SAP Program Supports Startups with SAP HANA

Photo: iStockphoto
Photo: iStockphoto

Fan Appz, a San Diego, CA-based startup, helps brands grow and engage their social media audiences, then tap the rich vein of behavioral-data from the interaction on these channels. Using the company’s Personalized Marketing Platform, Fan Appz customers can capture and analyze information shared on social platforms  by existing and potential “fans” of their brand – from basic demographics to highly personal preferences – and use it to hone their marketing efforts.

Though Fan Appz, founded in 2010, is a young company, its clients have some of the largest social media audiences in the world. By March 2012, Fan Appz managed data representing hundreds of millions of fans and followers, in the context of their client’s increasingly sophisticated (read: complex) marketing campaigns. To address these challenges, the company went in search of a technology partner capable of satisfying their hefty technical-requirements. They chose SAP HANA.

Fan Appz applied for, and was accepted into the SAP Startup Focus Program, a development and growth accelerator that helps startups adopt and develop new applications on SAP HANA. “By joining (SAP Startup Focus) we were able to get the hands-on training and access to resources we needed to very quickly begin development,” says Fan Appz CEO Jon Siegal.

Fan Appz is one of more than 200 companies participating in the year-old program that helps big data, predictive, and real-time analytics startups build products that leverage SAP HANA.  The end-to-end program offers a variety of resources for young companies including technology, training, technical advice, and go-to-market support

SAP Startup Focus is a diverse, global program with member companies on four continents representing multiple business models – B2B , B2E, B2C, and M2M (machine to machine). Program participants have, to date, established use cases in 22 industries and nine lines of business, 60 percent of which fall outside of SAP’s traditional domains of expertise.

Next page: How it works

Kaustav Mitra, the SAP Startup Focus global program lead (Photo: SAP)
Kaustav Mitra, the SAP Startup Focus global program lead (Photo: SAP)

“We feel very privileged to work on a program that gives us the opportunity to take SAP to a new audience – many of the companies have never heard of SAP, let alone SAP HANA,” says Kaustav Mitra, the SAP Startup Focus global program lead.

According to Mitra, the program has three objectives:

  • Make SAP HANA’s breakthrough capabilities easily available to the startup community for development;
  • Offer a simple, inexpensive and effective development accelerator to all eligible startups; and,
  • Work as a one-stop advocacy group to help startups navigate, commercialize, and go-to-market with SAP.

“The success of SAP HANA platform will only be ensured if those who are using the platform are successful,” he says.

Toward that aim, the Startup Focus program helps participating startups from proof-of-concept to production, providing access to SAP HANA expertise, licensing, training and education throughout the lifecycle.  The program also helps startups productize their solutions by providing marketing and promotional support and access to press, analysts, and investors – among them SAP Ventures, which has a dedicated fund for startups addressing big-data challenges with SAP HANA.

To date more than 40 startups in the program have a development that’s production ready – a customer can buy it today.

How it Works

The Startup Focus program is open to new applicants but is selective; the 200 current participants were culled from an application pool of 800+ startups. It cuts both ways though, as Mitra explains.

Next page: Upcoming SAP Startup Forum events – in person and virtual

“Yes, startups need to apply for the program,” he says. “But this is as much SAP pitching to the startup community as it is startups pitching to SAP. We’re trying to become part of the community, part of the consideration.”

The first step for interested companies is simple: Register for the SAP Startup Focus program. A program manager will review the information and contact you. Meanwhile, you’ll  receive an invitation to an SAP Startup Forum event where you can learn more.

Upcoming SAP Startup Forum events – in person and virtual

Companies accepted into the program begin the end-to-end process, beginning with coaching and training toward building a prototype. Proof-of-concept follows, and ultimately development of a commercial product. Once production-ready, SAP assists with sales and marketing.

SAP Startup program services are provided for free, and participating companies retain 100 percent of their intellectual property. Costs are incurred only when the startup begins selling their SAP HANA-based product, at which time they must buy embedded licenses.

What it all means

Mitra says the Startup Focus program is going full-steam-ahead into its second year, with plans to deepen its relationships and become more active in startup-sector events, particularly in the areas of analytics and big data. The effort, he says, is one of many that supports a fundamental change underway at SAP. “For 40 years SAP has been an enterprise application company. We’ve never been a platform company. Our success will therefore depend on making our partners successful.”