SAP brings its startup program to Hungary


Software giant SAP is now launching its startup program in Hungary. “Those who enter the program will not only be able to develop individual applications for one of the most well-known big data technology companies, but they will also help applicants take their products to the market” Manju Bansal (pictured), leader of SAPʼs global startup program, told the Budapest Business Journal.

SAP will strengthen Hungarian startups with its technology, the so-called HANA. What is this program about, why did SAP launch it?

SAP Startup Focus is a global program that works with young companies worldwide and helps them build commercially-viable solutions on the SAP HANA platform, which we then help sell to the SAP installed customer base that reaches nearly 300,000 companies worldwide. The program exists to foster innovation outside of the traditional SAP ecosystem and to encourage, inspire and energize startups to use the power of the HANA platform to develop out-of-the-box solutions.

At our core we are a twelve-month development accelerator that operates worldwide with personnel in the world’s startup centers, such as California, New York, Dublin, Bangalore. For participating startups, the big advantage is that not only do they get our technology for free, there is also no cost to them in terms of other fees or equity sharing.

HANA: this technology enables data processing in-memory, which ensures real-time processing speeds, even with huge amounts of data. This technology is one of the main revenue drivers of SAP.

Are there any prerequisites to joining the program? What do startups need to do to participate in the program?

The program is by invitation only. Startups must apply and be accepted into the program. We primarily focus on startups in the big data, predictive and/or real-time analytics space, and the startup must be able to show the advantage that HANA will provide to their solution. As such we ask them to submit a solution sescription where they describe how and why HANA would give their solution a strategic advantage.

This program was already launched some years ago in several countries. What are the results?
Since the launch of the SAP Startup Focus program in March 2012, nearly 2,000 startups from over 55 countries have joined the program. Right now we have over 150 validated solutions that are available and are being sold to customers. Based on our international successes, we trust that the aforementioned technology would help many Hungarian startups to become successful.

For many of our high value startups, we invest a significant amount of marketing/sales resources in doing things like: (a) Bringing them to key SAP events like SAPPHIRE NOW (b) Having them join us at key industry shows like the Paris Airshow (c) Working 1:1 to get them aligned with SAP sales experts to enable deals (d) Articles in publications like the MIT Technology Review, which highlights some of the amazing work being done by some of them, such as Semantic Visions (e) We also help them refine their business models, train them on making the pitch, introduce them to appropriate venture capitalists and many other things, all intended to help the startup succeed.

Consequently, we have a lot of very interesting startups in our program, with more than 60% of them being from non-traditional SAP markets. These include Convergence CT (from Hawaii, USA) that develops and markets highly secure products to enable patient population health management as well as providing data research analytics for the healthcare, pharmaceutical, and biotechnology industries. Or APX-Labs that is the leader in the enterprise smart glass applications for oil & gas, utilities and manufacturing.

You are in a unique position, by having a deep understanding of what’s going on in the startup domain in many different countries. What are the main, common pain points of startups?
The main problem startups face really falls under three main categories: Access to technology: Identifying and getting access to the right technology at the right price is a key issue for most startups. If you are tying your startup to a certain technology platform, you want to make sure it is mature enough and stable enough for your future needs. And that is really part of the attraction of working with vendors like SAP – you get clear product roadmaps, enterprise grade support, mature product development cycles and no ambiguity on legal/licensing issues. All of which are critical if you are selling to the enterprise market. 

Access to capital: We have existing relationships with a large number of marquee venture capital firms, along with a whole slew of incubators, accelerators, government programs etc., such that we are able to make the right introductions for the appropriate startups. Of course, we have no influence in what happens thereafter as these are generally financial entities and they make their own investing decisions.

Access to customers: Once a startup solution is validated, we have a value engineering team that works with them to define their value proposition, refine their business model and help them create market/sales collateral, among other things. Once that is done, the go-to-market team takes over and for the startups that meet certain success criteria, we work with them on a 1:1 basis to start the sales engagement with SAP’s installed customer base.

You will be launching the program at a local startup event. Can you shed light on the agenda?

On the one hand we are going to present the program in detail, a Czech startup, working in the media sector will share their experiences. We are also preparing interesting roundtable discussions, which explore crowdfunding and the topic of how to sell a product effectively to different target audiences. We are also preparing a prize draw. The detailed schedule of the program can be found on the registration page of the event. We welcome everyone who is interested in these engaging programs.

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