What Feedzai Learned in the SAP Startup Focus Program

Nuno Sebastiao, Co-founder & CEO, Feedzai
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Nuno Sebastiao, Co-founder & CEO, Feedzai

Starting a business can be both exhilarating and exhausting. It requires your utmost attention and demands your ability to adapt to any situation. Then there is the technology needed to run and scale the business, the people needed to make the business work and oh, yeah, money to keep it all going. The experience can be overwhelming, unless you find a strong partner from the start.

“Through the SAP Startup Focus program we were able to get access to its innovative technology and comprehensive customer base, among other things”

At Feedzai, we’ve seen the value of partnerships, and have found a great one in SAP and SAP Startup Focus. In fact, Feedzai was the first company to be backed by the SAP HANA Real-time Fund.

Our business started in Europe and we wanted to enter the North American marketplace, and were lucky to have discovered SAP Startup Focus. As a company that started in Europe, we needed the right program and process in place to ensure that our sales and marketing was equipped, that our technology would be validated and, just as important, that our business culture here would adapt well in the U.S. We found all these valuable traits in SAP Startup Focus.

It’s rare to find a partnership that provides benefits from various angles. Through the SAP Startup Focus program we were able to get access to its innovative technology and comprehensive customer base, among other things.

More than just money

Funding was what gave us the boost to take our business to the next level but it was not the only value we’ve received from the program. Through SAP Startup Focus we obtained immediate access to their cutting edge SAP HANA technology platform, which was very useful for us to demonstrate the power of our machine learning technology. On this platform, we were able to rapidly iterate on our product as well as explore possible new verticals and ideas that we wanted to take with our technology.

Resources at Arm’s Reach

We also had access to valuable resources, including the SAP customer base. Through this access, we were able to test the waters with a relevant customer base that gave us insight on user activity, and identify trends, challenges and opportunities with our technology. This is the head start every startup needs.

Participating in SAP Startup Focus also helped us more quickly adapt to doing business in the United States such as differences in organizational structures, views on time management, frequency of face-to-face meetings, to name a few. The interactions through SAP Startup Focus helped us learn the nuances in American culture that we needed to master by the time we moved our headquarters to the U.S. to make our mark in the Silicon Valley startup community.

Community Available On-tap

Startups also need exposure in order to tout their offerings and help sales sign business. It’s not easy, as marketing and public relations are often a luxury in early stages of a company. By participating in SAP Startup Focus, we found a great community of entrepreneurs and thought leaders that offered advice and helped grow the awareness of our company. As part of this partnership, companies can pitch the venture community via the SAP HANA Real-time Fund and SAP Ventures—it’s an invaluable opportunity to pitch this exclusive circle of investors.

Equity not required

We also have been included in some of the SAP Startup Focus press material, social media and events. This marketing aspect is important—it can help build the confidence your team needs when making presentations, knowing you are focusing on the right angles. In addition, every one of us needs practice giving presentations and interviews with media. Once you’re in SAP Startup Focus, you’re very much a part of their family. There’s huge opportunity for eyeballs on you—about 20,000 people, including SAP customers, employees, analysts, influencers and media following them, inherently follow you. There are tons of opportunities to be involved in a number of mediums to get exposure, such as inclusions in social media campaigns, participation in internet radio shows, podcasts, and more.

Ultimately, this was one of the best strategic moves we made in the early days of Feedzai. With the help of SAP Startup Focus, we had a great advantage to kick-start our business and get it to where we are today. Today, Feedzai powers payments systems globally for customers in North and South America, Europe, India and Africa. Feedzai has garnered market validation of its technology from customers across the globe, which include the world’s largest processor, a top five bank, a top three acquirer, a top three telecommunicat ions company—all with combined total processed volume of over 100B transactions annually. A few customer names include Celfocus, Coca- Cola, Logica, Vodafone, Ericsson, SIBS Payment Solutions, Horizon Wind Energy, and Servebase Credit Card Solutions.

We can confidently say that the SAP Startup Focus program was a huge stepping-stone to get us where we are today.

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