When machines save humans

By Domitilla Caputo February 20, 2017



Humanity and AI will be inseparable” – this is how Manuela Veloso, Head of Machine Learning at Carnegie Mellon University, envisions the future.


As Artificial Intelligence (AI) progresses, more brainpower will be built into tools we use in our daily lives, like phones, computers, vehicles making them smarter and more autonomous. AI is ultimately the result of humanity’s progress. In 1960 the world’s population was 3 billion. Today it is 7 billion out of which 3 billion have access to the internet! The growth of the global internet population came along with an explosion of data, which now, thanks to AI, can be used to improve our lives. The potential of AI-based technologies is high, and improvements are already visible in our daily lives.


For instance, many people are talking today to digital personal assistants such as Siri or Alexa, that help find useful online information and perform more complex tasks like letting you know about an upcoming important meeting on your calendar. We interact with chatbots that can answer our questions while browsing websites without the need to speak to a customer support representative. Our homes are getting smarter too, for example lighting systems can adjust the brightness of lights around the house based on where we are and what we are doing. AI is not just improving our personal lives by making us more productive but also transforming entire industries like healthcare, automotive, and banking industry, just to name a few.


The SAP Startup Focus portfolio includes cutting-edge AI, and Machine Learning based startups across different industries and line of business. Startups that joined the program and are building their solutions on SAP HANA and SAP HANA Cloud Platform can rely on the powerful capability of accessing large amounts of data from different sources.


Galaxi.AI, one of the AI based startups in the SAP Startup Focus portfolio, is an artificial intelligence based platform that analyzes millions of patient data through deep learning and image recognition and has the capability to predict when patients will need health attention, even before symptoms or diseases are visible.

For instance, by deploying Galaxi.AI doctors can be alerted of the high risk of heart failures in patients within months before happening, they can order advanced diagnostic tests and save lives.


Significant amounts of data is already stored in the existing health systems’ databases, and AI algorithms have the ability to mine the data of medical records and provide better and faster health services. Artificial Intelligence enables providers to make quicker and more data oriented decisions, taking in consideration the best option for every patient.



Another example is Convergence CT, a company that developed its solution on SAP HANA, leveraging the power of in-memory technology to rapidly link patient health data from disparate systems to provide a holistic and interactive exploration of data at both population and patient level. One of the biggest challenges in dealing with medical data is the fragmentation of data rather than the volume and HANA is well suited to help with that.

Convergence CT used machine learning to bring together breast cancer data from previously isolated sources – hospital data, such as diagnosis, procedure, labs, surgery and radiology data such as mammography results and personal histories – and used this expanded dataset to develop reports on measures related to standards of care. In late 2013 Advocate Health Care implemented Convergence CT to unify data of breast cancer patients. Breast cancer presents significant challenges from a data perspective: treatment, imaging, screening and diagnostic data are located in different areas and databases, such as physician offices, hospitals, and clinics.


Join us at the conference “AI and the Enterprise: The Future of Smart Software” on February 28th to learn more about the role of AI in enterprise applications and how it can solve some of healthcare’s biggest challenges, and reshape the banking and auto industries, and more.

SAP and Silicon Valley Forum are bringing together investors, innovators, and startups pioneering advances in AI and enterprise software to explore what’s coming next.


Get your tickets here.


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Tips on how to win the 2017 HANA Innovation Award

By Christina Sosa January 30, 2017


1.Submit a Compelling Story

2.Make sure the entry is complete.

3.Include the required Pitch Deck


Submit a Compelling Story


You are a company at the Cutting Edge of Technology and you are Innovating to Win in the Digital Economy. You are transforming your processes, creating compelling solutions for other companies to use, impacting the lives of people around you, enabling new ways of doing business…


NOW TELL us YOUR STORY to get recognized, win the HANA Innovation Award (HIA) and claim your pass for SAPPHIRE Now. ……….But how?


Make sure your entry is complete


The best way is to complete all the requirements of entry submission. This year all entries must complete the template on the HIA website and the Pitch Deck to be considered for an award. The template and the pitch deck guide you to tell your story completely and in a compelling way, so the judges can accurately assess the merits and contributions of your solution and have all the information they need to compare you fairly with the other entries.


Include the required Pitch Deck


Please remember it is imperative to include in your submission:
Your full contact information, describe the solution and what it does, include the results you have obtained, and a quote from a stakeholder to validate your claim. Elaborate on the business problem you are solving and the value it is delivering in terms of impact to people, processes or business models it is enabling. And, don’t forget to include the technological impact of the solution and what technologies it is using. To make your submission stand out amongst others, you can include screen shots, architectural diagrams and other compelling information that you feel will help the judges see you as a Winner.


Don’t risk getting disqualified      If the entry is incomplete, and did not include all the information requested in the HIA template and the Pitch Deck it will not be accepted.

Don’t Wait. Go ON…Submit your Most Awesome Winning Entry to potentially take home the Prize……


Access HIA website and the Pitch Deck


You can join the conversation on social media at #InnovationStory.


Blog written by Rani Goel

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Success at NRF!

By Dave Katona January 26, 2017



Startup Focus attended the National Retail Federation’s annual “Big Show” in New York. NRF’s Big Show had over 33,000 attendees representing nearly 3,300 retailers and SAP’s presence was very well received as one of the largest exhibitors and sponsors of the event.


Our 8 featured startups that attended and showcased at our booth were: Blippar, Point Inside, Boodskapper, 42, Sizegrid, QLX, OpsVeda, and ShopUp. Both SizeGrid and ShopUp were new to the NRF event and traveled from the EMEA and MEE region to showcase their apps.  The participation from both Point inside and 42 had 4 attendees each.



We had fantastic support from the Retail team with Stephen Sparrow, Matt Laukaitis, Craig Schertler, Tom Savoie and the retail event team. The retail sales field was engaging as well. One clear message from Matt and Craig is that in 2017 they are looking to drive revenue with our partners. We saw a much higher level of engagement since the Miami Retail forum last year.


Blippar was prominently featured in the main SAP booth with the help of Tom Savoie and the booth as full of traffic. A follow up meeting with Matt Laukaitis on Wednesday gained sponsorship for POC’s with customers and further engagement with the Retail field. This is a great move forward with the Retail field.


Point Inside who was recently validated and NRF was their first event with SAP, had multiple customer meetings including scheduled meetings with the AE’s for Publix and Macy’s from us. Since there was great traction with our field and Retail executives. Matt Laukitis will now work with me on driving Point Inside further with the field post NRF.  In addition,42 had multiple customer meetings and introductions to AE’s including the AE on Ralph Lauren that is a key target for them.


On Sunday we attended the SAP Women Forward and Intel Event with Boodskapper and Point Inside getting to network with SAP customers and Retail team. We also attended the NRF Big Show Monday reception at TAO Uptown with most of our partners able to network with SAP team and customers with 400 attendees.


We plan to showcase again at next year’s NRF event located on “Partner Row”!




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Startups with an Italian Accent

By Domitilla Caputo January 26, 2017



The Vatican, the Coliseum, and the leaning tower of Pisa have for many years been amongst Italy’s main attractions.  Now Italy is about to add one more to its list: Startups. After a few years of slow growth, the Italian startup ecosystem today is blossoming. According to a report by Milan Polytechnic University, in 2016 high-tech startups in Italy received investments for €217mln, out of which €35m were from foreign entities. To date, more than 6,700 innovative startups are registered in the Register of Companies of the Chambers of Commerce. They are active in the most relevant fields of innovation, such as Internet of Things, augmented reality, agritech, fintech, and fashion.


Among many initiatives implemented both at a national and a regional level, in late 2012 Italy’s government passed the “Growth’s Decree 2.0”, a specific law for startups that aims at fostering innovation and supporting young talent. To be acknowledged as an “innovative startup”, companies need to meet strict criteria such as having their headquarters in Italy – or in another EU country with at least one branch in Italy- and have a yearly turnover of under $5million. Innovative startups qualify for further incentives among which are tax reduction and tailor-made labor law.


The North of Italy is home to over half of these startups with about 20% in Lombardy, the region which includes Milan. That’s primarily driven by the fact that lots of big corporations have offices in Milan, including SAP. The presence of big corporations, the excellence of the food industry and high fashion, the university prestige and the increased vitality that followed Expo 2015 make Milan the best place to launch a startup.


SAP is proud to be playing a role in nurturing the bustling Italian startup community. Italian startups have joined the SAP Startup Focus programand some have already successfully completed the program and built their businesses’ using SAP’s innovative technology like for example Espedia, a management consulting company. In 2013 Espedia joined the Startup Focus program and developed PDP4FASHION, a new solution built on HANA, SAP’S in memory database, which accelerates analytics and predictive capabilities and allows customers in the Retail and Fashion industries to run their businesses in real-time and manage time, costs, and product design along the entire value chain.


Another example is MobyPlanner, a company that develops real-time and predictive analytic solutions to support urban mobility for both consumer and enterprise market. MobyPlanner was founded in November 2013 and incubated at PoliHub, the Business Accelerator at Milan Polytechnic University.


Their success didn’t take long. In 2013 Mobyplanner won Call4Idea by PoliHub & SAP: they have been awarded for using new technology, big data, and predictive analytics to support companies and their traveling staff during planning activities of appointments and optimize itineraries. In 2013 Mobyplanner was one of the semifinalists at TehcChrunch Italy Startup competition and in 2016 they received the Business and Innovation Award by Esri Italia.


The Italian startup success story is just beginning and we at the StartupFocus program couldn’t be more excited to be part of it.


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Join us in Berlin on February 7th!

By Frances Roche January 24, 2017

Welcome to 2017 Startups!


This year the Startup Focus Programme will kick off their European forums in Berlin on February 7th, hosted at the Data Space by SAP.  The DATA SPACE is SAP’s flagship space in Berlin. It is a space to meet, work, and eat together in a stimulating and innovative environment. Offering a physical handshake with innovators, change makers, partners, startups, artists, Berlin’s multifaceted community, and all people interested in Digital Transformation. The DATA SPACE is build up out of four interconnected areas: DATA HALL, DATA KITCHEN, DATA HUB, and DATA ROOM.


2016 was an incredible year for the Startup Focus Programme, where startups engaged has now topped 4,300. 825 are now actively developing on SAP Technology and almost 250 solutions are now validated and available to customers.  Our startups are innovating across all sectors (pharma, healthcare, manufacturing) and developing solutions in process mining, wearables and IoT to name a few.  Learn more from Director of Engagement for EMEA, Gary Parnell, on how your startup will benefit from joining our programme.


Featuring a key note address by one of our most successful graduates of the programme, Sablono, co founder Lukas Olbrich will detail the journey of a startup who has engaged with SAP and continuously innovates on SAP HANA.  Sablono’s software is designed specifically for project controllers, managers, owners, and construction companies. The mobile app solution allows the user to easily track progress across areas of multiple construction sites. The user can control the development of a project by recording the progress of all individual activities that are being executed on site


Also on the agenda is Otto Birnbaum, Principal at ParTech Ventures, who will delve into the opportunities and advantages of being a startup in Berlin right now and especially in the wake of Brexit.  Partech Ventures is a transatlantic venture capital firm, with offices in
San Francisco, Paris and Berlin, who invest from $200K to $50M in technology companies from seed to growth stage.

Join us in Berlin by registering at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/sap-startup-focus-forum-berlin-tickets-30847824674


Learn More: http://startups.sap.com/

Follow Us: @SAPStartups

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SAP India SAP-ISB Social Enterprise Jumpstart

By Christina Sosa January 09, 2017

(Reposted from https://blogs.wdf.sap.corp/labsindianews/2016/12/14/sap-isb-social-enterprise-jumpstart/)

By Gunjan Patel
 |  December 14, 2016


SAP-ISB Social Enterprise Jumpstart – a Social Enterprise Accelerator initiative, aims to nurture the social entrepreneurship ecosystem with relevance to national priorities. The program identified five social enterprise start-ups and provided them mentorship, de-risk the business and access to networks to accelerate their growth.


The 3-day immersion boot camp was conceived through a partnership between SAP & ISB where Business Model Innovation & Design Thinking led approaches were used to mentor 5 startups.



A CSR Initiative to Strengthen Entrepreneurship Ecosystem

In order to propel social entrepreneurship ecosystem, and accelerate the emerging enterprises, SAP CSR has been partnering with incubators at IIM Ahmedabad, IIT Bombay and ISB.



SAP – ISB Social Enterprise Jumpstart is a part of SAP’s effort to foster India’s entrepreneurship ecosystem, create growth driven and investible startups. The boot camp was a part of a 3-phase immersion initiative.



  • Help identify the risks inherent to their businesses
  • Leverage the design led tools for business modeling and better understanding of user experiences


SAP experts worked as part of the team of the startups, helped them identify the challenges and potential in their businesses.


DAY 1:

The workshop was initiated through a round of introduction by the startups, the mentors & a brief on what the program itself would offer the startups. The startups too were asked to voice their expectations from the workshop.


jmpstrt2.pngAs a first step, the startups were taken through the process of mapping their business model as they currently are to a business model canvas provided by the coaches.


Startups then pitched their businesses with respect to the challenges or social unmet needs they are solving, as well as the challenges or complexities they are facing.


The next important step was a more focused identification and & detailed analysis of the issues faced by the startups. They brainstormed within their teams with 2 external participants joining in to play the ‘devil’s advocates’ in each team.

Data and feedback are crucial to evolution of the startup and research helps with that. Following an introduction to research relevant to startups, the startups interviewed users.


As part of this process they arrived at problem statement, thought through “How Might We (HMW)” to solve the challenges, prepare interview questionnaire & go on to prepare a research plan.


They were advised on additional research as required by subject matter experts and on secondary research.


DAY 2:

As a warm-up exercise to start the day, the startup teams had to create a story by combining words written by each participant on post-its were exchanged with the next person.


They then dived into brainstorming & synthesizing the finding of the previous day to derive insight statements that were extreme.


With these statements, they were asked to come up with their points of view (POV) & HMW which they would then present to whole group & receive feedbacks for. This process involved finding keywords, ideating & building each other’s ideas. During this session the mentors also discussed some ideation methods and tools.


Based on the earlier exercise, the startups reviewed, prioritized and reworked on their product canvas, which involved evaluating & deciding, filtering ideas based on whether they are radical, implementable or viable. This helped in the next step of refining their business model with new ideas. This was followed by internal presentation & feedback.


DAY 3:

jmpstrt4.pngA typical exercise during design thinking, the marshmallow challenge was used in a modified form was used as a warm-up exercise for the final day of the workshop. The startup teams were provided just newspaper & tape with which they were asked to build the tallest structure they could. There was a clear winner very soon. The inference from the exercise was also that it was important to invest sufficient time & effort into a strong foundation like the winning team had.


Back to working on their start-ups, the teams were asked to build their Minimum Viable Product (MVP), a validation plan based on the users of their product & actionable metrics. This process also involved preparing questions based on previous feedback and getting validation from users previously spoken to.
Remapping Business Model Canvas (BMC)

During this session, the teams worked on creating or modifying their BMC as per validated ideas. They adjusted & refined the different blocks of their business since their BMC was now added or modified. They defined action items for themselves including tests with dates & identifying responsible person to carry them out.
Final Session

Each team presented their learnings & action items including their new BMC & an RACI (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed) Matrix followed by a Q&A.


NEXT STEPSjmpstrt5.png

  1. Second Immersion boot camp in January end or February
    1. Business model innovation
    2. Identifying and Understanding Markets to Scale Up and Marketing Model
    3. Strategy
    4. Creating and communicating the impact
  2. Third boot camp in February or March
    1. Finance & Negotiations
    2. Fund raising
    3. Team building



jmpstrt6.pngColks (Centre of Learning, Knowledge & Services}

COLKS is an enterprise that intends to create an ecosystem which propagates inclusive economic growth through sustainable environment harvesting. More specifically, the company aims to empower youth and rural population in and around Shillong, Meghalaya through innovative and market-oriented trainings, link their product and produces through market extension services and providing linkages to financial institutions.



Ftcash is a fast growing financial technology company which aims to empower micro-merchants and entrepreneurs with the power of electronic payments and loans with zero upfront cost and no monthly rentals. Merchants are able to offer their customers multiple payment methods including credit cards, debit cards, net banking, mobile wallets, PayPal and more. ftcash helps businesses avail working capital loans through its proprietary credit and risk assessment tools.

Gruhaa is a social enterprise which aims to provide safe and secure housing solutions to people living in tin sheet, mud or dilapidated houses. Their vision is to improve living standards of underprivileged families by providing them with housing solutions and their mission is provide such housing solutions to 10,000 families by 2020.
jmpstrt9.pngMillet Bowl

The company has three impact domains nutrition, agriculture and enterprise development where they try to create impactful businesses through newer models by re-imagining markets, livelihoods, scale & scope that will create assets. As social enterprise, they aim to reduce poverty, hunger and malnutrition. One of the ways they intend to achieve this is by trying to improve the lives of local farmers by assisting them in growing and selling a variety of millets. They also work with consumers in helping combat food wastage & spreading knowledge on millet foods.




An aggregator online platform, for handloom products, which allows weavers to directly sell their products to customers. Weavers get better margins for their products and customers can buy authentic and quality products in clutter free environment. They work at the grass root levels in various handloom clusters. We directly source products from the weavers located in various handloom clusters across India. Their ground force handholds and provides doorstep service to weavers helping them sell their products on our online platform.



We would like to thank the mentors – Aditya Trivedi, T. Muthuraj, Nitish Kumar Agrawal and Experts – Vikram Kulkarni, Prasad Gokulapathi, Suraj Sudhi, Mukesh Gupta, Jayananda A Kotri, Nitin Arora, Venkata Sivkumar Sridhar Desiraju and Vijaya Bhaskar A for their support, commitment and expertise during this boot-camp. We would also like to thank Lakshman P. Seshadri (Lucky) for his support in the initial planning and setting-up of the agenda for the workshop.

We would also like to thank Anzy Mohammed A. and Justin Paul for enabling us to collaborate with Startup Studio and conduct the workshop there.



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SAP Recognizes and Supports Startups in Central Europe

By Christina Sosa January 06, 2017


Following a series of local events in November to identify the best Start-Ups in Central Europe, SAP joined the Grand Finale of the Central European Start-Up Award (CESA) in Ljubljana to sponsor two critical awards, the Start-Up of the Year Award and the Most Influential Woman Award. SAP Labs Network COO, Clemens Daeschle, and the lead of the SAP Start Up Focus Program for EMEA, Luisa Silva, connected with some of the hottest startups and talent in the CEE region to share our message about how SAP can help young entrepreneurs convert their ideas into feasible and viable business ventures.




CESA is a great opportunity to connect and influence but in solid start-up tradition it is also a real celebration. SAP is therefore proud to announce the winners of the Start-Up of the Year award, Brainly (picture, right, with Luisa Silva, SAP Start Up Focus Program, EMEA, and Michal Borkowski, CEO & Co-Founder, Brainly), and the Most Influential Woman in Central Europa (in Tech), Urska Srsen from Bellabeat (picture, below, with Clemens Daeschle, COO SAP Labs Network, and Urska Srsen). With the winners announced, the party finally started in style @ABC Hub, where the corporate mask was dropped and everyone went back to the roots, discussing tech, dreaming big and opening up new opportunities to make the world run better.

SAP’s attitude is that to be successful in a digital economy, companies need to cooperate, co-innovate, and share their ideas and knowledge. We are already working with more than 2000 startups around the world, combining our innovation platform with disruptive ideas in virtually all areas of business. At CESA, SAP wants to raise further awareness about some of its programs focused on startups.


Startup Focus Program

The Startup Focus Program is a 12-month global initiative to develop and accelerate market traction of new applications based on SAP HANA that apply Big Data, predictive and real-time analytics. Celonis and Weisbeerger are two examples of successful program members.

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The startup scenario for 2017 in Brazil

By Victor Dellorto January 05, 2017

We are approaching the end of 2016, a year that was not inspiring due to the political and economic scenario in Brazil, but a year that brought maturity to the startups ecosystem. In this year, startups were able to gain even more space in the Brazilian market, both in terms of investment and market acceptance.

The market has accepted the startups with great ease, since large Brazilian companies as well as multinationals have invested in programs of contact with the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Increasingly, the number of investment funds and corporate ventures to be created is growing, as well as the angel-investor movement, and it is in the face of this growth scenario that I would like to share my vision for 2017.

I believe that the leaderships of Brazilian companies already have an understanding of the need to innovate, as well as the commitment to innovation, and the vast majority have opted for the methodology of “Open Innovation” as a way to innovate, getting in touch with the ecosystem of Startups. This movement has been happening through partnerships between companies and accelerators, meetups and hackathons events.

That said, the Brazilian ecosystem is already prepared for the next level, millionaire tickets investment from Brazilian investors, proceeding to the internationalization of Brazilian startups and supplying the need of the big corporations with regard to innovative solutions, bringing trend technologies for traditional business.

I hope that by 2017 we will see more startups working in agribusiness, as well as enjoying our Brazilian differential and the increase in the use of artificial intelligence. I also believe that we will find more Brazilian startups in the theme of smart cities due to the great global demand for these solutions. These topics, in particular, can easily put Brazil on the global map of startups through “unicorns” and strengthen the ecosystem more and more.

In 2017 Brazil will not present any more “copycats” but Brazilian solutions with possibilities of global scales.

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HANA Innovation Awards 2017

By Christina Sosa January 04, 2017

To our SAP Startup Focus members:

The SAP HANA Innovation Award  (HIA) is back for its 4th season. It has grown every year since inception. In 2016, we had over 100 entries, and we hope for even more in 2017.  Participation in the award is a great way to highlight game changing stories of innovation using SAP solutions.  SAP  puts the full weight of it’s marketing engine behind the program. Participating SAP Startup Focus members benefit from extensive media exposure and visibility both leading to and following the SAP SAPPHIRE NOW conference. In 2016, the HIA website and social media campaign generated 19M impressions and 141K site views.


This year we are expanding the award to include customers who are using any of the SAP Platform and Technology solutions.  All SAP Startup Focus members who have developed a commercial application for their customers or deployed SAP HANA, SAP Hana Cloud Platform (HCP), Analytics , or other SAP  Platform and Technology solutions can enter. The attached pdf provides details regarding the key elements of the HIA 2017 award as it relates to tacks, categories for submission, the judging criteria and the awards.


SAP Startup Focus members can submit their entries in the customer track, submitting a story about a commercial applications they have developed using  SAP Platform and Technology solutions or the partner track, submitting jointly with a customer to tell that customers’ story. The submission entry is in two parts:  a solution presentation (The Pitch Deck) and a simplified online entry form.


Get started now!  The submission period has begun and we encourage you to start working on your entries as early as possible.  The deadline for entry submission is March 17th 2017.  Visit the 2017 HIA website for rules and regulation related to the award. If you are not already a member from last year, please send an email to Jeff Thompson to receive an invitation to the HIA Partner JAM site where you will find even more information as well as tips and tools to help you get the most out of the award.

You can join the conversation on social media at #InnovationStory.


Please send an email for any additional information or clarification.

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