26 – 100 in alphabetical order: Ram Jambunathan, SVP and MD, SAP.iO
Ram Jambunathan has been leading SAP.iO, the corporate venture capital (CVC) subsidiary of Germany-based enterprise software producer SAP, as senior vice-president (SVP) and managing director (MD) since the unit was formed in July 2016.
Jambunathan additionally added the head of corporate strategy role in October 2019 at the parent firm. He said: “As head of corporate strategy I lead a team responsible for developing and aligning long-term strategy across various SAP organisational – board – areas, including cloud and application strategy, go-to-market strategy, technology and SAP’s lines of business.
“The team combines both a deep understanding of enterprise software with a structured approach to problem-solving that drives unique insights and an ability to help ‘see around corners’. Our understanding of where adjacent opportunities and disruption may come is informed by many sources, including the startup ecosystem, and particularly through SAP.iO, SAP’s strategic business unit focused on accelerating innovations and pathfinding new areas relevant to SAP and its customers.
“As MD of SAP.iO, my responsibilities include the SAP.iO Fund – SAP’s early-stage startup investment fund – and the SAP.iO Foundries, our global network of equity-free startup accelerators.”
The SAP.iO Fund invests in business-to-business (B2B) software startups, and has invested in roughly 30 companies to date, while the SAP.iO Foundries are in-residence programs – now in eight global startup hubs – that offer a threefold value proposition, Jambunathan said.
The three points are curated mentoring from SAP’s internal and external experts, exposure to SAP technologies and support for accelerating integrations to SAP systems, as well as opportunities to meet and Collaborate with SAP customers.
In addition, SAP.iO sponsors SAP.iO No Boundaries, SAP’s commitment to supporting inclusive entrepreneurship in the B2B software industry, Jambunathan said. By 2023, SAP.iO has committed to supporting more than 200 startups founded or led by underrepresented founders and will dedicate up to 40% of the investible capital in the SAP.iO Fund to invest in startups founded or led by underrepresented technology entrepreneurs.
Jambunathan said in 2018 that three things attracted him to CVC, to SAP in particular. “The potential to thoughtfully incubate innovation at SAP scale around APIs, business content and technologies. Innovation continues to be what is long-term rewarded by the market in software,” he noted.
“Like many other established companies with a successful legacy-class presence in the market, we saw that a renewal of how SAP incubates new value and drives innovation is required to capitalise on the industry-scale changes upon it. SAP has been incredibly successful for 45 years, and we believe this is a foundational approach to help drive success for the next 45 years. And few companies have the breadth and depth to do this in an enterprise like SAP.”
Earlier in his career, Jambunathan co-founded a fibre-optic infrastructure startup, T-Networks, now part of Broadcom backed by Sequoia, Greylock and USVP.
After leaving T-Networks after five and a half years at the end of 2005, Jambunathan became a McKinsey consultant before joining SAP in mid-2009 and working his way up from a value engineering principal to SVP and now MD of SAP.iO.
He holds a master’s degree and a PhD in electrical engineering from University of Michigan.
Ram Jambunathan, SVP and MD, SAP.iO
GCV Powerlist 2020 PDF
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