Software Development
Business / Innovation

At SAP’s new Co-Innovation Lab, an entry point for startups

The Newtown Square innovation hub, second of its kind in North America, is a place for tech collabs, say company officials.

At SAP's innovation lab in Newtown Square. (Courtesy photo)

German software maker SAP, whose North American HQ is in Newtown Square, Pa., just opened its new Co-Innovation Lab (COIL), a space for startups, partners and vendors to collaborate on tech solutions using SAP’s slate of tech platforms.

The 3,000-square-foot lab, second of its kind in North America, will seek to develop Internet of Things (IoT) and big-data analytics solutions, with a focus on high-demand sectors like manufacturing.

SAP’s total count of Co-Innnovation Labs, including the new Philly-area one, is 15. The first such space was opened in 2007 in Palo Alto.

Rudolf Held, global head of COIL, said the spaces help SAP bring the members of its ecosystem together to build new tech solutions: companies, vendors and clients follow the same methodology at all 15 locations.

“Why do we have so many? We’ve found that co-innovation requires colocation,” Held told Technical.ly. “It’s necessary to be where the experts sit.”

Held said the spaces have helped SAP work alongside clients in the mining business to bring real-time efficiency to the industry. In Brazil, the space allowed the company work to better approach the country’s tech ecosystem.

Locally, the space will be managed by Sinan Tumer, who said Co-Innovation Lab projects had already been taking place at Newtown Square since 2014.

The executive also framed the space as an opportunity for Philly companies to engage with SAP.

“We’ll be glad to start discussions with the companies here and start having this dialogue,” Tumer said. Collaboration in the space, Held adds, is not limited to current SAP partners, but open to all companies with innovative solutions.

News of the innovation lab caps off a startup-ish year for SAP, a $100-billion company with a staff of 3,000 in the Philly region. In March it kicked off a sleek innovation tour called Business Reimagined, showcasing its more flashy tech like artificial intelligence and machine learning. Also in the spring, it announced the $35-million SAP.iO Fund, which will invest on startups within the SAP ecosystem.

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