SAP hosted a fun and lively Venture Day event at their facility in Palo Alto, and Soracom CTO and co-founder Kenta Yasukawa was the keynote presenter, tapped to share his experiences in building a highly successful Internet of Things startup that bridges the gap between the US and Japan, startups and enterprises, and devices and the cloud.
The day started off with presentations by SAP’s Max Wessel (Managing Director of SAP Silicon Valley) and Kakeru Tsubota (Principal, SAP Labs, Silicon Valley). They shared insights into SAP’s growth, innovation ecosystem, and interest in helping startups. Not surprisingly, IoT is a hot investment and development area for SAP and for many of the hundred or so attendees.
SAP is the largest employer in Palo Alto, with their headquarters in Germany. But SAP has a passion for the innovation and startups in Silicon Valley, and has several programs targeted at helping startups grow. Their investments and accelerator programs help to grow the SAP ecosystem and enable them to keep a pulse on the latest innovations in technology.
SAP is well known as an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) company, yet recently SAP’s revenue from cloud and non-ERP businesses has actually surpassed ERP revenue, highlighting their evolution to products and technologies away from their core business.
Kenta’s presentation highlighted the lessons of a successful, growing, Internet of Things startup as well as his experiences building relationships with companies large and small. In particular, he shared how working at AWS he came to the realization that any system can be better implemented on a cloud environment, which led to the founding of Soracom with the mission of reinventing a telecom core network by building a connectivity platform on the cloud that connects everyone and everything in the world.
In just a few years, Soracom grew from their first beta user to over 10,000 customers worldwide, with awards from Forbes and TechCrunch for Startup of the Year and CTO of the Year in Japan. Kenta highlighted several customer success stories including Dydo (connecting tens of thousands of vending machines), and Komatsu, which was also a success story highlighted by SAP.
Kenta shared how Soracom has taken a customer-first approach to designing features that customers love, which has shaped the company’s product roadmap as well as driven a “lean,” responsive approach to product design and development.
The audience had a healthy representation across the spectrum from startups and medium sized businesses to global enterprise companies. Kenta shared his perspective on the differences in how startups and enterprises work, and how both are interconnected in their success.
The audience was also eager to hear about Soracom’s international expansion. Kenta provided insights into Soracom’s growth through globalization, expanding ecosystem of partners, as well as our recently announced Startup Accelerator program to further the growth of IoT.
The event also provided time for breaks and networking which brought together many new potential customers, partners, and collaborators for Soracom and the other companies in attendance. Even after the event, we received several follow up messages. All this goes back to the foundation of SAP’s event — to bring together innovative companies with the opportunity to learn and work together.
Following the keynote, the program continued as SAP introduced eleven startups from three of their startup programs: SAP Startup Focus, SAP.io, and SAP IoT Startup Accelerator. Each of the eleven companies was given time to present to the audience, followed by product demos and networking. The eleven companies highlighted were:
SAP Startup Focus — SAP’s largest start-up technology incubation program with more than 6,300 companies
- FogHorn Systems (edge intelligence software for Industrial and Commercial IoT)
- Otosense (software platform turning machine sounds and vibrations into actionable meaning)
- Cryptowerk (Digital Trust Engine that simplifies and accelerates the development of blockchain-enabled applications for the enterprise)
SAP.io — Strategy CVC for early stage companies by professional investors
- Cultivate (AI powered leadership development)
- Contract Wrangler (machine learning to uncover hidden business insights in contracts)
- Autit (AI to harmonize material master data for spare parts in manufacturing)
- Slync (enterprise blockchain platform for supply chain)
SAP Startup Accelerator — Strategic startup mentor program under SAP Leonardo AI / IoT solution
- Roambee (real-time asset management and shipment monitoring)
- Wireless Glue (networked big data analytics and deep learning)
- Visual Mobility (Remote Assisted Reality to capture, stream, and collaborate on live HD video linked with enterprise applications)
- Daqri (professional-grade augmented reality for the workforce)
It’s always great to swap stories with other innovators and to hear about their success and how they are simplifying, improving and changing the world.
Thanks to SAP for hosting the fun and informative event!