SavingsNow! and Recycletronics have joined the SAP.iO Venture Studio with goals of scaling and growing business for SAP and its customers. As part of the New Ventures and Technologies organization, the SAP.iO Venture Studio takes an employee-driven approach to innovation by bringing it in-house with an intrapreneurship program.
The two new employee-created ventures have received €1-2 million in funding from SAP through the company’s grassroots Scouting & Acceleration program.
“Entrepreneurs at SAP are in a unique position to shape the future of enterprise software,” said Ram Jambunathan, head of SAP.iO Venture Studio. “SAP’s distinctive understanding of business processes enables ventures like Recycletronics and Savings Now! to leverage data and technology to explore, experiment, and transform how business is done.”
The intrapreneurship program operates as an accelerator that supports entrepreneurial employees by creating an environment that fosters a culture of exploration and innovation. Employees selected for the program can build out and validate their ideas through working with real end users and assigned mentors from across SAP expertise in the challenges faced by SAP and its customers. From these interactions, the teams can then accelerate their idea into a venture with proven market demand.
To better understand today’s business landscape and how their proposed solutions fit within it, teams run through two phases. During the validation phase, teams join an eight-week self-paced program with virtual lectures covering topics from testing assumptions to analyzing markets and building a first version of their product. During the acceleration phase, some get the opportunity to further develop and test their product and to win early-stage customers. They receive feedback from mentors from inside and outside of SAP, including a committee of senior leaders from across SAP, along with founders and investors.
In 2020 the intrapreneurship program entered its fifth year, and despite a global pandemic, the two teams secured funding from SAP. Together, SavingsNow! and Recycletronicswill continue develop their solutions over the next 18 to 24 months in SAP.iO Venture Studio.
One of the new ventures to join the SAP.iO Venture Studio is SavingsNow! The team behind the new solution aims to disrupt the sourcing-as-a-service business by bringing automation powered by artificial intelligence (AI) to categories that are often unaddressed in spend optimizations because of lack of time or expertise.
Co-founded by Travis Mattern and Will Caseber, the idea for SavingsNow! came out of talking with sourcing and procurement professionals about the challenges they encounter with delivering supplier contracts to their business stakeholders.
“We found a knowledge gap between the steps of identifying a sourcing opportunity and successfully running the sourcing event,” Caseber said. “Many sourcing teams leave significant value on the table because they do not have the time and spend category expertise to efficiently and effectively deliver the sourcing event strategy and execution plan for their full pipeline of opportunities.”
SavingsNow! plans to deliver sourcing services for categories where companies do not have the time or expertise. This service will leverage the SAP Ariba Sourcing solution together with intelligent automation using insights from SAP Business Network and other sources of market intelligence. The initial focus will be common indirect categories relevant for most buyer industries. The spend category portfolio will grow into the areas where customers need the most assistance.
“The beauty of this simple service is that it will be outcome-focused and available to companies regardless of whether they own any SAP software solutions,” Mattern said, adding the team plans to build in the solution can be utilized across the SAP procurement solution portfolio.
But perhaps the most exciting thing for these co-founders is the ability to work with SAP solutions and end users to help ensure that their solution meets their real-world needs – a staple feature of the New Ventures and Technology intrapreneurship program.
“The SAP.iO Venture Studio is the perfect environment to rapidly develop and scale this exciting new solution,” Mattern said.
Like the larger SAP, the SAP.iO program also looks for ideas and solutions that are not just going to make companies run better, but the world run better too. To achieve that, the accelerator program partnered with SAP’s social intrapreneurship program, SAP One Billion Lives, which aims to improve 1 billion lives through the cultivation and development of sustainable, shared-value impact ventures. Recycletronics was selected for funding from this partnership.
“The intrapreneurship program has let us develop our idea into a reality,” said Kiruthika S., Product Development lead of Recycletronics. “We’ve been able to meet with fellow innovators, mentors, motivators, and coaches that have acted as catalysts to bring Recycletronics to life.”
Founded by Kiruthika S., Ajit Chandran, Rima Yadav, and Amit Sharma, the solution aims to address e-waste in India. The Recycletronics team worked with the chief business officer of the Indian recycler company Cerebra Green to learn more about its processes on recycling, as well as to get a better understanding on the issue of e-waste and how to best tackle it with their solution.
Recycletronics was born from this original collaboration and study. The new venture strives to connect and collaborate on ways to reduce the total amount of e-waste produced through building a marketplace for Indian electronics manufacturer and e-waste recyclers.
“By creating a marketplace, Recycletronics isn’t just reducing e-waste,” Kiruthika said. “It will also increase the value derived from e-waste for companies and also aim at improving circular economy by bringing secondary raw materials back into the market.”
Not only is Recycletronics hoping to change the ways companies in India view and handle e-waste, it also aims to transform Indian society into a more sustainably driven one by pairing manufacturers with recyclers. This collaboration will help reduce waste generation through reducing the amount of e-waste produced, reusing and repairing existing electronics so no new waste is generated, and safely recycling e-waste.
The Recycletronics team is not just setting its sights on improving the health of the environment with the solution; they’re working to improve the health and safety of people too.
“There are severe health concerns when it comes to improper e-waste recycling,” said Chandran, general manager and Business Development lead of Recycletronics, adding that serious illnesses can arise from the hazardous materials of e-waste. “Recycletronics will help prevent these illnesses and help take e-waste to a better place.”
About New Ventures and Technologies
The New Ventures and Technologies organization aims to future-proof SAP and its customers into the Intelligent Enterprise through technology innovation and product incubation. The organization recently had three teams graduate into the larger SAP product portfolio, where they will continue to scale and move closer to the core business.
“It’s our job to keep SAP’s eyes on the future,” Martin Heinig, head of New Ventures and Technologies, said. “These two new teams are solutions that are solving the problems of today and tomorrow.”
To learn more about New Ventures and Technologies, visit the Innovation at SAP area of sap.com.