Building an Ecosystem of Innovation for HR Leaders with SAP.iO

With so many changes in the workplace, companies need access to solutions that enable them to be flexible and innovative. Through SAP.iO Fund and SAP.iO Foundries, SAP helps ensure that customers can easily access the latest technologies.

The SAP.iO Foundries program is the company’s global network of equity-free startup accelerators that help promising startups integrate with SAP solutions and accelerate their entry into a curated, inclusive ecosystem whose offerings can be easily accessed and deployed by SAP customers.

This fall, the SAP.iO San Francisco Foundry will kick off its second human experience management (HXM) cohort focused on experiential learning, internal talent mobility and management, agile team management, talent assessment, workforce modeling and human resources (HR) analytics, and culture.

On September 2, SAP leaders and senior HR leaders from Beiersdorf, Cintas, Gerdau, Microsoft, and NTT DATA Services met virtually for selection day to hear 13 innovative startups present their solution and identify the final six startups that will participate in the cohort. The selected HR startups extend the capabilities of SAP SuccessFactors solutions. By participating in SAP.iO Foundries, they will receive curated mentorship and support to build out their integrations with SAP SuccessFactors solutions in order to become an SAP partner and list their solution on SAP App Center.

“I loved watching the startups present,” said Vicki Furnish, vice president of Human Capital at NTT DATA Services. “Their creative approaches to the current HR challenges we are facing were inspiring and would definitely have a positive impact on our recruiting and talent initiatives.”

Selection day provided SAP customers with the opportunity to learn about new solutions that can help address challenges they are facing, such as maximizing learning engagement, building a more diverse and inclusive workforce, and supporting employees’ mental health. At the same time, the startups presenting received input and feedback on their solutions.

“It was quite heartening to see inclusion as a main theme in both the participant companies and the software,” said Rajamma Krishnamurthy, senior director of Corporate Services Engineering for HR at Microsoft.

SAP SuccessFactors customers can get involved with the SAP.iO startups by scheduling and hosting an innovation session with a small group of curated startups that present and demo their relevant solution for the customer host.

During the Winter 2019 HR cohort, Gerdau, the largest long steel producer in Latin America and an SAP SuccessFactors customer, participated in a full-day innovation session and listened to six HR startups present solutions in the areas of recruiting and onboarding, learning and development, and performance.

“SAP.iO is working with some truly innovative HR companies,” said Rafael La Porta, general manager of Paris Ventures, the corporate ventures fund of Gerdau. “It is awesome to see SAP SuccessFactors investing in startup innovation and refreshing to know Gerdau can tap an ecosystem to meet our challenges.”

SAP SuccessFactors customers can also get involved with the SAP.iO program startups by reviewing the portfolios here and connecting with startups that could add value to their business, either directly or through SAP App Center.

The new HR cohort at SAP.iO Foundry San Francisco will be announced October 6. To learn more about the startups, follow @SAP_iO on Twitter.


Register here to attend the SuccessConnect virtual event.


Domitilla Caputo is head of SAP.iO Foundry San Francisco.