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SAP boss reveals plan to open chain of start-up cafes

The spaces will be named HANA cafes after SAP's in-memory computing platform

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SAP, the 41-year-old German enterprise software behemoth, is planning to open up a chain of 24-hour cafes around the world named after its in-memory computing platform, and the product it’s pushing most, HANA (High Performance Analytic Appliance).

The first HANA Cafe will open in Palo Alto, California within the next three months, before being expanded to Berlin, Germany and Shanghai, China.

They will provide somewhere for start-ups building applications on top of the HANA platform to connect with each other, according to SAP chairman Hasso Plattner. SAP claims there are currently 1,250 start-ups building products on its HANA platform.

Speaking at the new SAP Innovation Centre in Potsdam/Berlin today, Plattner said: “We create this now for these companies so they can come in and connect. Start-up companies can help each other. They can even collaborate if they’re not in the same market niche.”

The HANA Cafes will be open all the time so that start-ups in the US can connect with those in Germany and China, and vice versa, said Plattner.

It was also revealed that the HANA Cafes will serve alcoholic drinks and could even feature stand-up comedy and other forms of entertainment.

The chairman, who co-founded the company back in 1972, revealed that SAP wants to open more of these kind of “cool” spaces, in a bid to reflect the success that Apple has had with its own Apple Stores.   

“Once we have a good one running there then people will say: ‘Oh, we want to have it as well,’” said Plattner.

But when Techworld asked the SAP communications team for more details a spokesperson said: "At the moment we are just talking about a concept, an idea only... [there are] no detailed plans."

Another new space that SAP has recently launched is the "AppHaus", which is designed to be a hub for creating new software, free from corporate norms or constraints that come from working in a company that employs over 60,000 people. SAP also has nine of these centres around the world, including one in Dublin, Ireland and another in Los Altos, California. 

“We think that spaces can be great amplifiers of what we do," said SAP product and innovation executive board member, Dr Vishal Sikka, adding that they can be easily adapted to reflect what SAP is doing at a given point in time. 

A number of other large tech firms have opened up start-up spaces in cities around the world. For example, Google opened its Campus in London in March 2012, while Microsoft and several others firms have launched start-up accelerator spaces, everywhere from Berlin to Tel Aviv. 


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