BENGALURU CALLING SAP’s incubation centre, called Startup Studio, will join global technology giants like Microsoft and Oracle in riding the wave in India’s Silicon Valley
German software maker SAP has picked Bengaluru for its first startup incubation centre, joining the likes of Microsoft and Oracle that have established similar programmes in India’s main hub for emerging technology businesses.
SAP Startup Studio, to be launched on Thursday, will offer a 12month accelerator programme under which it will invest financially in startups as well as provide space, access to technology infrastructure, mentoring and business consulting.
“We will initially start with reserving 75 seats for the first 10 startups and then we will leave all options open,” Bernd Leukert, member of SAP’s executive board, told ET. “Depending on individual outcome, we might become an equity stakeholder, just have a financial engagement or create a strategic partner programme.”
Incubator-mentee relationships between global technology giants and early-stage startups are typically symbiotic. While technology giants such as Google and Microsoft stand to gain faster and direct access to cutting-edge innovations, startups get necessary hand-holding, access to advanced technology , potential global clients and the validation they so covet.
SAP, a global leader in business management software, will select startups in technology and related domains that somewhat complement its product portfolio, Leukert said.
It will primarily scout for startups in the internet of things, cloud computing and big-data domains and the retail and healthcare segments, he said.
The company has finalised seven startups for its initial programme–cloud-based healthcare platform CloudKare; reverse logistics service provider Blubirch; conversation commerce chatbot Niki.ai; ecommerce marketplace solution provider Sellerworx; sales performance management platform Stratawiz; energy management IoT company Ecolibrium Energy; and business-to-business ecommerce provider Moglix.
“SAP is the leader in (enterprise resource planning, or ERP) software and… most manufacturing companies we work with use SAP’s software,” said Rahul Garg, founder of Moglix. “By working closely with SAP we can bring in the benefit of integrated supply-chain in a seamless man ner to the customer.”
SAP’s incubation centre will be housed within a new facility the company is building at its Whitefield campus with seating for 2,500 people. SAP has invested about 50 million (. `380 crore) in the facility; it did not disclose how much it is allocating for the incubation programme.
SAP is not new to startups in India. The company said it has been involved with startups here in a stealth mode for at least two years now. It runs a social entrepreneurship and innovation programme in collaboration with the Centre for Innovation, Incubation and Entrepreneurship (SAPCIIE) at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.
On why companies like SAP and Oracle actively seek to be involved with startups, Mohandas Pai, an angel investor and founder of venture capital firm Aarin Capital, said: “All large corporates have realised that they are facing threat from young disruptive companies.”
Large corporates also believe it is in their best interests if startups use their technology, he said, and a good way to ensure this is through such programmes. This also helps young companies get access to technology, finance and mentorship, Pai said.
Source: The Economic Times (Delhi)