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Announcing Confluentā€™s Data Streaming Startup Challenge

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Just under a year ago, Confluent announced the Confluent for Startups program, which provides Confluent Cloud credits to early stage startups trying to get their streaming initiatives off the ground. Since then, weā€™ve worked with over 150 startups to help them put their data in motion, companies like Ecofye, a London-based startup that has leveraged Confluent for Startups to build an innovative data streaming pipeline to provide real time carbon emission monitoring for climate conscious enterprises. The support Ecofye has received from Confluent for Startups has been central to their early success. According to Co-Founder and CEO Daniela Arroyo-Olson: ā€œConfluent for Startups provided us a cost-free opportunity to build our proof of concept and supported us with critical Kafka expertise along the way."

Building on that momentum, Confluent and a panel of world-class venture capitalists, including Erik Vishria (Benchmark Capital), Matt Miller (Sequoia Capital), and Carlos Gonzalez-Cadenas (Index Ventures), are excited to announce the launch of the Data Streaming Startup Challenge, a global competition aiming to recognize early-stage startups that are putting data streaming at the heart of their businesses. With a grand prize of the opportunity of up to $500,000 investment and two runner-up prizes of up to $250,000 each, this competition is set to inspire and fuel the growth of early-stage startups across the data technology landscape.

In today's digital-native age, data streaming pipelines have become an essential backbone for driving real-time insights, automation, and seamless user experiences across industries. Confluent for Startups allows early-stage companies to avoid making painful compromises when developing their data architecture. Confluent Cloud provides startups with a robust, scalable, and cost-effective foundation upon which to build their critical data infrastructure and solve their most data intensive challenges. Doing it the right way, right from the beginning drives faster development, better insights, and a competitive edge in today's data-driven business landscape. Confluent and our venture capital partners recognize the potential of new startups to revolutionize the world with data streaming applications, and weā€™re dedicated to helping them realize their dreams, whether thatā€™s the next hit mobile app or helping the worldā€™s largest enterprises monitor and reduce their carbon footprint.

Competition Details

Confluent is inviting startups from around the world to participate in this exciting competition. To be eligible, companies must meet the following criteria:

  • Be established within the last five years

  • Have secured less than $10 million in total venture capital financing to date

  • Use Confluent Cloud for their data streaming infrastructure

Participating startups will be evaluated based on the originality, creativity, scalability, and impact of data streaming in their products or services. The solutions should demonstrate an innovative advancement in real-time data processing, analytics, artificial intelligence, or visualization, and showcase a potential to drive significant improvements in data-intensive industries such as e-commerce, fintech, cybersecurity, and others.


The grand prize winner of the competition will be awarded up to a $500,000 investment, providing a substantial financial boost that can be used to fuel their growth and further development of their technology stack. Two runner-up startups will each receive up to $250,000 investment to support their ongoing endeavors. The top ten finalists will receive $5,000 in Confluent Cloud credits and two free passes to Kafka Summit London.

Submission and Judging

Startups interested in participating can submit their entries via the official competition website from September 12 to December 31, 2023. A panel of distinguished judges, including Confluent co-founder Jay Kreps, Chief Product Officer Shaun Clowes, and leading data and enterprise software investment partners from Benchmark Capital, Sequoia Capital, and Index Ventures will assess the semi-finalists. The judging process will involve a rigorous evaluation of each solution's technical capabilities, executive leadership potential, and overall impact on its target market.

Join Confluentā€™s Startups Program and Submit Your Entry Today!

If you meet our eligibility requirements and youā€™re already streaming data with Confluent, head to the Data Streaming Startup Challenge site and start working on your submission.

If youā€™re still using only open source Apache Kafka or just getting started with your streaming applications, take the first step of applying for our Confluent for Startups Program to get up and moving with free Confluent Cloud credits. Weā€™ll show you just how easy it is to use Confluentā€™s fully managed offering.

For more information about the competition, terms and conditions, eligibility criteria, submission guidelines, and judging panel, please visit our officialĀ Data Streaming Startup Challenge Terms and ConditionsĀ page.

  • Tim Graczewski is the Global Head of Confluent for Startups. A two-time venture backed entrepreneur, Tim has also held senior strategy and business development roles at Oracle and Intuit.

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