Article by Arik Hesseldahl from AllThingsD on October 02, 2013
Add SAP Ventures to the list of tech-focused venture capital firms you should probably be paying attention to. The company said today that it has raised nearly $1.1 billion in two funds over the last year.
The latest to close is SAP Ventures Fund II, a $650 million fund aimed at direct investments in up-and-coming tech companies. Nino Marakovic, the firm’s CEO and managing director, told me that the firm is looking for companies that “have established market presences that are growing very fast, and which we can help make into industry leaders.”
Marakovic told me yesterday that it’s not simply an investment vehicle for SAP, comparable to, say, Intel Capital, the German software giant with which it is affiliated. It’s technically independent; it’s just that SAP is its sole limited partner and external investor.
The new fund, when combined with its $405 million SAP HANA Real Time Fund, and its original $353 million SAP Ventures Fund I, brings the total assets under management to $1.4 billion.
The HANA Real Time Fund, which is named for the HANA cloud computing product that SAP sells (I talked with SAP co-CEO Bill McDermott about it earlier this year), doesn’t take direct investments, but instead places its funds with existing early-stage VC firms around the world. So far, the fund has made 11 different investments in funds based in Israel, Europe, the U.S. and China.
“The idea there is to partner with those funds and have them invest in early-stage companies,” Marakovic said. “Part of that is to help us get a pipeline of companies to invest in directly later. Part of it is to create a huge network of affiliated VCs we can tap for domain or geographic expertise for our own investment activities. Also, we want to engage with these companies at an early stage and introduce them to new technologies coming out of SAP.”
The firm has a fairly solid portfolio already. Its investments include Box, the fast-growing enterprise cloud company; DocuSign, the electronic signature company; and Fitbit, the wearable health-gadget company. It also invested in LinkedIn and newly public Violin Memory. Other portfolio companies, like ExactTarget and ScaleIO, have been acquired.
The other big news is that the firm is staffing up its business-development team. It plans to hire a 10-person team that will be based around the world.