PALO ALTO, CA--(Marketwired - Oct 16, 2014) - SAP Ventures today announced that it has become Sapphire Ventures, a move that reinforces the firm's independence, industry prominence and expanded capabilities to drive rapid scale for startups. The announcement was made at the firm's inaugural CEO Summit, which brought together more than 100 executives from its portfolio companies and IT executives from several Global 2000 companies, among other industry leaders. With US$1.4 billion in committed capital currently, Sapphire Ventures has invested in more than 125 innovative expansion-stage companies, as well as numerous early-stage venture funds, across five continents.
"Becoming Sapphire Ventures is an expression of how far our firm has come and where we are going," said Nino Marakovic, CEO and managing director, Sapphire Ventures. "Over the last four years, we have built a multi-faceted platform that delivers catalytic capital, differentiated resources and a global set of enterprise relationships to entrepreneurs. Sapphire Ventures will continue to draw on the powerful reach and resources of the SAP ecosystem, as we have done for nearly 20 years and which is evidenced by the clear reference to SAP in our new name. We are unequivocally focused on maintaining and strengthening our close relationship with SAP, but we are also pursuing ways to broaden our enterprise network to further our companies' efforts to scale, maximize growth and become global category leaders."
SAP Ventures spun out of SAP SE (NYSE: SAP) in January 2011, becoming an independent venture firm. Today, Sapphire Ventures maintains a unique affiliation with the business software giant, giving portfolio companies broad exposure to enterprise customers and channel partners. SAP's global enterprise ecosystem comprises more than 261,000 customers worldwide and 86% of the Global Fortune 500.
"We decided to work with Sapphire Ventures because we needed a partner that could deliver access to a broad customer base and help us navigate intricate enterprise networks," said Ron Yekutiel, chairmen, CEO and co-founder of Kaltura. "Sapphire Ventures is different than any other growth stage investor because the firm has the ability to tap industry connections and know-how that are potentially game-changing for entrepreneurs. The team has brokered valuable relationships with key players both at SAP and in the broader enterprise space, as well as created opportunities for customer introductions, that are helping us further our business goals."
In 2013, Sapphire Ventures raised more than US$900 million in fresh funding -- $650 million for its second growth fund, which invests directly in expansion-stage technology companies, and an additional $250 million to increase its new fund of funds initiative to invest in emerging early-stage venture investors worldwide. The expanded capital and investment strategy allow Sapphire Ventures to participate in larger rounds of financing at the expansion stage and fund early-stage entrepreneurs, thus increasing the breadth and depth of the Sapphire Ventures community.
To further support portfolio companies in accelerating business growth, Sapphire Ventures established a market development team in the fall of 2013. The team leverages the collective experience and expertise of the Sapphire Ventures team and its extended network to help portfolio companies develop go-to-market plans, international expansion strategies and more efficient operations.
In addition, Sapphire Ventures has a unique alliance with the Americas' SAP Users' Group (ASUG), the world's largest independent SAP users' group. The organization represents more than 3,700 companies across 17 industries in North America, whereby Sapphire Ventures portfolio companies and ASUG member companies work closely on myriad industry-defining initiatives.
"As startups scale at a more rapid pace, we're evolving our resources and capabilities to help them become global enterprises, whether they target large corporations, individual consumers, or anything in between," said Rami Branitzky, managing director of market development, Sapphire Ventures. "Our new name is an affirmation of our identity today and a reflection of the people, structures and strategies now in place to ensure our entrepreneurs have what they need to take the global stage."
About Sapphire Ventures
Sapphire Ventures is focused on helping today's most innovative technology companies become global category-defining leaders. Leveraging nearly two decades of experience and an extensive global enterprise network, Sapphire Ventures invests capital, resources and expertise to enable its portfolio companies to scale rapidly. Whether entrepreneurs sell to businesses, consumers or both, Sapphire Ventures offers a powerful platform for business development and operational excellence to help them accelerate growth. With US$1.4 billion under active management via direct growth investments and an early-stage fund of funds strategy, Sapphire Ventures is uniquely positioned to elevate companies to the global stage. Find us in Palo Alto and London and at www.sapphireventures.com. Follow us @sapphirevc.