Dear diar….Sorry got caught away here! In a way, though, this blogpost will be akin to a diary entry. It’s an open expression of our thoughts at Augmania throughout every stage of our SAP.iO Foundry program odyssey.
Oh yes, earlier this year, the good people of SAP invited us to participate in their ultra-ambitious accelerator program. Launched by SAP in 2017, SAP.iO aims to bolster multiple entrepreneurial ecosystems around the globe. That’s through supporting and investing in early-stage startups working in SaaS.
A major focus of SAP.iO is the aforementioned Foundry program which we received an invitation for. Generally, the program is about 12 weeks and has taken place in entrepreneurial hubs, from New York to Tokyo. Mentorship sessions, engaging workshops, and funding opportunities are just a few perks of a Foundry program.
However, our invitation was for a rather unique SAP.iO Foundry program. In fact, it was a program with heaps of added pressure.
Our Foundry program was for startups led by females and minority entrepreneurs.
As part of SAP.iO’s No Boundaries initiative, this program finally directed the spotlight on those who earned it. Since she doubles as both a female and an Egyptian entrepreneur, who also happens to rock the entrepreneurial tech scene, Augmania CEO Rania Reda was an easy pick.
Obviously, the SAP program sounded like an outstanding venture. Taking it should be a no-brainer, right? Well, there was only one obstacle. A program that inclusive needed to take place in a city as inclusive: Berlin.
So Berlin is one lovely city. But if you’re a friend of Augmania, you know that we’re based in Silicon Valley. Yes, we’ve had European ventures and worked with European clients before. Still, a 3-month excursion to Berlin or any other unexplored city was a hard gamble.
In Silicon Valley, exciting opportunities pop up every day. Hence, participating in the Foundry carried the possibility of missing three months of opportunities. At the same time, not joining the Foundry meant losing invaluable resources that could propel Augmania. So it was FOMO either way.
Our intuition was leaning more toward heading to Berlin. Though, we had to research the situation adequately to make the right decision. And so we did.
Now, get ready for an exclusive peek behind the Augmania scenes into why we joined SAP.iO’s Berlin Foundry:
1- Berlin has more Room for Tech Startups
If you think about it, the word ‘startup’ is always synonymous with tech in Silicon Valley. I mean, it’s called Silicon Valley for a reason. However, that’s not the case in Berlin; at least not yet. The ecosystem there boasts a variety of startups that have little to do with tech.
As tech pioneers, SAP wanted to change all that with the Berlin Foundry. Thus, they invited Augmania and 5 other tech-based startups to apply for the program. Of these, Augmania was the only participant working in Augmented Reality. And that was a sweet edge to have.
In addition, after multiple rounds of research, we discovered that the AR field is fairly uncrowded in Berlin. Contrarily, in Silicon Valley, the field is jammed and the competitiveness is fierce. Therefore, it was exciting to potentially expose WebAR to new customers and explain how Augmania provides the best AR solutions.
2- Testing the Waters
Ultimately, joining the SAP.iO Foundry typified exploring a whole new market without investing many resources. We wouldn’t be crossing the Atlantic to launch a product there. Instead, we would be doing so to learn priceless info for later application. So the only resources we had to spend at the Foundry were time and effort. And these felt like solid investments, given the incredible line-up of the program.
3- Augmania Needed this Trip
Of course, the SAP.iO Foundry itself is loaded with benefits (we’ll get to them in a minute). But, we’re talking about the actual journey to uncharted land here. As cheesy as that sounds, taking calculated risks and chasing the unknown are sometimes very much needed in business. Accordingly, taking the entire company abroad for three months seemed like exactly what the doctor ordered.
With all that considered, we set our sails to Berlin and set our minds on augmenting this uber-vibrant city! To us, the program ended up being three months of insights, challenges, fun, and super cool rewards. Below are the coolest of cool rewards we gained from attending the Berlin SAP.iO Foundry:
1- Meeting SAP Customers
With over 437K customers, SAP has a special relationship with its customers. There is always an open line of communication between both parties and customers appreciate that. A part of that relationship is that SAP invites a group of its customers to Foundry programs. Heads of companies of different sizes come in to have one-on-one sessions with participants.
Without a doubt, that was one of our favorite experiences of the Berlin SAP.iO Foundry. To enumerate, we got to learn how these customers use tech, how satisfied they are with their tech usage, and what they would improve about their tech. Of course, we also explained to them how AR can augment their businesses. Some of them were so interested they even pitched brilliant AR ideas they want to be implemented ASAP.
2- Perfecting our Pitch
The cherry on top of each SAP.iO Foundry program is the demo day. During it, all program participants pitch their startups to a crowd of entrepreneurs, investors, and SAP heads. While Rania Reda is pretty much used to pitching Augmania, it was a new setting.
She wanted to make that pitch her best one yet. And she used the knowledge she acquired about the Berlin entrepreneurial scene to do that. That’s why she decided to hand giveaways to attendees that instantly showcased the powers of our WebAR platform. That way, she believed Augmania would leave a mark in the memories of attendees.
Honestly, we believe she rocked that stage. But, don’t take our word for it. See the pitch for yourselves below.
3- Integration with SAP’s C4/HANA in the Works
By and large, an objective of SAP during Foundry programs is to add to its own products. That’s why during programs, SAP teams conduct sessions with participants to discuss potential integrations.
Today, we are proud to tell you that Augmania AR solutions will be integrated into SAP’s C4/HANA. It’s still a work in progress, but it’s mighty exciting. C4/HANA is a leading software that handles CRM for companies, from marketing to customer feedback.
4- We Simply Loved the Experience
Remember when we said we felt like we needed the trip? Well, our gut feelings were right because we enjoyed the experience with all our hearts. Certainly, our product is more mature after going through the phases of the Foundry. Plus, the trip brought upon personal growth to our team and now they’re more motivated than ever.
Last but not least, Berlin, Germany, and Europe were beyond nice to us. Apart from the reasonable living expenses (a far cry from those of Silicon Valley), the ecosystem welcomed Augmania with open arms. We’ve made tons of new friends and discovered tons of thrilling opportunities.
Because of that, we are pleased to announce that our watch in Germany is far from over. In fact, we’ll be back in less than two weeks. Augmania will be exhibiting at the world-renowned DMEXCO Trade Show in beautiful Cologne on the 11th and 12th of September.
We are super pumped to tell the world all about what Augmania has to offer. And we can’t wait to see you there!