Key Takeaways from the SAP Startup Focus AI & Enterprise Conference

Two hundred attendees representing innovative Bay Area startups, investors and corporations congregated last night at the SAP Palo Alto campus to join the SAP Startup Focus and Silicon Valley Forum to learn about the latest and greatest in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning and participate in the startup pitch competition. “AI is finally coming of age,” said Manju Bansal, VP & Global Program Head at SAP Startup Focus during the opening remarks and “companies can improve business processes by using products that leverage the power of cognitive computing and self-learning systems that mimic the way human brain works.”

The day began with a keynote with Dr. Michael Zeller, SVP AI Strategy & Innovation at Software AG. “Data is the new oil, machine learning is the refinery” is probably Michael’s most remarkable quote. Artificial Intelligence unlocks the value in enterprise data and enables smarter and data-driven decisions. With AI, machine learning and data science we can finally turn data into knowledge. Michael believes that the future of AI in the enterprise is bright.

AI and Retail

Andy Narayanan, VP of Intelligent Commerce at Sentient, told us more about how AI can help retailers retain customers and increase revenue. E-commerce retailers are today facing new challenges, among which is to get a product right so that it can be bought within the first two clicks. Andy thinks of AI in retail applications as a sales associate with deep learning, a system able to understand the links between customers, catalog, and context.

AI and Health

Healthcare is one of the many industries that has been disrupted by AI. The second panel discussed how AI is redefining the doctor-patient relationship and some of the biggest challenges that AI can solve.

Moderator Frank Meerkamp, Managing Director of AI at Accenture welcomed on stage Ash Damle, CEO at Lumiata, Noor Siddiqui, Researcher of the AI Lab at Stanford University, Alexander Levy, Cofounder & COO of Atomwise, and Daniel Golden, Senior Machine Learning Scientist at Arterys. “When the machine and the doctor disagree, who wins?” is just one of the provocative questions asked by the moderator and addressed by the panelists.

Ash Damle from Lumiata discussed how AI can help clinicians scale since they can only spend so much time with a particular patient. Daniel Golden from Arterys agrees and believes that doctors are most likely to buy something that makes their life easier. While the advantages of AI are plentiful such as making diagnoses cheaper, the FDA approval can be extremely painful according to Noor Siddiqui of AI Lab, Stanford University.

Retail and Healthcare are just two of the many industries that were covered during the 6 hours of keynotes, presentations, and panel discussions. Some of the other industries included Automotive, Banking, and Industrial IoT.


The Pitch

Six innovative AI startups took the stage to compete for the titles of “the most innovative” and “the most transformative” company by pitching their solutions to a panel of 3 judges. Each pitch was 3 minutes long and received 2 minutes of feedback from the judges.

After an exciting 30 minutes of watching startups do what they do best, pitch their solutions with passion, Ryan Welsh from Kyndi emerged as the winner of “ the most transformative” solution and Ian Foley from AcuteIQ won “the most innovative” solution award.

Make sure to come back to our site in a few weeks to watch the video of the pitch competition and panel discussion.

Follow us on Twitter @SAPStartups to get the latest.