SAP to launch investment fund

Target is small companies developing NetWeaver apps

To accelerate development of applications running on its NetWeaver integration platform, SAP has launched a US$125 million (NZ$200 million) venture fund to invest in software development companies.

The NetWeaver fund is a way of establishing a closer engagement with a limited number of ISVs (independent software vendors), of which a few could eventually be acquired by SAP, says SAP chief executive Henning Kagermann.

More than 1,000 ISVs are currently developing applications to run on NetWeaver, a technology crucial to enabling SAP's web services-based Enterprise Services Architecture. So far, developers have created more than 1,500 applications.

Through its targeted investments, SAP aims not only to spur the development of more applications but also identify software development companies that could be later acquired and help fill expertise gaps in the company's technology portfolio, Kagermann says.

The fund, financed out of SAP's corporate development budget, will be managed by Zia Yusuf, the company's executive vice president of platform ecosystems, and Jim Mackey, its senior vice president of corporate finance.

SAP Ventures, a separate arm, also invests in startups but its focus is emerging technologies.

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