India is a significant hub on the global startup scene. There are new companies being formed every other day, each with innovations that could change the world. But the journey on this startup route can be a very difficult one. The competition is tough, and there are many hurdles to cross.
This is why SAP, Europe’s largest technology firm, launched its accelerator programme – SAP Startup Studio. The programme, which started in 2016, focuses mainly on driving entrepreneurship in the country. Participants are prepared with a foundation that is necessary to thrive amidst the cut-throat competition.
SAP’s Startup Studio looks at early or growth-stage startups that leverage disruptive technology to solve business challenges. For the second round this year, the programme team curated over 700+ startups; 51 startups were chosen for the final round of interviews, from which the final 16 were chosen for the programme.
Sellerworx, an e-commerce technology solutions and services firm, which was one of the seven startups in the first batch, recently got acquired by Capillary Technologies, while Ecolibrium Energy, an energy management solutions provider, will be absorbed in the co-Innovation Labs programme at SAP.
“It has been an exciting and eventful year for the first batch of startups at the SAP Startup Studio. Our startup accelerator programme has seen tremendous success, and we are eager to welcome the second cohort of startups joining us this month,” said Dilipkumar Khandelwal, Managing Director, SAP Labs India and Executive Vice President, Enterprise Cloud Services, SAP SE. “By combining our technological expertise with our passion for startups, we are setting the foundation for the next big innovation to come from this part of the world,” he added.
The selected 16 were announced at the Startup Social, a flagship event for the startup ecosystem, which was held on April 20, 2017 at SAP’s Bengaluru campus. The main aim of the event was to provide startups with an opportunity to connect and network with the other players in the community. The event was attended by over 30 venture capital companies and close to 250 participating startups.
Speaking at the event, Bernd Leukert, member of the Executive Board of SAP SE, Products & Innovation, said, “India is a significant hub in the global technology startup scene. Supporting entrepreneurism and new talent is crucial for the future of technological innovation, and the SAP Startup Studio makes startups ready for success.”
The event saw key industry leaders, founders of unicorn startups, startup evangelists and other key stakeholders from the investor community. Nandan Nilekani, entrepreneur, politician and former Chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), was the chief guest at the event.
Nilekani, who has been actively investing in startups over the last couple of years, said, “Today’s startups can learn a lot from earlier generation firms like Infosys, Wipro and Tata Consultancy Service (TCS).” He believes that startups need to think on a long-term basis and focus on the larger picture. He maintained that it was the responsibility of everyone in the ecosystem to make sure that the newer entrepreneurs become robust and build sustainable business models.
The Startup Social also saw other keynote speakers including Viral.B. Shah, Co-founder and CEO, Julia Computing; Kumar Vembu, Co-founder, Zoho Corporation and Founder, CEO GoFrugal Technologies; Shradha Sharma, Founder, YourStory and Tathaghat Varma, Founder and CEO, ThoughtLeadership.in. The event served as a platform for 20 curated startups to pitch their ideas to 20 top VCs.
All about the innovation
Germany-based SAP is a market leader in enterprise application software. The company sees India as a technology and innovation exporter to the world. "India plays an extremely important role in the transformation," said Leukert. "The growth is not only in the market but also in innovation built in India for India and the potential to export this innovation globally."
Startups need big brands like SAP to help them realise the full potential of their product or solution. The accelerator programme does exactly that. Through the programme, they get access to SAP’s technology and customer base, in addition to the year-long mentorship to help make their business model work.
The selected startups all come from different sectors in the country like storage/logistics, content, fintech, warehousing, mobility, artificial intelligence, among others. The 16 names that made it to the accelerator programme are Artifacia, Enexl, Entropika, CloudSek, Datoin, Sociograph, SyMetric, Yellow Messenger, TagBox, iFuture Robotics, Skcript, Refly.IT, Skillate, Instafinancials, Perpule and Appsfly.
These are key enablers in the next wave of technology disruption. After completing the acceleration programme in India, the startups can scale up their ventures independently or partner with SAP for business expansion. They may also get acquired by SAP or any other company interested in them.