Our Ask An Angel series speaks with angels and investors involved in early stage deals. It explores all angles of what founders need to know as they seek funding to grow their scalable businesses. In our first installment we speak with Kange Kaneene, Senior Director of Business Development at SAP Ariba. Kange specializes in spend management, specifically in combination with enterprise application software and supply chain management. Kange is currently focusing on expanding SAP’s investments and partnerships. Here she talks about why she got into tech, what she looks for in an investment and the deal breaker that made her cut off a promising acquisition.
How did you get into technology; what drove your fascination from an early age?
When I was growing up I wanted to do more traditional things like becoming a lawyer or a doctor. Instant messenger was really popular when I was growing up and my dad saw how fascinated I was by it. My dad saw my interest in technology and suggested that I try pursuing computer science. Computer science was creative, which I really liked.
What do for work you do today?
I work at SAP creating applications, working on business development, establishing partnerships with other businesses, and work with other groups that invest in startups.
What does your current career progression look like to date and what role put you on the map and gave you confidence to know that you will become a tech executive?
In the future I hope to get more into investing, maybe become a venture capitalists or an angel investor. I would also love to have the opportunity to invest in minority groups and businesses run by minorities, since they are so often underrepresented. SAP was the beginning of my career, I got a lot of exposure to the president and CEO of the company which I think really helped my career.
When looking at working with a company for a potential joint venture, which may lead to an acquisition, what do you look for in the company and team?
It’s important that we spend a lot of time getting to know the management team and to develop a rapport with key members of the company. We make sure to look for a team with expertise in their field.
What is a turn-off or an early warning sign that trying to acquire a startup may not work out?
One of the biggest turn-offs in a startup is if they have no financial traction or if the team hasn’t done their homework and is clearly uninformed.
What's the one most obvious thing that the founding team of startups overlook or take for granted when they are going through the process of starting a relationship with you and your company?
A lot of startups don’t view a relationship with SAP as a two way street, both businesses should get something out of the relationship and, often times, startups just expect money to be given to them. Small companies want to work with large companies. They want to be large scale which is why many want to work with SAP, but what do small businesses have to offer to SAP? That’s often overlooked.
Have you ever come close to acquiring a company and had to cut ties because of something that the founding team did or did not do?
Yes, we asked the CEO of a company point blank what their revenue was last year, and the number that the CEO gave was inaccurate. So either he lied or he simply didn’t know, whatever the reason was, we still had to cut ties with the company altogether.
Thank you, Kange!
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Tags: Interview, angel investor, technology