful movements of last year, more and more companies are demonstrating serious commitment to drive progress in areas like sustainability and diversity. SAP is very active in supporting the UN Sustainability Goals – for example, through our global “No Boundaries” initiative, SAP will commit up to 40 percent of the investable capital in the SAP.iO Fund and scale our SAP.iO Foundries with a focus on inclusive entrepreneurship. The goal is to help at least 200 startups around the world within the next five years.

Whether the emphasis is on responsible investments, or creating new operating models and benefitting both end users and the environment, 2020 will prove that doing good is good business.

“A palpable innovative energy”

Munich Startup: What makes the Munich startup scene so special?

Erica Davis:The startup scene is Munich is unique because it combines a strong, native entrepreneurial community with incredible resources and talent – a concentration of leading corporations and educational institutions – and a palpable innovative energy. Because of this, the startup ecosystem has grown vastly in the last decade and will only get bigger and brighter.

Munich Startup: Last but not least: Who do startups go to when they come with Want to get in touch with you?

Erica Davis: Whether you’re a startup, investor, mentor, or potential innovation partner, we are happy to hear from you! Reach out to us at sap.io_foundry_munich@sap.com or visit our website.

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