By Mark Noronha, Global Lead – Startup Engagement & Onboarding, SAP Startup Focus
On March 11, the SAP Startup Forum continued its journey across the Americas with its first Forum in Palo Alto for the year at SAP Labs. Hot on the heels of its San Francisco event, this was the first of the new, more intimate format Forums. SAP Startup Forums are events designed for startups & startup community members to engage with SAP’s Startup Focus Program. With over 100+ Forums conducted globally already and many more in store for the year 2014, there’s a lot to come!
The morning began with a brief welcome & introduction by Aiaz Kazi, SVP Products & Innovation, Platform Strategy and Adoption, speaking about the ethos and success of the Startup Focus program globally. Mark Noronha, Global Lead – Startup Engagement & Onboarding provided a quick overview of the program and encouraged the startups to dig deeper & understand they program better – and most of all – understand the SAP HANA platform. The event Keynote Panel discussion that followed was titled “SAP HANA: Product Directions, Innovation & Startups”. An energetic and interactive discussion, it was moderated by Amit Sinha (SVP Database & Technology Marketing) with Chris Hallenbeck (Global VP HANA Solution Management) and our very own Kaustav Mitra (Global VP & Program Lead SAP Startup Focus). The messages were clear – SAP is about Innovation. SAP HANA is the mature & constantly evolving platform of choice for the real time world. Startups worldwide are adopting the SAP HANA platform as the vehicle to unleash their innovation into both the enterprise & the consumer sectors – and enabling all of this is the SAP Startup Focus program.
As the day rolled on and the anticipation built towards the Startup Pitches the participants mingled over lunch and broke off towards the Geek and Not-So-Geek Tracks … ha!! finally a funny track title !! The discussion theme continued in both tracks – with David Sonnenschein and his Development Acceleration team going geek into SAP HANA in an interactive mode while the no-so-geeks had conversations with Robert Kapanen and his Market Enablement team and Rami Branitzky from SAP Ventures. The sun was beckoning so the not so geeks stepped out and grilled Simon Bain, CEO , Simplexo & Sanjay Dayal, Co-founder, Agralogics who had swung by to share their journey as participants of the Startup Focus program. As one of the participants remarked – “this is truly personalized ” !!
An then it was time – Startup Pitch time !! There they were on stage – the CEO’s of some very cool startups : ReviverMX, Eyeris, Queue Technologies, Zettar, Gausssoft, Synergysuite, ElSakan and YacTraq. And they pitched their cool eye tracking technology, to Internet of Things for Fleet Management to Pre-Tail , yes that was not a typo – to marketplaces in the Middle East. And to our delight – they were all very interested in building their products on SAP HANA.
Finally a long and eventful day was put into fun mode with the Startup Forum Investing game – as the room filled with good music, food, cocktails and SAP colleagues investing with specially printed Startup Focus dollars. The awards ceremony that capped the day resulted in: Eyeris Technologies being selected for the People’s Choice Award as the coolest startup. Gausssoft Inc received the award for the Most Innovative Startup and ReviverMX for the best Big Data Startup.
PS: What’s next on you radar? For us, it is DEMO Enterprise on April 3rd in San Francisco and upcoming Startup Forums in Boston, Toronto & New York – be there !!!