When looking for “startups” online, your search engine of choice will probably give you more than half a billion results. And somewhere among them, you will find how SAP is working with startups and ventures to help our customers thrive – though our portfolio is a bit more curated than the number above.

The SAP.iO program is SAP’s strategic business unit to incubate startup innovation and drive new business models for the company. Besides external startups joining the program to complement existing SAP solutions, high-potential entrepreneurial employees are equally empowered by SAP.iO Venture Studio to help SAP customers become intelligent, sustainable enterprises. Employees with new business ideas can apply to join the studio full-time and be considered for incubation.

“We are enabling employee-led ventures – internal startups – access to funding and a unique environment to build radically new SAP solutions beyond our existing product portfolio,” Ram Jambunathan, SVP and general manager of SAP.iO Venture Studio, describes the program’s value for SAP and customers. Based on this successful approach to in-house innovation, two new SAP teams received funding earlier this year after passing a selection process.

Encore by SAP Helps Enable the Circular Economy

Edward Kosec and Bram Purnot’s paths first crossed at SAP while working in their previous roles focusing on procurement and supply chain solutions. In times of increasingly visible consequences of climate change, the future co-founders realized customers were trying to find more localized and available supply to advance their strategic sustainability transformation and move towards circular business models. The need for materials at hand was further accelerated as economies around the world were hit by global supply chain issues prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

With this, the foundation for the Encore by SAP solution was laid. “Our trading platform will simplify discovering, recovering, and selling secondary materials for remanufacturing and refurbishment to ease supply chain disruptions – while also raising the bar for companies to achieve zero waste,” outlines Kosec, general manager and co-founder of Encore by SAP.

To enable more such regenerative business processes for companies of all sizes, aggregated supply will be matched with buyer demands across Encore’s marketplace. The solution integrates into backend systems, such as SAP S/4HANA, and connects with core procurement and asset management solutions, including SAP Ariba solutions.

The team is already piloting the solution with customers and partners as part of Catena-X, an industry alliance for secure, cross-company data exchange in the automotive industry. Catena-X aims to be more sustainable, resilient, and cost-effective thanks to trading aftermarket components, such as alternators or batteries, on the venture’s marketplace.

The End Is Near for Overpaying Taxes with Tax Eye by SAP

Building on SAP’s strong foothold with customers using the company’s business software across 25 industries, the Tax Eye by SAP solution is set to tap into SAP’s unique position as a premium system of record for financial transactions, including vendor contracts, purchase orders, invoices, and payments. During his nearly two decades of helping SAP customers with taxation issues, venture founder Mahendrakumar Ganesan identified the opportunity to spot overcharged vendor invoices and the surplus tax amounts corporates are paying on a regular basis. “Automating the detection of incorrect tax payments on the one hand and intelligently enabling tax returns on the other is the centerpiece for our solution,” Ganesan says. “Organizations will now free cash resources to reinvest into long-term innovation and sustainability strategies instead.”

Ahead lies the task of turning tax-inefficient purchasing transactions into integrated, digital business processes in the cloud. The combined struggle of tackling the complexity and dynamic changes of tax laws, the lack of tax knowledge by non-specialist employees, and implications from inconsistent application of tax business rules – all intensified by missing intelligent automated tools and technology – will then be a burden of the past for corporations.

The venture is currently validating its business use case while building a team to turn its vision into a pilot solution.

Learn more about SAP.iO Venture Studio at sap.io/studio. Previous venture forerunners that brought applications to market at startup speed while engaging hundreds of customers include GreenToken by SAP, Source Agent by SAP, and Feather by SAP. Encore and Tax Eye have now set out to join our active portfolio of employee-led startups and to build the future of enterprise business processes.

Susanna Havranek is a senior communications specialist at SAP.