Startup Focus Program – Inviting all startups to join us!

Posted by Vishal Sikka on August 21, 2012

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I often talk about the unprecedented success of HANA in terms of customers, revenues and new frontiers, however till now, I haven’t talked much about the unbelievable energy and excitement around the Startup Program, that I commenced almost 5 months ago. For a young and first ever such program at SAP, to see the kind of participation, not just in the US, but across all continents has been remarkable! It is both humbling and a great testament of times to come, when I see and meet passionate founders and entrepreneurs in the largest startup hubs in the world, come energized and enthused to build on our Platform. And this is just the beginning. So far we have organized 9 Startup Forums globally; 6 more are planned in the upcoming weeks. It’s great to see the program go from, strength to strength.

SAP and Startups? Many people have asked us in surprise. The truth is, with SAP HANA, we have a unique opportunity to offer a valuable, disruptive technology to third party software developers as an open platform for development. Startups, being inherently agile, are well positioned to take advantage of this and really the push the technology to its limits. On our part, we have worked hard to live up to our promise as ‘The New SAP’. We have been working at startup speed, cutting through red tape wherever possible, reworking processes to be friendlier to young entrepreneurs and making ourselves available to help them 24×7. In one of our favorite validations – one startup we worked with said “We used to joke in the nineties that SAP stood for ‘Slow And Painful’. Now we’ll have to eat our words – that just does not apply anymore“. When Hasso and I met with the first few startups at SAPPHIRE Orlando, after an energizing one hour conversation he told me “Vishal, the reason we need to work with these startups is because the stuff they are doing is three years ahead of what our enterprise customers will want“. By learning from their imagination we can imbibe the best of the global startup culture and continue delivering the best enterprise solutions on the planet.

So what is this program and how does it work? Currently, we are in the recruitment stage of the Startup Focus program. Besides the popular events in Palo Alto, SAP Startup Forums have been held in Waterloo, Tel Aviv, Seattle, Beijing, Bangalore and, most recently, in Berlin. Yet to come are Startup Forums in Tokyo, Sydney, Dublin, Paris and Singapore. Overall, we’ve met with nearly 600 (six hundred) startups and from them selected the most promising ones to move ahead in the program. Only a small percentage of the startups we meet are invited to the next phase of the Startup Focus program. Once the startups with strong HANA use cases are identified through a technical evaluation following the forum, they move ahead into the Development Accelerator (DA) stage where they receive support in the form of free training, development licenses and technical support and consulting. Startups that complete a compelling demo in the DA stage, then are promoted via a variety of channels including SAP press releases, SAP events and social media.

At each of these events, we have been encountering amazing new use cases for HANA. In Palo Alto, we met with Liquid Analytics whose Liquid Decisions product offers a whole new approach to enterprise BI delivered on a mobile device. In Tel Aviv, we met PrimeQue offering a unique variation on enterprise semantic search. We were pleased to find the great teams from Cyborg Trading in Waterloo, who are building sophisticated automated trading systems and Appature in Seattle, who is synthesizing in-depth customer views and using that to measure ROI from marketing campaigns. Everywhere we go we find amazing ideas, inimitable use cases, all dealing with the new possibilities stemming from real time analytics, on large data sets. And once again, new realities that were both unthinkable and unachievable before! So all you founders, entrepreneur’s and evangelists out there, if we haven’t met you as yet, I look forward to meeting you very soon, and working together to make purposeful applications, for our future


For more information about the Startup Focus program, visit the program page at (interested startups can also sign up at the page). You can also find more at the Facebook page at

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