sapio stephanie horwitz sap startup spotlight [shutterstock: 702235132, BrAt82]
[shutterstock: 702235132, BrAt82]
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SAP Startup Spotlight: Getting To Know SAP.iO

In every interview in our SAP Startup Spotlight series, we ask startups how the involvement of SAP.iO has impacted their journey. But what is SAP.iO, exactly?

Stephanie Horwitz is the Value Creation Manager at SAP.iO Foundry Tel Aviv, where she supports global B2B startups in communications, marketing, and business development opportunities. In this interview, she explains what SAP.iO is and what it has done and continues to do for startups.

E-3 Magazine: What is SAP.iO?

Stephanie Horwitz: SAP.iO is SAP’s strategic business unit to incubate, accelerate and scale startup innovation and explore new business models for the company. Since 2017, SAP.iO has helped over 300 external startups and internal ventures both start and scale their businesses while enabling SAP customers to access new products. SAP.iO Foundries are SAP’s global network of zero-cost startup accelerators that are the fastest way for founders to launch a relationship with SAP. SAP.iO Foundries provide companies with access, curated mentorship, and technical guidance to integrate with SAP solutions and accelerate their entry into an inclusive ecosystem whose offerings can be easily accessed and deployed by SAP customers. SAP.iO Foundries were formally launched in 2017 and have helped accelerate more than 270 startups across all lines of business and industries so far. SAP.iO currently has nine foundries located in San Francisco, New York, Berlin, Munich, Paris, Tel Aviv, Singapore, Tokyo, and Bangalore.

Stephanie Horwitz,
Stephanie Horwitz,

What does the typical SAP.iO Foundry accelerator program look like?

Horwitz: During each 12-week, equity-free virtual program, the respective Foundry team works closely with selected startups to build joint use cases, provide technical support in building integrations with SAP platforms, and assist startups in engaging with SAP’s customers. Participating startups get access to top mentorship, plus enjoy various value adds, from PR support to joint marketing assets and go-to-market sales material. Each program has a specific industry or line-of-business focus, allowing us to hone in on specific pain points and work together to provide valuable solutions to SAP customers. Some examples of cohort themes have been consumer industries, agribusiness, HR, and travel-tech – as you can see, we cover a wide range of industries!

What types of startups does SAP.iO work with?

Horwitz: SAP.iO works with early-stage B2B global startups developing enterprise software solutions. Specifically, looking at startups with solutions that can integrate with existing SAP applications or extend SAP’s existing offering. Each startup program typically works with a cohort of four to eight participating startups. To date, SAP.iO has worked with over 200 global startups. Through the SAP.iO No Boundaries program, the first comprehensive inclusive entrepreneurship initiative for underrepresented entrepreneurs in the business software industry, SAP has committed to help at least 200 startups around the world with female or diverse founders by 2023.

What is the goal that SAP.iO strives to achieve?

Horwitz: SAP.iO’s goal is to deliver an interlocking threefold value proposition and drive value for SAP’s customers, deliver benefit to startups and strategic impact to SAP. At SAP.iO, we call it a “win-win-win” model.  By extending the offering and connecting SAP customers with the latest innovative solutions and talents, SAP.iO is helping SAP’s customers tackle challenges, and SAP continues to thrive with curated access to the most up-to-date technology and services. For SAP.iO startups, we are opening the door to our comprehensive customer base covering over 25 industries, where their offerings can be easily accessed and deployed.

What are some of the things that startups can achieve through their work with SAP.iO?

Horwitz: During the program, startups become SAP partners through the SAP PartnerEdge Build program, where they can quickly design, develop, integrate, and commercialize their applications under a single comprehensive partner program. With a technical integration, they can sell their solution on SAP Store and reach customers worldwide, establishing a co-sell mechanism for future deals. With a technical integration in hand, SAP.iO supports startups in implementing successful pilot programs and PoCs with our customers.

Why does SAP need to work with external startups?

Horwitz: As our world goes through a rapid digital transformation, SAP is committed to being the bridge to the most relevant startup innovation in order to secure the successful future of our customers. By working with external startups, we can support our clients as they drive forward their innovation agendas, providing them with new industry and technological insights and enhancing our current offerings.

How is SAP.iO different from other corporate accelerators?

Horwitz: SAP customers represent 98 percent of the top 100 most valued brands in the world, with 77 percent of the world’s transaction revenue touching an SAP system. By working with us, startups receive SAP product validation, earning the trust of partners and customers, getting an accelerated entry into our rich ecosystem.

Thank you for the interview.

Check out which SAP.iO Foundries are actively seeking startups for their programs and apply here.

About the author

Simone Sailer, E-3 Magazine

Simone Sailer is Managing Editor of

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