8 Validated Enterprise Software Startup Ideas For The DataStax-1Mby1M Accelerator Challenge

The DataStax-1Mby1M Fall 2021 Startup Challenge launched on September 9th. Here is the kick-off video with Chet Kapoor, CEO of DataStax, Ed Anuff, Chief Product Officer of DataStax discussing the program with me.

DataStax has significant enterprise customers that are using their Apache Cassandra-based database products to solve real world problems. They are putting these use cases out in the public domain for startups to build companies around. DataStax would be helping the startups on the technical and customer acquisition side, and 1Mby1M would be helping the startups on the positioning, mentoring, and financing side. $10,000 of grant money is also included in this challenge.

Let’s look at some of the use cases. They’re all related to the increasingly digital nature of most businesses. The ever-growing use of IoT is a good example. Verticals that manage many assets need real-time access to data for visibility and decision purposes. Organizations interacting directly with customers need to ensure they are engaged with the right customer, and they have a digital twin of the customer to drive services and experiences. These experiences and services are entirely digital and depend on real-time data access. Finally, organizations drive their intelligence and decisions by understanding and leveraging the increasingly vast amount of data they manage. Here are more details.

Logistics, Supply Chain, or Fleet Management

Point technologies, such as barcode scanners and smart sensors, monitor packages or vehicle movement gather huge amounts of data at the network edge, enabling real-time actions and delivering insights that help enterprises optimize resources.

A startup company called Ankeri from Iceland has built an application for the global shipping industry leveraging high velocity and high throughput data. Learn more: Ankeri

There are many other sub-sectors of the global logistics and transportation industry where entrepreneurs with deep domain knowledge could position new ventures.

Inventory Management in Omnichannel Retail

Inventory management is a critical part of retail success. It entails a broad variety of capabilities, including warehousing, tracking, forecasting, supporting all the vagaries of omnichannel retail. Macy’s and Home Depot are using DataStax for real time tracking and management with great success.

If you’re an entrepreneur with deep domain knowledge within retail inventory management, building a product company on DataStax can bring you right into a validated use case with Fortune 500 customers. Learn more: Macy’s, The Home Depot.


The quality of a gaming experience depends on how instant and immersive it is. Gaming platforms present unique challenges in terms of volume of data, distribution of data, and latency given they have potentially hundreds of thousands of gamers engaging with them simultaneously. Apache Cassandra was created to solve such challenges. It ensures data is instantly available for gamers wherever they are. It also guarantees that gaming platform teams they can manage operations easily and cost-efficiently while guaranteeing availability to gamers.

Gaming vendors capture hundreds of data points on a particular gamer’s activity in near real-time to create a player profile and game status, which is used to resume a game after pausing. Data-driven decisions abound. Learn more: Activision

IoT and Edge Computing

Edge computing is an emerging paradigm where substantial storage and compute resources are located at the edge of the network, which is typically one network hop away from the devices producing the data. Raw data needs to be captured from dozens to millions of edge devices (e.g., mobile , IoT, sensors, etc.). They stream telematics data, such as temperature, location, power consumption, and biometrics, often in near real-time.

This data is collected by an edge application, which in turn stores this data in a database such as Cassandra. The database might send the data downstream for processing to an AI/ML or real-time analytics application to deliver actionable insights. Learn more: Locstat, ProtectWise, Bigmate

Protectwise is a Security company built on Cassandra that raised over $62M in funding and got acquired by Verizon in 2019.

Locstat is a small company out of South Africa, and Bigmate is one out of Australia.

DataStax is looking to help companies like Locstat and Bigmate scale, acquire more resources, including financing, and eventually find great exits.

Customer 360

Retailers, financial institutions, and other consumer-facing enterprises need to capture all interactions they have with a user and develop a full understanding of their customers. Purchases completed or abandoned, services used or declined, web pages viewed, phone calls, store visits — all of these touchpoints help paint a holistic picture of a customer. This can be enriched with third party data from social media and banking information to improve customer experience and engagement and reduce churn through personalization, promotional offers, and targeted ads. Learn more: Macquarie Bank, Askuity

If you have domain expertise in a consumer facing industry that needs similar solutions, this may be a great one to go after. Askuity is doing this within retail with full support from HomeDepot.

Authentication and Authorization / Identity Management

Enterprises and ISVs authenticate the identity of internal and external users from multiple channels (web and mobile) to enable them to access a resource. Authentication and authorization is also used as the first step in electronic payments (credit cards, electronic funds transfer, etc.) All internal and external logins need to pass through an authentication platform that checks the fraud risk score and makes real-time decisions to either allow the user, ask for additional validation, or lock out the user. The authentication platform maintains the aggregates for counts of distinct session IDs and raw data on the user and session.

After authentication, a token is stored on the user’s device for the session. The entire user profile is stored in Cassandra, enabling enterprises to instantaneously retrieve all the data about a user. This use case requires 100% uptime, high throughput, and fast response times. Learn more: Netflix, Macquarie Bank

Message storage and retrieval

A broad range of enterprises and organizations require the ingestion of massive quantities of messages, along with the ability to retrieve those messages, all in near-real-time. Healthcare companies are a good example of organizations that need to store messages and provide fast retrieval. They often require secure receipt and transmission of electronic prescriptions and medicine dispensing information. High availability, security, and scalability are key requirements. Learn more: Cegedim

Mass data storage & retrieval

Research institutions or any organization working with significant volumes of data are facing challenges to collaborate efficiently and quickly, especially in a distributed environment. How do these organizations ensure that teams across the globe share a common perspective and can work to complement each other’s work? Joint access to the same data is required to progress steadily and in a coordinated way

Imagine creating an application for such organizations working with massive amounts of research data, with the ability to perform real-time analytics and to share data across the globe within a single system. Learn more: CERN

More about the DataStax-1Mby1M Challenge:

The competition is open to anyone using Cassandra, DataStax Enterprise, or Astra DB as a core component of their business. Startups will be selected through an application process and the winner will be rewarded with:

  • $10,000
  • A one-year all-inclusive license to entire DataStax Astra DB, the industry’s first and only open, multi-cloud serverless database
  • A one-year scholarship to 1Mby1M Premium, which includes access to weekly mentoring and a proven, online curriculum to help accelerate the business-building progress of entrepreneurs, as well as help with raising venture capital through the 1Mby1M investor network.

Applications are being accepted here through Thursday, Oct. 28, 2021.

For a preview of the 1Mby1M program, please register to attend a free online mentoring roundtable session. In case you are unable to attend live, all who register will receive a recording of the session via email.

Looking For Some Hands-On Advice?

For entrepreneurs who want to discuss their specific businesses with me, I’m very happy to assess your situation during my free online 1Mby1M Roundtables, held almost every week. You can also check out our free Bootstrapping Course, our Udemy courses, YouTube channel, podcast interviews with VCs and Founders.

Photo credit: Mikel Martinez de Osaba/Flickr.com.