The second year of BlockStart has come to an end, and what a successful and busy year it was! The project had not one, but two Open Calls with more than 200 applications, with 43 amazing blockchain startups participating at the Ideation Kick-off events and 20 reaching the Prototype stage to further develop their innovative solutions. It also participated in more than 20 events to promote the project’s first results, upcoming Open Calls and supported startups, from which 5 were organized by the consortium with the main goal of increasing awareness and promoting discussion around blockchain-related topics.
We would like to give you a brief overview of the milestones that BlockStart has achieved in its second year:
Open Call #2
The project kick-started September 2020 with great momentum, closing its Open Call #2 with more than 100 applications. 20 blockchain startups were selected to participate at the Ideation Kick-off event, held on the 26th of November 2020, from which 10 were selected and entered the Prototype stage of the project’s 2nd Acceleration Programme. 10 SME adopters were also invited to participate, to provide their inputs to the startups’ presentations, and to engage and connect with startups. This online event joined more than 70 participants, had 30 presentations and promoted more than 30 matchmaking meetings between blockchain startups and end-user SMEs.
The stakes were high as only 5 teams went to the Pilot stage of BlockStart and had the opportunity to collaborate and test in real life conditions their solution with SME adopters – ComeTogether, IBISA, LoanXChain, Knowtary and Motoblockchain. A Demo Day was scheduled for the 30th of June 2021, with the 5 teams pitching their solutions to a panel of more than 150 international investors, market players and other relevant stakeholders. The amount of work invested by the teams for sure as paid off and as before, in the beginning of the school year, each startup received the financial support that corresponds to their journey on the Pilot stage.
For more statistics on BlockStart’s Open Call #2, read our blogpost “The numbers behind BlockStart’s Open Call #2”.
Open Call #3
At the same time, BlockStart was also preparing for the launch of its third and final Open Call, with deadline for submissions until the 26th of May 2021. More than 110 applications were submitted, and we could not have been prouder of finishing our Open Call marathon with such an amazing number and high-quality applications!
24 blockchain startups were selected to participate at the final Ideation Kick-off event, held on the 27th and 28th of July 2021, from which 10 were selected and entered the Prototype stage. 10 SME adopters were also invited to participate, present their challenges and needs regarding blockchain implementation in their organization, and to engage and connect with the startups. This online event joined together more than 100 participants, had 33 presentations, and promoted more than 70 matchmaking meetings between the participants!
For more statistics on BlockStart’s Open Call #3, read our blogpost “The numbers behind BlockStart’s Open Call #3”.
But we are not only made of Open Calls!
Over the past year BlockStart organized 5 community events to raise awareness and promote the discussion around blockchain-related topics, such as the potential and regulation challenges of decentralized finance (or DeFi) – you can learn more about the main conclusions and take-aways by reading the follow-up blogposts on both these events “Potential of decentralized finance” and “Regulation of decentralized finance”, held on the 14th of October and 12th of November 2020–, what are the main perks of fostering the collaboration between blockchain startups and end-user SMEs (you can learn more about this event held on the 28th of April 2021 by reading the follow-up blogpost “Exploring blockchain ecosystem: collaboration between startups and SMEs”), how to make sure regulation helps and not hinders blockchain development and adoption (you can learn more about this event held on the 27th of May 2021 by reading the follow-up blogpost “How to make sure regulation helps and not hinders blockchain”) and, finally, the latest trends, myths and things people might still not know about blockchain (you can learn more about this event held on the 9th of June 2021 by reading the follow-up blogpost “Blockchain: latest trends, myths and things you might not know”).
But there is more! BlockStart, its members and previous beneficiaries from Open Call #1 have also been present in several other European and international online events throughout 2021 to promote the project’s final Open Call, main achievements over the last 2 years and showcase the project’s initial blockchain solutions. You can recap those moments here.
With still 6 months until the end of the project, there’s still a lot to do!
The project is currently running the 3rd and final Prototype stage, with consortium members providing awesome mentoring to all our top 10 blockchain startups to further develop their prototypes and enriching our pool of external mentors, for extra support to our beneficiaries. Our mentors from Bright Pixel and CIVITTA will be devoting special attention to the upgrading of the team’s business proposal and the fostering of future collaborations with SME adopters. In addition, our blockchain startups will have the chance to belong to a wide network of blockchain stakeholders and be provided with suggestions for conferences, events, and other initiatives of their interest, through their participation in BlockStart’s Slack and Telegram communities.
Even though we are still starting this stage, we can say with confidence and enthusiasm that all teams are on the right track to successfully pilot their blockchain solution, engage with end-user SMEs willing to test and adopt their solution, and feature alongside others in BlockStart’s Wall of Fame!
The Open Call for SME adopters to participate in the project’s Pilot stage will be running until the 10th of November, 5pm CET (Brussels Time) and interested innovative SMEs operating in the fintech, ICT and/or retail sectors willing to adopt blockchain can apply here.
Finally, we expect to organize several other relevant community events, and reach out to policymakers and relevant stakeholders in the blockchain ecosystem, so as continue to raise awareness for several blockchain-related challenges and advances and to be able to come up with a set of policy recommendations regarding this disruptive technology!