SAP Chief Strategy Officer Deepak Krishnamurthy said at the Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal, “Imagine if we can work together and make inclusion a fact.” Additionally, Alexa Gorman, who is SVP, Head of SAP.iO Foundries Europe announced the creation of a dedicated accelerator program for women and diverse-led enterprises in Berlin, Germany.
Over the last 20 months, SAP.IO has worked with nearly a hundred companies across the spectrum of both the fund and the foundry. That’s a big number given that we have been around only for 20 months. But what I’m really proud of is the fact that over 40 percent of these companies were either founded or have a CEO who’s a diverse entrepreneur or women entrepreneur. That is something that you probably don’t see in the industry much where the average number of startups that are either women or diverse entrepreneur founded is probably around 20-25 percent.
Why is this important for us? It’s important because we want to be able to have an inclusive entrepreneurship across everything that we do. The statistics are there, so you know that less than 10 percent of venture capital funding goes to women, less than 2 percent goes to black and Latino founders, and less than 0.2 percent goes to black and Latino women founders. The statistics are pretty horrible and we need to make a difference and the difference needs to be made at three levels. It’s got to be at the financing level, it’s got to be about creating the right community, and it’s got to also be in terms of how you set up your team.
What SAP.IO decided to do was the first foundry cohort that we ran in San Francisco we said it’s going to be a women cohort. We had seven amazing startups founded by women, that is the first thing that we did in the US. This was so successful that we said why run just a cohort? Why don’t we just go and run a whole location focused on women and diverse entrepreneurs? So in the summer of 2018, we had ten great startups with women-led founders that came in and worked on B2B SAAS products and solutions jointly with us. That’s what New York is all about. New York is going to be about women and diverse entrepreneurs driving impact with our customers.
This is making a huge difference. You cannot go and say that I’m just going to run a women-only program or a minority program for startups. You have to rethink how you do this fundamentally as a company. One of the things that we did was that our entire management of SAP.IO that’s running the foundry, over 80 percent, five out of the six accelerators are run by women. That means that you take the cognitive bias out of the equation.
So you’re starting to invest in women and minority entrepreneurs in a much more proactive way. The industry average is more like 25 percent. Having 80 percent of the accelerators led by them makes an enormous difference, not just in terms of recruiting and attracting the right level of women entrepreneurs but also in terms of how you work with them, how you support them. and how you help them scale. If you look at the entire team more than 60 percent of a team is diverse. Again, this makes a huge difference in terms of how you take diversity not just as an afterthought, but keep it front and center.
We all know that diverse teams have better outcomes in terms of startup exits. Typically startups with diverse teams have a 10-15 percent higher exits and higher returns and the idea of having a diverse team that’s managing both investment and acceleration enables a culture of diversity that goes from the top down. That’s the idea of enabling inclusiveness and diversity from the get-go.
We all know that diversity is a fact. We also probably know that inclusion is a choice, but imagine if we can work together and make inclusion a fact, where It’s no longer a choice. Every company comes together and makes inclusion in terms of how we work with startups a priority and make this a real thing rather than doing something as a one-off basis.
Alexa Gorman – SVP, Head of SAP.iO Foundries Europe at SAP, announced accelerator program in Berlin at the Web Summit:
We started the foundry journey in Europe just over a year and a half ago with the foundry in Berlin that we opened. I’m really proud to say by the end of this year we will have accelerated just over 30 startups in areas such as machine learning, AI, but also industry 4.0 and the manufacturing space. What we offer the startups that come to us is to really be able to accelerate through integrating into SAP’s product portfolio, but then also access to the 400,000 plus customers that we bring. We started in Berlin last year where we’ve run three programs and are currently in our third program there. We just opened Paris in October and are accelerating six French startups. In general, we like to call the startups that we accelerate the rising stars.
I’m thrilled to be here today, of the 30 startups that we have accelerated I think we have about eight that are actually at Web Summit and are seeing phenomenal interest both from investors and from B2B companies that are interested in using their solutions. I’m also thrilled to be here today because we have an announcement. In line with what Deepak was mentioning, we’re actually launching the first accelerator program in Berlin, kicking off in March and running until June for the underrepresented minority. We will have a cohort there that will get the access and the mentorship that Deepak mentioned in the B2B SAAS spaces. It’s something that hasn’t been done or one of the first of its kind anyway in Europe and we’re basically opening applications today here at Web Summit. If there are startups here who are in that space we’d love to hear from you. Please go to SAP.IO and you’ll see all the details and the opportunity to apply.
This is something that’s very important for us and we are confident that it’s going to make a big impact on the European ecosystem. If you are a startup we would love to hear your dreams, we’d love to understand how we can work with you and help you. If you’re a women or a diverse founder applications are open for Berlin, so please let us know how you can work with us. If you’re in the B2B space we can do things together that are going to be magical.