Tag: startups

Dear Internet of Things startups,…

Dear Internet of Things startups,

As you may already know, SAP is one of the world’s largest software companies. We produce the software that most companies use to produce their goods. But what you may not know is that we don’t stop there.

On the contrary, SAP also has

On top of all that, according to our 2016 Interactive Annual Report SAP is now employing over 84,100 people globally, who create software for over 345,000 customer organisations spread across 180 countries. In fact, it has reached the point where 76% of business transactions globally now touch an SAP system.

And SAP is deeply committed to the Internet of Things. SAP pledged last September to investing €2bn (US$2.2bn) in the Internet of Things during the next four years, while also announcing the acquisition of two significant IoT companies Fedem and Plat.One.

And SAP’s desire to lead in the IoT space comes from the very top of the organisation as you can see in this tweet from our CEO Bill McDermott:

Cool, right?

Even better, you and your startup can be part of the SAP ecosystem, gaining access to those 345,000 enterprise customers, and their deep, deep pockets. How?

Become involved in SAP’s IoT Accelerator program.

What’s that?

The SAP IoT Startup Accelerator is a globally accessible co-innovation program for B2B startups, innovating in the world of IoT. The Accelerator helps startups grow and scale their business alongside SAP, our vast partner ecosystem and global customer base. We work with Accelerators, Incubators, Venture Firms, Academia and innovative technology providers to expand the IoT solutions ecosystem for our customers.

The SAP IoT Startup Accelerator seeks to find and enable the most promising IoT Startups to bring their solutions to market with SAP, and better yet because of that, SAP is not looking for fees or equity, we are looking for solutions that promote our shared customers success.

Curious to know more? Check out the SAP IoT Accelerator page on F6S.

Startup 2.0 on again this year in Barcelona

This year’s Startup 2.0, a European competition for Web 2.0 startups, was launched the other day.

Submissions are accepted for blogs, wikis, social networks or any other website which makes a high use of Web 2.0 components, such as tags, RSS, collaboration or Ajax. Companies and people from any European country willing to present their projects just have to submit them.

Entries are judged not only the quality of the website but also the business model and the creativity of their video presentation. Internet users and a jury will select 10 projects to be presented in Barcelona on May 21st, where they will compete for online advertising and infrastructure prizes for their project. Last year’s winners won 5 days advertising on the front page of TechCrunch.com as far as I recall amongst other prizes.

The contest is organized by Alianzo and La Caixa bank as a non-profit initiative, supported by Microsoft and Sun Microsystems and sponsored by 22@Barcelona.

I am one of the 10 jury members who will be judging the entries along with Martín Varsavsky, Loic Le Meur, Daniel Waterhouse, Ouriel Ohayon, Nicole Simon, Bernardo Hernández, Luca Conti and Yaron Orenstein.

If you want your startup to be entered for this competition, register on the site before April 30th.

Are you an Irish startup seeking funding?

When I was in Berlin last week I met with Yoav Leitersdorf of YL Ventures. Yoav is looking to invest in interesting Irish startups. In his own words:

YL Ventures (www.YLVentures.com) is a venture capital fund that is focused on ‘exiting’ to strategic acquirers at good bite-size valuaitons of $20m-$50m rather than the typical $500m+ for most VCs. YL Ventures delivers excellent, concept-proven European & Israeli technology companies that it has invested in and helped grow & validate from the Internet, telecom (mostly mobile) and digital media sectors (and occasionally network security and enterprise software).

Recent press is available at http://www.ylventures.com/news.html, note especially the write-ups in Czech Business Weekly and blognation Italy.

If you are an Irish startup and are interested in getting in touch with Yoav, let me know in the comments or directly on tom@tomrafteryit.net and I’ll do an intro.

Cork-based telecoms firm raises â‚¬5m

Pat Phelan’s Cubic Telecom have released details of €5m worth of investment they have received. Cubic Telecom is the parent company of the Roam4free and Yak4ever brands.

From the release Cubic has raised a

EUR3.5M investment from private backers in order to develop a suite of innovative global mobile and home phone products under the Cubic Telecom brand, together with its own international virtual carrier network. A further EUR1.5M has been raised to fund a series of international launches of products and services in the coming six months.

As I mentioned a few weeks back, Cubic Telecom are also the only Irish company to make it to the final 100 of the uber prestigious TechCrunch 20.

Congrats Pat

Pat Phelan’s Cubic Telecom company has been selected to be one of the finalists in TechCrunch 20 for their Roam4free product. What is TechCrunch 20? From the site:

Twenty of the hottest new startups from around the world will announce and demo their products over a two day period at TechCrunch20. And they don’t pay a cent to do this. They will be selected to participate based on merit alone. In fact, we’re even offering a $50,000 cash award and lining up other in-kind services and awards from a generous group of corporate sponsors.

There were over 700 submissions from 26 countries so making it to the last 100 finalists was a considerable achievement. In fact, as far as I know Pat’s is the only Irish company in the final 100. Well done Pat – go for it boy!

I have spoken to Pat at length about their new Roam4free product set due out in the coming weeks and if they deliver half of what Pat is promising, it will set the mobile world on its head.

On the Startup 2.0 jury!

I am honoured to have been selected to be on the jury of the Startup 2.0 . The jury contains people like Martin Varsavsky of Fon, Loic Le Meur (formerly of Six Apart) and Daniel Waterhouse of 3i.

Startup 2.0 is a competition to “promote and reward European startups”. The entries have been whittled down to 15 remaining hopefuls and tomorrow the final 5 will be selected. These last five will be judged by the jury after 15 minute presentations in the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. 3 winners will be selected!

This should be a fascinating competition, I’m really looking forward to the presentations.

Do startups use Open Source?

I was very much of the impression that startups these days, because they want to keep spending to a minimum, would be more likely to use Open Source tools to develop their applications. The likes of MySQL instead of Microsoft SQL Server, for instance.

This view was re-inforced by an interview I did with Salim Ismail for the it@cork pre-conference podcast series where he said all his startups used open source software.

However, after a chat with Microsoft’s Rob Burke on his blog, now I’m not so sure!

In my comment, I said Microsoft’s SQL Server should support other platforms and in this way, startups would be more likely to use it (i.e. if they didn’t have to splash out for a Windows license). Rob’s answer surprised me though, he said:

Our group at Microsoft Ireland can, quite literally, not adequately keep up with the demand we get from local startups (and larger ISVs) who see the value of the platform for the data tier and want to find the best on-ramp. You may have noticed – we’re hiring two more evangelists! 🙂

So startups in Ireland are choosing Microsoft SQL Server in droves? Why? The latest version of MySQL has stored procedures, triggers and views. It is platform independent, has a very strong support community and runs some of the better known sites on the web like Craigs List, Del.icio.us, Digg, Flickr, and Wikipedia, to name but a few.

If you chose SQL Server, you are locked into the Windows platform and although there are free versions of SQL Server to start out with, a fully licenced version to run a web site will cost you tens of thousands of Euros/dollars.

Why would any startup choose SQL Server? What am I missing?

Where angels dare to tread!

At the recent IT@Cork Web 2 conference, reference was made by Fergus Burns to the difficulties startups have raising funds in Ireland. He asked the question “how many VCs are in the audience?” – there were none. As Fergus said, that tells its own story.

Things may be starting to change however. In his post on Irish Entrepreneurism Shel Israel noted that

The venture issue is another story and it is the one where I see change happening sooner and faster.

Now I come across an organisation which seems like a perfect fit for this need – Business Angels Partnership. The partnership works with startups to put together a business plan to present to its panel of business angels. The partnership is a not-for-profit so they don’t take any of the funding from the startup.

The funding provided is seed capital (100k-300k) early stage investment. No customer is required of the startup (although I assume it wouldn’t hurt the proposal!).

It sounds like an ideal proposition. For the angel investor, the partnership presents them with a qualified set of business proposals to look over and for the startup, they receive help putting the proposal together and get introduced to angel investors.

Win, win! Anyone know of anyone who has gone through this and did they win the lotto get funded?

Shel Israel podcast

The Shel Israel interview went ahead last night, as planned. Shel was great, full of warm humour, interesting insights and relevant anecdotes. below are the questions I asked him and the times in the podcast they were asked:

Shel, what is it about Ireland that appeals to you? – 1:15

You guys wrote Naked Conversations right out there in the open – as you completed each chapter of the book, you published it online – what was it like writing a book as transparently as you guys did with Naked Conversations? – 2:30

Most people have read the book now online, will they buy it? – 5:50

If you were writing another book, would you do it online? – 6:30

Given that very few Irish companies have started blogging yet, why should a company have a blog? – 7:28

What are the advantages of blogging to a business? – 8:40

What advice would you give to business bloggers to help them become become successful – 11:50

Companies can be afraid of being open in their blogs (what if our competitors are reading the blog) and are afraid of what will be said in the comments – how do you deal with these fears? – 15:11

If I am a developer, how can I see what people are saying about my application/product? – 17:55

What do you see as the benefits of Podcasts/videocasts to businesses? – 23:30

How is a podcast/videocast of use to smaller companies (smaller than Microsoft!)? – 25:25

So blogs/podcasts/videocasts are about humanising companies? – 27:50

You have recently blogged that you are going to start writing about startups – what aspect of startups most interests you? – 32:30

What challenges do startups face today that they didn’t 25 years ago? – 34:30

Brian Greene’s question:
There are 40,000 blogs updates every hour of the day. How am I to read all that? seriously hasn’t blogging just added to the textual data smog that make it easier for government to bury the truth, making facts harder to come by? 37:30

You can listen to the podcast of this discussion here.