Wayra, Telefónica’s global accelerator for technological start-ups, has successfully brought to a close its first global call for projects, in which it received 3,444 ideas for new technology companies to accelerate.
In this first call which was open and simultaneous, entrepreneurs from 32 countries put forward their initiatives to be developed at the different Wayra academies in Latin America and Europe.
Designed to gain flexibility to deal with changes, efficiency when assessing projects and, above all, further expand its global perspective, this new system of calls for applications allows technology entrepreneurs to put forward a project from anywhere in the world. Over a period of a little more than three weeks, the accelerator received proposals from new digital businesses in sectors such as security, e-commerce, video, mobile applications, e-Health and hardware, to name just some of the categories. Upon completion of the selection process, which involves different stages, from April onwards the selected start-ups will begin their acceleration process at the different Academies to which they presented their projects.
Gonzalo Martín-Villa, CEO of Wayra, stated that this first global call “Manages to give meaning to the true spirit of Wayra, which is to provide more opportunities for talent, regardless of where it comes from, to find a way to grow. When we decided to change our call model, we had no doubt that the response would be great. Now, not only do we receive proposals from the countries in which we are now based, but also from others, which offers us a much more diverse perspective. Capturing the interest of entrepreneurs from India, Russia and Panama, to name just a few, gives us a greater responsibility as a global accelerator”.
Before the second half of the year, Wayra will re-launch this global search for talent, to continue to detect new and transforming business ideas in the digital arena.
Wayra’s first demo day in the UK
Wayra’s London Academy hosted the UK’s first demo day on Wednesday 30 January. The event gave start-ups the opportunity to pitch to around 100 venture capital and angel investors in the hope of obtaining further funding to accelerate their businesses. Many of the start-ups have already secured additional investment, including UK small jobs marketplace Taskhub who received a six figure sum from Telefónica Ventures team at the beginning of the year.
To communicate the first global call, Wayra launched a special campaign in social media which uses a series of videos to show what would have happened if prominent inventors and entrepreneurs like Alexander Graham Bell and Nikola Tesla had not received support for their ideas and inventions. They use parody and a fair dose of humour to reflect a specific reality: the need to invest in detecting entrepreneurial talent and the business potential of technological ideas, something which Wayra has been working on for more than a year and a half in twelve countries.
Video 1: We believe in your ideas, Alexander Graham Bell! What would have happened in a world without telephones?
Video 2: We believe in your ideas, Nikola Tesla! What would have happened in a world without radio?
Wayra aims to promote innovation and the detection of new talent in Latin America and Europe in the field of the Internet and new Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). By means of its global project acceleration model, it supports entrepreneurs in their development, providing them with the technological tools, qualified mentors, a cutting-edge work space and the funding necessary to accelerate their growth.
With presence in 12 countries (Germany, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Czech Republic, Spain, Ireland, Mexico, Peru, the United Kingdom and Venezuela), Wayra has received over 14,000 proposals for new digital businesses, making it the largest technological talent spotting platform in the ICT world. Its academies in Barcelona, Bogotá, Buenos Aires, Caracas, Dublin, Lima, London, Madrid, Mexico City, Munich, Prague, Santiago and Sao Paulo are currently home to over 180 start-ups going through the acceleration process.