It takes a village…

Shuchi Rana
May 1, 2019 · 5 min read

The Last 3 months have been incredibly exciting at SAP.iO San Francisco where we accelerated seven HCM startups building the Future of Work, in close collaboration with SAP SuccessFactors.

On January 30, 2019 the SAP.iO Foundry in San Francisco announced its 2019 Winter Cohort, comprised of 7 enterprise software startups building the Future of Work. The foundry went through a rigorous selection process and picked it’s top seven companies out of a 100+ applicants. During the 3 month program all the startups engaged with mentors (Internal & External) and Industry experts in the areas of SAP Integrations, Enterprise Sales, Marketing, GDPR, Security, and Venture Capital. We are truly grateful for the commitment and dedication of our mentors without whom the program would not have been a success. The startups also had the opportunity to interact with a number of SAP’s largest customers.

April 23, 2019 marked the culmination of three months of hard work on the part of everyone who made the SAP.iO Foundry a success.

Ram Jambunathan, SVP and Managing Director, SAP.iO

Ram Jambunathan, Managing Director of SAP.iO, opened Demo Day by sharing why SAP.iO’s support of startup innovation is strategically important to SAP. “Our customers are coming to us for help as they proceed on the digitization journeys. SAP.iO acts as a bridge by helping customers connect to the most relevant, cutting-edge startup innovation that helps them win in their markets, today, by getting new, highly incremental value from their investments in SAP solutions. This is especially important in critical areas like HR & People Engagement, where we have millions of employees today managed by SAP SuccessFactors.”

Pamela Marion SVP, Head of Strategic Programs and Chief of Staff at SAP SuccessFactors

Pamela Marion, Head of Strategic Programs & Chief of Staff, Office of the President at SuccessFactors spoke about the human revolution happening in the workplace; one that makes the powerful voice of the employee heard and requires companies to ensure their people are motivated and equipped to make their biggest impact. She emphasized because HR is leading the people strategy, HR is the key to helping CEO’s achieve their vision for the future.

John Sumser, Founder & Principal Analyst at HR Examiner and Amy Wilson SVP Products SuccessFactors

Amy Wilson, SVP Products SuccessFactors and John Sumser, Founder and Principal Analyst at HR Examiner shared their distinct points of view in a fireside chat, on the Future of HR. John shared his latest research and the startling findings on the use of AI and analytics in the HCM space. Amy’s experience as the Head of Product for SuccessFactors and John’s research background made for a very engaging conversation on how the industry is benefiting from automation and AI, where there is still room for improvement, and the areas they are most excited about.

More than 130 attendees, including VCs, SAP customers and partners, and SAP senior executives attended Demo Day and heard pitches from the 7 HR SAP.iO startups, including:

John Estafanous, So-Young Kang, Jeremy Vandehey, Charu Sharma, Christine Tao, Jo Riley, Ben Bromberg
  • RallyBright: Team development platform that improves team performance and dynamics by empowering business leaders with actionable, behavioral science–based insights into the strengths and vulnerabilities of their teams.
  • Gnowbe: Mobile microlearning and engagement solution designed for business impact by revolutionizing corporate education through transformational learning — available anytime, anywhere. Its bite-sized social learning and gamification encourage active engagement and inspire behavior change.
  • Disco: Real-time feedback tool designed to boost appreciation at work and reinforce organizational mission and values. Integrated into tools people use at work (Slack, Microsoft Teams and more), it helps celebrate when employees go above and beyond and enables managers to view detailed culture reports while spreading positivity at work.
  • NextPlay: Artificial intelligence app that facilitates internal mentorship matching at scale, follow-ups and goal tracking. Its chatbot personalizes employee career development to help companies attract, develop and retain more diverse talent.
  • Sounding Board: Leadership development platform that offers scalable, personalized coaching to help enterprises grow their next generation of leaders. It combines best-in-class coaching with enterprise-grade technology and the Sound Coaching methodology to drive positive business outcomes.
  • Censia: Artificial intelligence and machine learning–based predictive recruiting solution powered by one of the largest professional data platforms in the world that automates the process of identifying and engaging the most in-demand talent for opportunities.
  • Paradox: Assistive intelligence platform that is transforming global talent acquisition and the candidate experience. Its flagship product, Olivia, enables talent acquisition and HR professionals to focus on what they do best, human interaction — while Olivia focuses on experience, automation and intelligence.

It takes a village to achieve what the program has been able to in the last three months. We would not have done this without our partners at SuccessFactors and we are truly grateful to all the mentors.

Visit our website for updates on our next SF Foundry program and connect with us online at LinkedIn and Twitter!

Checkout the pictures from our SAP.iO SF + SuccessFactors HCM Foundry demo day here!

The Demo Day was hosted at the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center

SAP.iO invests in and accelerates startup innovation that strategically expands the Intelligent Ecosystem around SAP’s applications, digital platform, and technology services / APIs. The SAP.iO Foundries are our global network of top-tier, equity-free programs for startups, including accelerators, to help startups build innovative software that delivers high value for SAP customers. Startups selected for our Foundry programs receive access to curated mentorship, exposure to SAP technologies, and opportunities to collaborate with SAP customers.


SAP.iO is growing a generation of revolutionary software businesses in the SAP ecosystem.

Shuchi Rana

Written by

Head @SAP_iO San Francisco. Helping shape the future of Enterprise. Building a diverse and Inclusive world. Walking the talk.



SAP.iO is growing a generation of revolutionary software businesses in the SAP ecosystem.

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