The beginning of a journey: SAP.iO Fund’s first year in the Israeli ecosystem
It’s been just over a year since the SAP.iO Fund (& Foundries) opened offices in Tel Aviv, a year where we put our efforts into making an impact as well as making a difference — both for SAP’s customers and in the Israeli innovation ecosystem.
Chasing the dream and bringing value
When the SAP.iO Fund was announced, SAP CEO Bill McDermott said that the aim was to create a new ecosystem to help accelerate digital transformation for SAP’s 350,000 customers. It’s a big commitment. To the startups, he made a different one: “if you have a bold dream to solve one of the world’s most significant challenges, join us and let’s chase your dream together.” For us, each and every day at the SAP.iO Fund & Foundries, we work hard to fulfill this commitment.
We’re glad to see that even in the busy, noisy Israeli ecosystem, where cutting through the clutter is hard, we found our way to bring value to the startups we are fortunate to work with. At our core, we have a 3-fold purpose: deliver value to our customers, benefit to SAP.iO startups, and strategic impact to SAP — and we measure everything we do against these three dimensions. In particular, we provide startups industry & go-to-market mentorship, access to SAP platform technologies, and opportunities for exposure to SAP customers.
We believe that the startups we supported this year — whether as direct SAP.iO Fund investment or as part of the SAP.iO Foundry acceleration partnership with the The Junction — can bring value to our customers now or in the near future, despite being early-stage. That’s extremely important to us. A great example is SAP.iO Fund portfolio company BigID.
Delivering on our commitment
BigID is relevant to any SAP customer that stores users’ private data and needs to comply with the European data privacy regulations (“GDPR”). Their product helps companies inventory their data, even extremely large data stores, and identify the most sensitive information. Post-investment, the SAP.iO team continues to support BigID, including getting them on the SAP Cloud Platform and the SAP App Center, which means that SAP customers can now seamlessly integrate the solution into their systems. BigID went from seed stage funding to a B-round within a year — their growth is amazing, and we are excited by the opportunity BigID has to deliver value to our customers
More than just Funding: A thesis-driven investment
Silverback, one of the SAP.iO Fund’s latest investments, is an example of how a strategic investor can impact a startup. Silverback is an intelligent SaaS solution for online retailers and marketplaces, essentially providing midsize e-commerce players the data transparency they need in order to compete with the e-commerce giants like Amazon and Alibaba. We met Silverback a while ago when they were admitted as part of the SAP.iO Foundry at The Junction, and immediately understood their promise. We watched closely as they entered a partnership with Mirakl, a marketplace-as-a-service platform provider and an SAP partner. As we see a growing ecosystem around SAP Commerce Cloud, we realized the growth potential of Silverback as a provider of cross-marketplace intelligence to Mirakl’s customers. We are delighted to have participated in Silverback’s seed round.
Building on the ecosystem’s core strength: Deep technology
The third investment we made in Israel this year was cybersecurity startup Cymmetria, which encompasses what the Israeli ecosystem is famous for: Deep technology innovation. ֿThis is why SAP.iO chose Israel as a location — the fact that within Israel, there are over 400 startups focused just on the topic on machine learning alone, and over 150 cybersecurity startups. That’s unheard of anywhere else. Cymmetria, as its name suggests, is working on tilting the asymmetry of cyber so that hackers are the ones left vulnerable, utilizing a unique deception technology.
Considering we had such a great first year, what do we have to look forward to in SAP.iO’s second year in Israel? We would like to do more of everything: a bigger pipeline, more investments, and additional partnerships. This all sums up to having more impact — both for our customers and for Israeli startups. Stay tuned as we continue to grow and make a difference.