Business software firm SAP has announced to invest Euro 2 billion, equivalent to $2.45 billion, in France in next five years. The money will be used to accelerate the company’s growth in the cloud and advance a technology community focused on machine learning (ML), blockchain, the Internet of Things (IoT) and software as a service (SaaS).
The company said the development is a part of its global strategy – fueled by the SAP Leonardo digital innovation system – to help every organization become an intelligent enterprise.
The software firm will invest in French startups that build solutions complementary to the SAP Leonardo system, through its investment fund – SAP.iO Fund- to foster fast collaboration and global scale.
“There is a real sense of economic momentum in France,” Bill McDermott, CEO, SAP, said after a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron. “President Macron’s bold embrace of the digital world will help France rise to an enviable position as a global innovation leader. We see immense potential in the entrepreneurial spirit of France to disrupt business models, create modern jobs and unleash exciting new opportunities that help the world run better.”
For the first time, the incubation and innovation activities SAP undertakes in France include investment in startups with special focus on global impact, such as sustainability and climate change, where France is taking a leadership role. This new focus on social impact will complement the SAP.iO program’s strategic investments, which align with core businesses and technologies of SAP. The startups, led by dynamic entrepreneurs, play a critical role in extending SAP’s footprint and creating high-value use cases for customers.
Besides the investment announcement, SAP also announced its acquisition of Recast.ai which provides a development environment – software, technology and applications – that uses natural language, for example, chatbots. Recast.AI’s technology matches the requirements of conversational chatbots and allows high-performance natural language processing that supports more than 20 languages.
The acquisition will help the software firm enhance the natural language processing capabilities in its solutions to help customers enjoy an improved user experience. By this, the firm aims to simplify complex business interactions and processes by employing conversational user experience technology. The intention is to have applications speak to SAP software users in natural language. The company has also created the SAP CoPilot digital assistant, a Web application, and an in-house platform to build conversational applications. It intends to use this platform across a wide breadth of its portfolio.
Recast.AI was founded in 2015, emerging from French coding school “42,” and is currently located at the incubator “Station F.” The company has grown quickly and today serves international customers in France, including large banks and insurance and tech companies. Recast.AI provides a modern ML-based technical architecture and owns proprietary algorithms that understand natural language. Its team of highly talented data scientists and engineers will strengthen ML development at SAP.
SAP is acquiring Recast.AI through its direct French subsidiary SAP France Holding, a limited liability company. Both companies agreed not to disclose details of the transaction.