SAP LABS in Ra’anana is preparing a move to a new building in 2016.
(photo credit: NIV ELIS)
Business software giant SAP is scouring Israel for new startups to acquire, particularly in the fields of cloud computing and cyber security, SAP Labs Israel managing director Orna Kleinmann told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday.
“These are the areas where Israel is growing and has some competitive advantage over Silicon Valley, especially with what’s going on in cyber security,” she said.
SAP has acquired nine Israeli companies since 1998 and has made its intentions to continue expanding in Israel clear.
It is in the process of constructing a new building for its workforce and has made a NIS 250 million investment in land that will be able to house a second building if necessary.
“Hopefully we’ll grow through more and more acquisitions,” Kleinmann said.
Like many multinational hi-tech companies, SAP Labs has made efforts to plug into Israel’s start-up ecosystem to keep its finger on the pulse of the latest innovation.
For example, it is cooperating with The Junction, a Tel Avivbased accelerator, supporting the young companies there with mentorship. It even runs an internal start-up-style competition within its own walls and lets the winners develop their ideas at the accelerator for a six-month stint, hoping to grow the results into “something big.”
It is also running hackathons, and its lab is working on a special project on Internet-connected cars.
“It means that you have a cloud solution that gives you information on fueling and parking and service providers on the road,” Kleinmann said, painting a picture of software that could let drivers pay for gas, coffee and mechanics right from your dashboard.
“These are the kinds of things that can only be done in bigger companies,” she said. “Start-ups are always in survival mode. Bigger companies are concerned about how they can help their workers be innovators, do something outside their daily work and do something for the community that is win-win.”
SAP terms the next big trend in the market as “Industry 4.0,” in which businesses are combining analytics from big data into insights and actions.
“Once the machines will be smarter, how do you leverage the information to reflect on the current situation” in order to make smart quick business decisions, Kleinmann said.
Whatever start-up they come across that helps fill out that future, she added, may become SAP’s 10th Israeli acquisition.