Author: Barbora Calaba, SAP Startup Focus, Outreach and Onboarding
It’s a well-known fact that Germany belongs to one of the most innovative countries in the world. Bloomberg Business week recently ranked Germany as #5 most innovative country in the world. Germany also ranks as #6 high tech density country, and #6 country in patent fillings.
The Startup Focus team well aware of the country potential, hosted two extraordinary successful forums in Berlin in 2012 and 2013. This time, we decided to go west to see what western Germany startups from the Rhine-Neckar region have to offer. Incidentally, SAP was founded in the Rhine-Neckar city of Mannheim, 41 years ago by five former IBM engineers. Later on, the five co-founders moved its Headquarters to nearby Walldorf and from there they accelerated a company that has become a legend and a global leader in enterprise software products.
For an outreach to local startup communities SAP Startup Focus joined forces with local SAP University Alliances and most notably with University of Mannheim’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.
As a result of this successful joint-venture, on Wednesday February 26 in the morning, Dr. Bernd Welz, Executive Vice President for Solution and Knowledge Packing took up the stage and welcomed over 100 attendees, over 30 startups and 20 investors at SAP AppHaus in Heidelberg.
Dr. Bernd Welz, Executive Vice President, Solution & Knowledge Packaging, SAP
11 startups presented their products in 4 minute pitches and had an opportunity to answer questions within 2 minutes. At first, there was indeed a bit of controversy and irritation over such a short time to present one’s idea but eventually all presenters delivered great, well-prepared presentations and received big hands from the audience.
Jury assigned with a task to select three award winning pitches consisted of entrepreneurs, academics, SAP HANA experts and SAP Startup Focus Leads.
Towards the end of the day Niraj Singh, the forum Master of Ceremony came up with pretty exciting announcement: “Let’s jump on buses and go to d-code to see who will be the winners of Best Big Data Solution, Most Innovative Solution and People’s Choice at SAP Arena in Mannheim! How cool is it to receive your trophy from SAP’s CTO?” In about half an hour, psyched startups were lined up in the first rows of SAP Arena in Mannheim to learn whether they leave with or without a glass trophy handed over by Vishal Sikka.
Startups waiting for an awards announcement
We had one more surprise for 2 teams: to pitch their solution to the d-code audience. OPAL Analytics and eiKard were selected to present to the SAP Arena audience.
At 6.45 PM Dr. Vishal Sikka, CTO and Board Member of SAP and Dr. Bernd Welz, Executive Vice President for Solution and Knowledge Packing announced 3 winning teams: eiKard being the Most Innovative solution, Snowcap being the Best Big Data solution, and Contagt voted by forum attendees as People’s Choice.
eiKard team happy about their award
5 minutes for Vishal to pitch his idea
Indeed, a very fruitful event. If you’d like to participate in one of our future events, please visit: http://www.saphana.com/community/learn/startups/events
For more information about SAP Startup forum Heidelberg and agenda, visit: http://www.saphana.com/community/learn/startups/events/heidelberg
 Most Innovative in the World in 2014: countries