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FIWARE so far

A quick review of CEED Tech cohort 1 and what we have to look forward to in our next FIWARE program starting next week.

The five CEED Tech partner accelerators collaborate to build companies and get them to their target markets faster.
Through FI-Accelerate we join the technology, network and financial resources of the EU FIWARE project with our existing programs.
As we prepare to launch the second CEED Tech cohort it's a good opportunity to look back at how the FIWARE program evolved during the first.
In our first FIWARE program, the CEED Tech consortium accelerated 34 startups from 15 countries; introduced them to more than 300 global mentors and investors; and distributed over €2M to give them the runway to test and build their businesses. 
In this very early stage, startups' cash-burn should be kept relatively low while they test different business ideas and technological solutions (like FIWARE). Teams joined us at a mix of early stages: from those with just an idea but a great team, to those that already had some funding and growing sales and wanted support exploding on to the global stage. Building from our low-cost bases in Bratislava, Prague, Budapest, Vilnius and Tallinn keeps the burn-rate down and the initial FIWARE grant of up to €30k was more than enough for the teams to test and start or scale their sales.
By the end of the program the average monthly revenue across the teams had nearly tripled from broader customer bases. A great example here was PublishDrive - ebook publishing made simple - which joined program with good traction in Hungary and finished with customers in the UK, North America and Asia.
The FIWARE technology platform is itself relatively early stage and FI-Accelerate - in which CEED Tech is one of 16 accelerators - was the first real-world exposure for many of the enablers. Following a tidy-up of the catalogue to focus on the more mature and better supported enablers, the teams put them to the test with the support of FIWARE mentors and the technology developers across Europe.
The preferred enablers differed significantly across the FI-Accelerate accelerators due to the range of company stages and focuses they support. For CEED Tech, the clear favourites deal with identify management and big data analysis, with object storage and software deployment coming close behind. No big surprises given the majority of the teams are web-based execution plays that already have their product basics in place and are looking to the FIWARE enablers to fill tech gaps that would take time to develop themselves when that time was better spent iterating on the business' core features.
As expected for early stage tech - FIWARE in this case - there were bugs in the code and holes in the documentation and these were largely resolved during the program.
FIWARE also brought access to new networks to the teams. Initially these were tech focused with the FIWARE mentors and the enabler developers talking the teams through best practice integrations and usage scenarios. By the end of the program the teams were talking more with one another - not just within a partner accelerator, as is the norm, but across the ecosystem - through email channels dedicated by the EU; official FIWARE conferences where teams met tech, business and investor mentors; and unofficial side channels in Slack set up by founders to support one another. 
Building and leveraging this nascent FIWARE Community is where we are going now. One of the biggest values offered by accelerators is access to our wide networks of mentors, partners and investors. And this is the next evolution of FIWARE as the focus moves to the innovative community of developers and partners built around a more open and standardised technology platform.
The FIWARE program is still young and iterating but it has already helped over 800 startups make a start or jump to the next level with tech, network and funding support. As CEED Tech cohort two launches we look forward to bringing the experience and networks built in the first round to our new teams and connect them in with the growing ecosystem of innovators like themselves.
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