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Max Kahn: Powering the Growth of Enterprise Software Startups

Max Kahn: Powering the Growth of Enterprise Software Startups

Ladderworks is a publishing platform of diverse picture books and online curriculum with the mission to empower over a million kids to become social entrepreneurs. Our current series features interviews by our interplanetary journalist Spiffy with inspiring Social Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders, and Changemakers who are advancing the UN SDGs. 

Spiffy here with the scoop on the entrepreneurial leaders of Planet Earth. As the only interplanetary journalist stationed on this blue planet, I’m thrilled to present this galactic exclusive with Max Kahn, the head of startup ecosystem development at SAP.iO. Let’s learn what’s happening at SAP.iO and how Max is making a positive impact in the world. 

Spiffy: Thanks for joining me, Max! Tell me, what challenge are you addressing through SAP.iO?

Max Kahn: Thanks for having me, Spiffy! Some of the biggest challenges facing companies looking to adopt emerging technologies is integration, security, and access. We launched SAP.iO to make it as easy as possible for SAP's customer base to adopt new solutions in record time. To do this, our global team helps enterprise software startups partner with SAP and integrate their solutions to enable their growth. In addition, SAP recognized that driving inclusive entrepreneurship in the enterprise software and VC industries could accelerate innovation, reduce bias, and drive better outcomes. That's why we committed to ensuring 45% of our portfolio companies are founded or led by women and underrepresented entrepreneurs.

Spiffy: How cool! What motivates you to do it?

Max Kahn: Helping customers solve big challenges while enabling entrepreneurs to become wildly successful is extremely fulfilling. I love the ability to see the direct impact of my work and the ability to learn new things every day.

Spiffy: How would you describe the impact of your work?

Max Kahn: I am proud that we've facilitated over 7,000 connections between startups and customers since 2018. I'm also proud that 44% of our portfolio companies are founded or led by an underrepresented entrepreneur, 47% of exits in our portfolio are startups founded or led by an underrepresented entrepreneur, and 50% of unicorns in our portfolio were founded or are led by an underrepresented entrepreneur. In addition, our collective portfolio of 550+ startups has raised over $12B in VC funding and created over 36,000 new jobs.

Spiffy: Wonderful! Thanks for speaking with me today, Max—it’s been an honor!

Max Kahn is an entrepreneur, creative strategist, and designer with deep experience in building brands, leading change, and scaling businesses across multiple industries. He currently leads global strategy, ecosystem development, and marketing for SAP.iO Foundries, SAP’s award-winning startup partnership and corporate innovation unit. (First published on the Ladderworks website on November 3, 2023.)

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect those of Ladderworks LLC.

© 2023 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by George Romar. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Launchpad: Creative Entrepreneurship Workshops for K-3 Kids and their caregivers here.