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26 February 2014

Café Culture, Silicon Valley Style 

Germany-based enterprise software firm SAP is planning to launch a chain of startup cafés where technology entrepreneurs can gather 24/7 to confer with partners around the globe.

SAP co-founder Hasso Plattner says the first HANA Startup Café will open in about three months in California’s Silicon Valley, followed by Berlin and Shanghai. If the idea catches on, more will follow.

The cafés will promote SAP’s HANA software platform, part of the latest generation of database technology designed to run on the memory chip of a computing device instead of on a hard drive – offering far greater power and speed.

SAP became one of the world’s biggest software companies by developing tools to help large companies manage complex business processes. Now it is focusing on early-stage technology companies, which is only fitting given that it was founded in 1972 by five former IBM engineers.

Startup culture is famous for its all-nighters, with bleary-eyed programmers fueled by pizza and caffeine for months on end. SAP hopes its cafés will help the innovative process through drinks, entertainment and 24-hour access to more than 1,200 companies worldwide that use HANA software.

The first HANA Startup Café is planned for Palo Alto, not far from the famous garage where Bill Hewlett and David Packard founded the computing giant Hewlett-Packard in 1939. Though the valley remains the birthplace of startup culture, its spirit of invention has spread to every continent.

The idea of a global chain of cafés certainly makes sense. For all the communication benefits of the Internet, some of the best innovations stem from the interactions among people sitting in the same room.