- An important matching unit between venture capitalists and entrepreneurs, FIWARE Accelerator focuses on startups, SMEs, incubators, VCs and other investors;
- FIWARE Accelerator strives to bring SMEs and startups to the forefront of innovation, based on Open Source development models;
- Given their relevant areas of expertise, Zabala and Gateway49 have been brought on board to deliver technical training and create business opportunities for startups and SMEs.
Berlin, August 05 — FIWARE Foundation, the non-profit organization that drives the definition and encourages the adoption of open standards — implemented using Open Source technologies and reference architectures — to ease the development of smart digital solutions across multiple domains, announces today that it has joined forces with accelerator companies Zabala Innovation Consulting and Gateway49 to deliver technical expertise, access to funding and business mentoring to startups and SMEs to develop innovative FIWARE-based smart solutions and, thereby, transform comprehensive business operations.
Having supported startups and SMEs since 2014 with the FIWARE Accelerate Program — in which over 1,000 startups received €80m in funding from the European Commission — in April this year, FIWARE began a new chapter with the FIWARE Accelerator. Recognized as an important matching unit between venture capitalists and entrepreneurs, the program focuses on driving high-potential startups and enterprises to develop and bring onto the market innovative smart solutions, based on FIWARE technology.
Technology at the forefront of businesses
By offering tailored funding and open call opportunities, business development guidance, global visibility and network, prototype testing within the global FIWARE Community, and access to a global portfolio of relevant industry players, VCs, standardization and research institutions, private and public entities, FIWARE Accelerator strives to bring SMEs and startups to the forefront of innovation, based on Open Source development models. In spite of FIWARE’s considerable adoption growth over the past few years — the large majority of the 150+ Open & Agile Smart Cities (OASC) cities have already adopted FIWARE technologies — there is much room for further growth and the program will increase the adoption of FIWARE technologies from a regional and global standpoint.
“Developing the technology is often the most expensive stage for startups. The startups enrolled in our program don’t have to deal with this issue as they can use our own FIWARE platform to design solutions from scratch and then scale up, by developing solutions in other verticals. By breaking the traditional barriers for technology enablement and business acceleration with Open Source technologies and standards, FIWARE Accelerator encourages the development of scalable, interoperable and disruptive smart digital solutions to accelerate businesses, increase competitiveness and facilitate the diversification of businesses across many domains. The participants of our program get the most value from it since our accelerator is not like your traditional, next door accelerator program: it is a continuous initiative that allows participants to access leading third-party accelerator partners on an ongoing basis” –— Tonia Sapia, Marketing and Project Manager at FIWARE Foundation and responsible for FIWARE Accelerator program.
Different skills put to work for the greater good
Given their relevant areas of expertise, Zabala and Gateway49 have been brought on board to create business opportunities and deliver technical training for startups and SMEs. A Spanish-based firm, Zabala Innovation Consulting was established in 1986 and currently operates as an international innovation management consultant with offices in France, Belgium, the UK and Colombia. With over 30 years of experience in the preparation of European research and innovation (R&I) project proposals, the company has been a long-term partner of FIWARE and is currently managing over 31 million EUR in cascade funding opportunities. The synergies with FIWARE’s work and what it means for the startups enrolled in the FIWARE Accelerator is of great dimension.
“We have +200 specialists facilitating the understanding (of) and access to funding opportunities (including cascade funding targeting SMEs, in particular), product development, experimentation and launch across several domains. SMEs usually struggle on a wider range of fronts: establishing how innovative and competitive their product is – in the backdrop of a cutting-edge R&I environment and target market – and accessing the appropriate knowledge and funding support for experimenting. We have consolidated relations with relevant experts that provide specific support to entrepreneurs and promoters of new products in all relevant phases of the innovation process, so this is where we better shine a light at: guiding the SMEs and startups enrolled in the FIWARE Accelerator with regards to what the emerging trends are, who are their potential competitors, how FIWARE technologies and network can be the deal-breaker” — Margherita Volpe, Research and Innovation Consultant at Zabala.
Following its early involvement with the accelerator “SpeedUP Europe” — in which FIWARE Open Source was deployed to create solutions for clean tech, Smart Cities and Smart AgriFood — Gateway49 has been created in cooperation with Lübeck’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Glocal Consult. The company supports early stage startups working in the fields of life science, food, Smart Cities, logistics and new digital technologies.
“Building off our experience at Technology Center Lübeck (TZL), we aim to promote innovative ideas and establish a strong startup ecosystem in the North of Germany, together with our startups and partners. Our goal is to support outstanding entrepreneurs to put their ideas into practice and build successful companies together, following an Open Source approach. In today’s competitive market, building sustainable, smart digital business models should be the focus for entrepreneurs. Through this partnership with FIWARE, we support startups to sustainably develop the right business model and technology platforms and on this front, FIWARE plays a major role. We want to further support the dissemination and usage of Open Source technologies. Gateway49 is assuming a crucial role as a technology accelerator to support national and international digital startups using FIWARE technology” — Stefan Stengel, Program Manager at Gateway49 and owner of Glocal Consult.
In just under five months, +40 open calls have been promoted by FIWARE Accelerator, culminating in several dozens of opportunities for funding, partner introductions, and tender processes within European-led projects. Other similar agreements with international accelerator initiatives are currently under analysis and will soon be materialized. Until the end of 2020, new applications are being accepted from startups and SMEs to join the FIWARE Accelerator Program.
About FIWARE Foundation
Together with its members and partners, FIWARE Foundation drives the definition — and the Open Source implementation — of key open standards that enable the development of portable and interoperable smart solutions in a faster, easier and affordable way, avoiding vendor lock-in scenarios, whilst also nurturing FIWARE as a sustainable and innovation-driven business ecosystem. The foundation achieves that through the support of a fast-growing global community that shares a common vision and combines their efforts toward making FIWARE the Open Source technology of choice for industries, governments, universities and associations to reach their full potential and scale up their activities, thereby, entering new markets and growing their businesses. Founded in 2016, the foundation has Atos, Engineering, NEC, Red Hat, Telefónica and Trigyn Technologies among its Platinum members. For further information, visit fiware.org and follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Youtube.
Val De Oliveira