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Confluent Announces the Data Streaming Startup Challenge

Contest will showcase and reward early-stage startups that are leveraging data streaming to transform their industries

Confluent, Inc. (NASDAQ:CFLT), the data streaming pioneer, today announced the Data Streaming Startup Challenge. The Data Streaming Startup Challenge is a global competition that recognizes and rewards early-stage startups that are building innovative applications with Confluent. Startups will compete for a grand prize up to a $500,000 investment from Confluent, marketing exposure, and access to venture capitalists and Confluent co-founders who will provide seasoned mentorship.

Startups have long been at the forefront of transformation, revolutionizing industries and disrupting the status quo. Media startups changed how we watch our favorite shows. Ride sharing companies changed how we travel and online retailers changed the way we shop. Data streaming plays a key role in all of these use cases by powering the flow of real-time data across the entire organization, to fuel next-gen customer experiences and business operations. The Data Streaming Startup Challenge will shine a light on the game-changing applications early stage startups are building.

Judges in the Data Streaming Startup Challenge include:

  • Matt Miller, Partner, Sequoia Capital
  • Eric Vishria, Partner, Benchmark
  • Carlos Gonzalez-Cadenas, Partner, Index Ventures
  • Jay Kreps, Co-founder and CEO, Confluent
  • Shaun Clowes, Chief Product Officer, Confluent

“At Sequoia, we approach investing with an eye to become a founder’s most valued partner and to dream with them on a scale of decades,” said Matt Miller, partner, Sequoia Capital. “I always keep an eye out for what we call an outlier mentality - founders that have a chip on their shoulder to do something different, solve a problem and grow through challenges. The Data Streaming Startup Challenge will bring together startups with this drive to challenge the status quo and unlock new opportunities with data streaming.”

“Data streaming makes it easier for startups to turn data chaos into data products, enabling real-time processing and analysis for immediate insights,” said Tim Graczewski, Head of Confluent for Startups. “The Data Streaming Startup Challenge rewards startups that aren’t simply using Confluent Cloud, but testing the limits of how real-time data can be harnessed. I’m excited to meet more startups in the data streaming ecosystem and hear how this community of trailblazers are reimagining entire fields.”

The Prizes:

1 Grand Prize:

  • Up to a $500,000 investment
  • Global exposure through Confluent marketing channels

2 Runner-ups:

  • Up to a $250,000 investment
  • Global exposure through Confluent marketing channels

Top 10 Semi-Finalists:

  • $5,000 in Confluent Cloud Free Trial Credits
  • 2 passes to Kafka Summit London
  • Global exposure through Confluent marketing channels

Equal weighted criteria will include, long-term business potential, concept ingenuity, integration with Confluent Cloud and the leadership team’s ability to execute. Additional requirements include a pitch deck highlighting the core value proposition, how the startup uses Confluent Cloud, and details about the current state of the business. This will also include a 5 minute demo video showcasing the startup’s application and how they use Confluent. Finally, all startups submitting will need to be an early stage entity that is less than 5 years old and has raised less than $10 million to date.


  • September 12, 2023 - Submission Window Opens
  • December 31, 2023 - Submission Window Closes
  • January 22, 2024 - Top 10 Announced
  • February 15, 2024 - Top 3 Finalists Announced
  • March 19, 2024 - Finalists present at Kafka Summit London 2024 for Grand Prize

Learn how to apply and why Confluent is the best way to get started with data streaming and Apache Kafka for your startup.

Additional resources

About Confluent

Confluent is the data streaming platform that is pioneering a fundamentally new category of data infrastructure that sets data in motion. Confluent’s cloud-native offering is the foundational platform for data in motion – designed to be the intelligent connective tissue enabling real-time data, from multiple sources, to constantly stream across the organization. With Confluent, organizations can meet the new business imperative of delivering rich, digital front-end customer experiences and transitioning to sophisticated, real-time, software-driven backend operations. To learn more, please visit

Confluent and associated marks are trademarks or registered trademarks of Confluent, Inc.


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