Big Data, Big Dreams, and Big Ideas

Startup Forum_SAP
Startup Forum Berlin, Photo: SAP

Start-up companies pitched their business ideas at the second annual SAP Startup Forum Berlin 2013 on Wednesday, June 19. A final group of 21 companies were then accepted to participate in this year’s SAP Startup Focus Program. The winners will receive one year of free SAP HANA software, marketing, and support, as well as potential access to venture capital.

This year’s finalists include Apaxo GmbH, Blue Cell Networks GmbH, Brand a Trend GmbH, ChargePartner GmbH, CONIS Risk Consulting, ConWeaver GmbH, Deltamethod, Echobot Media Technologies GmbH, EGR Energy Systems GmbH, Elefunds, enercast GmbH, GoEuro Travel GmbH, 360°, JC Analytics GmbH, Paymill, RetentionGrid, Sablono, VersionEye GmbH, yetu AG, yovisto GmbH, Zellkraftwerk.

The idea for the SAP Startup Forum was launched in March 2012 at SAP in Palo Alto, California. Colleagues recognized that SAP HANA was the silver bullet for a growing number of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs who were looking to get their ideas off of the launch pad and into the market. They wanted to create an event that brought SAP and entrepreneurs together toward the end of the innovation cycle – precisely during the phase when young companies are ready to bring their maturing ideas onto the SAP HANA technology platform.

Start-up events sprout up across markets and regions

Colleagues grabbed their telephones and started calling start-ups throughout the Valley. The groundswell was immediate. The first SAP Startup Forum was held in Palo Alto in 2012. Since then, regional start-up forum events have sprouted up across markets and regions worldwide.

Next page: The benefits of taking part in the program

Start-ups that are accepted into the program receive a number of valuable benefits to get their ideas and new businesses off the ground, from free technical support to valuable advice and access to funding:

  • SAP HANA test and development licenses, a development toolkit, and continuous technical support from SAP worth more than $65,000 at no charge until their businesses run live on SAP HANA. The ideal time frame is one year, but there is some flexibility.
  • Comprehensive go-to-market support, with access to the SAP ecosystem and the chance to attend and present at SAP and non-SAP events.
  • Exposure to SAP Ventures colleagues and other venture capital firms to pursue funding opportunities. In May 2013, SAP Ventures boosted the original size of its SAP HANA fund to $405 million to support entrepreneurs and the SAP HANA ecosystem.

Achieving success with big data and SAP HANA

The new start-ups that attended the event represented a broad range of industries and business models. Ideas ranged from life science robots and semantic video search to managing the Internet of Things on a potentially unlimited scale. The diverse set of participants had one thing in common: to achieve success, they need to process vast amounts of data in real time for their customers. That is where the need for SAP HANA comes in, as it leads to business models that were not possible before:

  • Enercast. The enercast company provides a web service that lets energy producers, traders, and grid operators forecast the performance of wind and solar power plants. To provide the most detailed projections as possible, the forecasts are based on precise weather data. These complex calculations can consume as much as 70 gigabytes of data per day. Access to SAP HANA technology will increase that data capacity to as much as 120 terabytes, enabling improved algorithm implementation for even greater forecast accuracy.
  • RetentionGrid. RetentionGrid helps businesses segment their customers automatically. Armed with richer sets of data, offers can be customized for each business segment. Personalized product recommendations can then be sent to each customer. Over time, RetentionGrid can provide actionable insights into what repeat customers are buying, including real-time buying-trend alerts. RetentionGrid currently delivers around three gigabytes of data per customer to monitor orders, products, shoppers, and promotional campaigns. But the company’s explosive growth means that it will have to move 30 to 50 times the volume of data by next year. Thanks to the high-performance capabilities of SAP HANA, however, RetentionGrid believes the solution will help it keep up with thousands of shops and millions of customers.
  • Zellkraftwerk. Zellkraftwerk, German for “cell power plant,” is helping to fight cancerby building a life sciences robot, or “cytobot.” The machine is actually a highly complex life sciences and informatics ecosystem. By finding precisely the right medical strategy from among hundreds of available therapy combinations, it helps to remove life-threatening tumors. This is achieved with a computer application that compares the patient’s medical history and tumor tissue sample with that of other patients using information from a vast database. The accelerated technology allows researchers to study up to 30 biomarkers at the same time from the same sample. It also makes it possible to understand cellular structures, functions, and mechanisms to discover new biomarkers for potential therapies. The data consumption for these activities is enormous. By integrating SAP HANA into the ecosystem of Zellkraftwerk, the cytobot will be able to speed up its cell analysis and increase quality at the same time.

Next page: The role of SAP HANA

SAP HANA: The core of their business model

Rolf Schumann, Head of SAP HANA Business Development, SAP Deutschland, says that the quality and quantity of the ideas and business models at this year’s SAP Startup Forum was truly impressive. “What really impresses me about the solutions of so many of these participants is that they have big, excellent cases, but they won’t work with today’s technology. That is why they’re here fighting to get SAP technology. They need SAP HANA at the core of their business model.”