Companies that want to scale fast need to gain a huge chunk of their target markets in the shortest time possible. SAP not only provides software for this, but also the support of dedicated teams that speak the startup’s language, understand its priorities, and have experience operating in such a dynamic environment.
There are companies with potential that are easy to spot. You can easily see their opportunity to disrupt a market at an early stage.
Sono Motors in Munich is such a company. Founded in 2016, it has been an SAP customer since March 2021 and the team is out to change the automotive industry. Instead of sporty, heavy, and with as much horsepower as possible, the company’s solar electric vehicle “Sion” is practical, spacious, and straightforward. Small repairs, for example, can be done by the customers themselves. Another highlight: the body of the car is nearly entirely covered by solar panels that charge the vehicle while driving. The energy extends the range and can be used to charge smartphones, other electric cars, or even power entire households. An integrated mobile app easily allows car- and seat-sharing with other users — a game-changer. Production is due to start in 2023.
Proven Structures for Fast Growth
Another example is Wingcopter. As the brand indicates, the autonomous cargo drones produced in Weiterstadt, Germany, can take off vertically from small areas and bridge long distances in forward flight; for example, to deliver urgently needed medical goods to rural areas that lack rail tracks or paved roads.
SAP wants to support companies such as Sono Motors and Wingcopter by providing direct access to knowledge the team has aggregated over the years.
“We provide ready-to-use best-practice solutions for founders and startups,” explains Jan Gutknecht, senior business development specialist at SAP. “Those who apply them can built on proven structures and scale fast.”
To scale fast, companies need to gain a huge chunk of their target markets in the shortest time possible. This is only possible if you consider regulatory and tax requirements from day one, and if you are able to apply them in every new market without the need of running a sophisticated project.
Here, SAP can help, both in providing software and in providing the expertise of dedicated teams which speak the startup’s language, understand their priorities, and have a lot of experience operating in dynamic environments. The SAP team brings expertise in building scalable businesses onto the table — a domain early-stage startups often struggle with as they focus on building their product or service.
Optimizing Processes Over Time
As part of the engagement process, the requirements are discussed in workshops. Implementation partners are part of the journey from the very beginning. The team stays aboard when the pace increases, the company grows and matures, and new business models or revenue streams arise. That implies starting to think in end-to-end business processes early on, implementing them in a lean approach, and then focusing on optimizing them over time.
Sketching a draft of the future state system architecture at the earliest stage possible and envisioning what is needed in three to four years are important.
“If there is something that kills growth, it’s a scattered system landscape and manual process steps. Startups can circumvent piling up these technical debts if they are addressed early,” says Tino Albrecht, business architect at SAP.
Operating Like a Startup
For Albrecht and his colleagues, the SAP Hypergrowth Catalyst program is a “cultural thing” to support the startup ecosystem. That is why the team itself operates like a startup inside SAP.
“We have people in the team that understood that the startup market has its own rules, priorities, and requirements,” Albrecht says.
Speed is an example: SAP does not charge the program members for the team support. Subscriptions for usage of the cloud services need to be paid and the implementation partners receive their fees. Everything else is a front-loaded key account management — a leap of faith.